Two Guild Employees Receive Francis Medal

Jocelyn Thomas Around the Province

NEW YORK — More than 60 years of dedicated service were celebrated on Saturday, when two staff members of St. Anthony’s Guild, the organization of laypeople devoted to St. Anthony and to supporting the friars’ work, were recognized with the Province’s Francis Medal. Robert Baard and Joan Gruber were given the medal at the Guild’s 90th anniversary Mass in honor of their long-time service.

“Today, it is my pleasure and privilege to present two individuals who have worked for the Guild for many years,” said Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, at the close of the March 29 Mass. “We are honored to have them as part of the Franciscan family. With deep gratitude, we bestow on them the Francis Medal for all they have done.”

Both employees have been faithful, dedicated members of the Guild staff and are committed to the mission of the friars, said David Convertino, OFM, executive director of St. Anthony’s Guild. “Their efforts over the years have helped to ensure that donations we receive from members are opened and acknowledged in a timely and efficient manner.”

Baard has worked for the Guild and the Franciscan Missionary Union for 16 years. His career began in August 1998 when he was hired by Denis Clark, OFM, to work for the FMU in New York City.

Gruber has worked for St. Anthony’s Guild for nearly 50 years. Her career began in October 1965 when she was hired by John Forest Loviner, OFM, the founder of the Guild, to work in the Paterson, N.J., office.

“She has worked with every director since that time and has moved from the Paterson location to Clifton, to New York City, to East Rutherford and back to New York City,” David said. “Joan is truly conscientious about her duties.”

Baard and Gruber participated with other staff members in a celebration luncheon after the Mass. Photos of the March 29 events can be found on Facebook.

Holy Name Province’s Francis Medal was established in 1998 by then-Provincial Minister John Felice, OFM.

 Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province. The photo above was taken by Octavio Duran, OFM.