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Msgr. John Philip Aloysius Schwartz was born on September 18, 1930, in Washington, DC, USA. He grew up with the idea of becoming a secular priest. He heard his calling to serve the Lord at a very young age and at 13, he entered the seminary. In 1944, at age 14, he entered St. Charles Seminary in Maryland, finished his B.A. Degree at Maryknoll College and studied his Theology at Louvain Catholic University in Belgium. He used to spend his vacation helping at the rag-pickers’ camps for the derelicts of the French society. Visiting Banneux, where the Virgin of the Poor appeared, he was more inspired to dedicate his priesthood to the service of the poor in fulfillment of her message.
In 1957, he started his charity programs for the poor orphans in Korea. In 1983, due to great success, he extended his programs to the Philippines and in 1990 to Mexico. This would not have been possible without the congregation of the Sisters of Mary (also founded by him in 1964).
In 1983 Schwartz was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding, an award given annually in the Philippines in honor or the late President Ramon Magsaysay. The award was presented by the late Jaime Cardinal Sin who was the Archbishop of Manila. Cardinal Sin invited Schwartz to expand his Religious Community in the Archdiocese of Manila.
In 1985 Fr. Al founded the Sisters of Mary at Sta. Mesa Manila. They constructed buildings and gathered children from the poor areas few months before they launched their work.
He was diagnosed from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Despite of his illness he still continued to established Boystown and Girlstown in Mexico he called it as “unfinished symphony.”
He suffered humiliations, criticisms, pains and incredible trials, and difficulties. Because of his strong faith in God he accepted them with humility, courage and unwavering faith. His love for God and the poor consumed him. He did not only help the poor but also he lived poorly.
On March 16, 1992, he died at the Girlstown in Manila, Philippines and he was buried at the Boystown in Cavite, Philippines.
The Sisters of Mary and the Brothers of Christ, continue to live his charism of serving gratuitously tens of thousands of the poorest of the poor in Korea, Philippines, Mexico, Guatemala and Brazil.
On May 29, 2004 at The Sisters of Mary Girlstown Complex, Bo. Biga, Silang Cavite, Philippines, Socrates B. Villegas, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila and Episcopal Delegate in behalf of Gaudencio Rosales, Archbishop of Manila, solemnly declared the Archdiocesan Process of the Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God, Aloysius Schwartz, founder of the Sisters of Mary and Brothers of Christ closed.
The Sisters of Mary School is a non-stock, non-profit, non-paying, live-in secondary institution for the marginalized poor of our country. The school is maintained and supported mainly by donations, gifts and bequests coming from noble, selfless and well meaning persons and entities, local and foreign.
One of Fr. Al’s favorite sayings is “My children you are created not to be fat little ducks waddling in the mud but eagles destined to rise above and explore the kingdom of God.”
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