The Pope Francis House

Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity was one of three affiliates selected from more than 1,400 affiliates nationwide to build a house in honor Pope Francis in 2014. Today we are part of a movement involving a network of 58 affiliates building houses in honor of the beloved leader.

Why a Pope Francis Home? 

Inspired by an anonymous donor, the Pope Francis House strives to bring the Catholic community together with other faith communities to work together toward a common goal (as Pope Francis says, “Work confers dignity.”)

The second Pope Francis House broke ground on September 14, 2015

IMG_7381Meet the Family:

Shayla and Luke are parents to three children, Michael, Nyah, and Luariah.

The first time they applied to become Habitat homeowners, they did not meet the requirements. Through hard work and perseverance, it was not long before they became eligible.

Shayla and Luke are hard workers, who are both employed at a manufacturing company as assemblers, working with carbon fiber lined components. At the end of the work day, they are covered in the thin strands of the carbon. But it is the nature of the job, and they are glad to be employed.

Shayla and Luke are extremely excited to move out of their small apartment into a home of their own. They have lived in their current rental for 12 years and can’t wait to become homeowners. When they talk about it, they emanate excitement and joy.

When they found out that their house was being built in honor of Pope Francis, Shayla and Luke were surprised. They believe it was a privilege to have a home celebrating someone who cares about the rights of the poor and is committed to social justice

Shayla and Luke joined over 200 Habitat families in the Washington Park Neighborhood when they moved into their home on July of 2016!

Construction Progress:
See pictures from the wall raising!
See pictures from Shayla & Luke’s house dedication!


9.16.15 – Catholic Life FinancialIMG_7024

Catholic Financial Life proudly announced its support in building the area’s second Pope House as a part of Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity’s efforts to revitalize the Washington Park neighborhood.  Nearly 50 Catholic Financial Life employees volunteered alongside the Ross family, working together to help the family realize their dream of homeownership.

IMG_7031Following the first day of the build, Catholic Financial Life’s Board of Directors attended a Hard Hat Tour of the build site in the Washington Park neighborhood.  Tour attendees learned more about the Pope House, 150 new housing units and dozens of new businesses helping to transform the neighborhood. They also got the opportunity to leave notes of encouragement and well wishes on the studs of the home they’re helping to construct. These messages will forever be within the walls of this home, exuding blessings for the Ross family.


9.14.15 – Archbishop Listecki

Archbishop Listecki blesses the home with holy water

“The home is a crucial place in life, where life grows and can be fulfilled, because it is a place in which every person learns to receive love and to give love” – Pope Francis

On Monday, September 14th, Archbishop Jerome Listecki blessed Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity’s second home being built in honor of Pope Francis during a press conference at 2209 N 41 Street. In 2014 Milwaukee was one of three affiliates selected from more than 1,400 affiliates nationwide to build a house in honor of Pope Francis. Continuing this legacy, Milwaukee Habitat began construction on this second house as a monument to the Pope’s commitment to social justice, equality and peace.


6.18.15 – First Pope Francis House Complete in Milwaukee

“It will be a day for building your walls. On that day will your boundary be extended.” – Micah 7:11Eskerine Jude

That day for Erskine “EJ” Jude came during 2014’s September Blitz Build, where he worked side-by-side with volunteers from the local faith community to raise the walls of his future home.

EJ moved back to Milwaukee under tragic circumstances. While living in Atlanta, his brother, a Milwaukee resident, passed away suddenly, leaving behind two young boys without their father. To honor his brother’s memory, EJ relocated to care for his two nephews, Devin (age 9) and D’Anthony (age 7), as well as his mother, Pat, who is disabled.

In June of 2015, that hard work and sacrifice came to fruition as EJ and his family moved into their brand new Habitat home. The house truly is a blessing. The Jude family’s home was sponsored by an anonymous donor, to build a house in honor of Pope Francis.


For additional information on this build, including questions about group volunteer opportunities, fundraising for The Pope Francis House in your church, school, or organization, and special events related to The Pope Francis House, contact Karen Von Rueden, Development and Marketing Director at kvonrueden@milwaukeehabitat.org or 414-316-5609

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See pictures, news, and stories from the build!