Fran Rowan has spent a lifetime selflessly helping the people of East Boston with kindness and charity. She has possessed the uncanny ability to make most people around her believe in the causes she was fighting for because those causes were simply the right thing to do.
Over the years Rowan has been the master of convincing the community that it needed to rally around something because it was right, it was good, that it made sense and would help people and save lives.
Whether it was the Meridian House, a widely successful drug abuse treatment center or the Atlantic Works Artist Building on Border Street or the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center Rowan could make the hardest skeptics believers.
Last Thursday night Fran Rowan was honored at the Don Orione Nursing Home for her lifetime of service to the community and her recent art project at the Don Orione.
Rowan, who suffered a minor stroke in July, has been at the Don Orione recuperating. While there she noticed something needed to be done with the bare walls inside the home to make it more warm and welcoming.
Rowan has never been the type to sit around and complain waiting for someone else to do something.
So Rowan did what she has always done when she gets her mind set on accomplishing something. She rolled up her sleeves, rounded up supporters, got donations from friends and began a project to have the Don Orione’s walls adorned with original works of art by local artists.
Fran’s Wall of Hope opened last week and the ongoing project to fill the Don Orione with art.
Rowan donated the first 7 photos, paintings and prints from her personal collection and hopes others in the community will do the same.
“I want to thank the housekeeping, aides, nurses and social workers here for their kindness and attention during my recovery and also for their support and guidance,” said Rowan. “This exhibit was born the last time I was here and I want to thank those who have helped make it a reality and my sons for their patience with me with this idea. Fran’s Wall of Hope is a dream come true and I welcome other artist of the community to add to exhibit as a sign of peace and hope for all. God gives us art creativity to share with world let us inspire the seniors with our special gift.”
Rowan was joined by family and friends and local elected officials at last week’s event.
“It’s an honor to be here today to thank Fran from the bottom of our hearts for not only tonight and this project but for all she has done for East Boston,” said State Representative Carlo Basile. “When I was running for office seven years ago one of the first people I went to go see was Fran. She gave me some advice that I can’t share (laughs). Later when I won the election she called to congratulate me and told me anytime she calls I better call her right back. I never kept Fran waiting. Why? Because she told me that when she calls she would not be calling for herself but for someone who was in need. That who Fran Rowan is.”
Her son, Danny Rowan, shared what it was like to grow up the son of an Eastie legend and the values she instilled in her children.
“She taught us it doesn’t take much to be nice,” said Danny Rowan. “If everyone gave a little more than they took we’d all be okay.”