Heirs of Argentine architect provide housing for mission in Togo.
A missionary priest from Africa speaks at a church in Maryland, raising money to house teachers in his new Catholic school.
Some folks sitting in the congregation just happen to be the descendants of a prominent architect who had designed sturdy, affordable houses for low-income people.
The encounter leads to a project called St. Joseph Homestead International, which is gearing up to build the houses in West Africa this summer.
The visiting priest is Fr. William Ryan, an American who has been serving at Our Lady of Guadalupe mission in the village of Atchanvé, Togo, for about 12 years. The family is that of Tony von Pieschel, whose grandfather was the noted modernist Argentinean architect Antonio U. Vilar.
“My father had inherited these affordable housing plans from his grandfather,” said Angie Cummings, who was visiting von Pieschel from West Virginia when Fr. Ryan was speaking. “He said, ‘You know what? These might work. We haven’t built them yet, but we could ask Fr. Ryan.'”
Fr. Ryan asked the family if they could build a prototype, see how it works, and raise money for the project. The family accepted the challenge.