On a wintry day in Omaha, Nebraska a young priest had a dream. He wanted to start a place that would provide a home for young boys in need.
Fr. Edward Joseph Flanagan founded world renowned Boys Town, Nebraska on December 12, 1917.
One hundred years later that dream continues to live on!
I doubt seriously he would have imagined what he began that day would go on to provide a home, education, sports and so much more for thousands of young men; and years later young women.
What began as a dream which for years struggled day to day to survive financially went forth. It was because of his perseverance and faith that God would provide that kept him going forward….never doubting that somehow things would workout.
With the help of a few priests, nuns and a few others he moved from a building that limited him to care but for a few to what was once farm land to become a village called Boys Town.
Thousands have been a part of the history of Boys Town. Today many of the young men/women who once called Boys Town home are now priests, lawyers, doctors, teachers, politicians, barbers, printers…etc. Each having gained a second chance at life and making the most of what they obtained.
They learned the three priorities of life….faith, country and family!
Hundreds of young men/women have joined our military. Boys Town probably has the most names on a Memorial Wall for those who gave their all in service to our country of any small village in the country as they have served in every war beginning in WWll to day. Each are honored and revered by Boys Town alumni and staff as heroes!
Many for years have been doing what has become fashionable today…paying it forward. It took many donations for each to call the place of Boys Town home for brief time or many years…they have spent years in their own way giving back to the communities they now call home in thanksgiving.
Fr. Flanagan has been declared a “Servant of God” and now is being investigated for miracles to see whether the Catholic Church will one day declare him a Saint.
It is unfortunate the church looks for physical healing miracles before declaring one a saint. For I know thousands of life changing miracles that would not have happened if a young priest did not have a dream 100 years ago.
I know it because I am one of those miracles! It was my physical home from 1961-1968. In my heart it remains my home still today.
Fr. Flanagan passed away suddenly May 15, 1948 while in Germany for President Harry S. Truman helping youth after WWll. His miracle lives on and he rests in peace at his beloved Boys Town. Four successors and many staff over the years have worked to see his work continues.
Boys Town celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding! My wish that 100 years from now they will celebrate the 200th one!
Thank you Fr. Flanagan and Boys Town for all you have done for the thousands of us youth in the past and for all you will continue to do in the years ahead!
Proud Graduate of Boys Town Class of 1968