Gerry Straub PhotoGerard Thomas Straub is a documentary filmmaker and an award-winning author of six books, including a novel. Gerry’s critically acclaimed book The Sun and Moon Over Assisi, which offers inspirational reflections on St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare of Assisi, was named the best spirituality hardcover book of 2001 by the Catholic Press Association; an updated version of the book was released in the Fall of 2008. His photo/essay book on global poverty, When Did I See You Hungry?, features photographs taken in India, Kenya, Brazil, Jamaica, Italy, Canada, the Philippines and Mexico. Gerry’s striking black & white photography has been exhibited in the art gallery attached to the Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville, Kentucky, and also published in The New York Times, The National Catholic Reporter and Sojourners magazine. Thoughts of a Blind Beggar was published by Orbis Books in the fall of 2007; the book offers a series of poetic meditations on the importance of prayer and compassion. His latest book, Hidden in the Rubble, is based on his experience in Haiti during the aftermath of the horrific earthquake that killed over 300,000 people and left more than a million people homeless. Tom Roberts of the National Catholic Reporter said, “Gerry Straub is a story-teller with a camera. In an era when news has become so atomized and fast-paced it is almost impossible to get a sense of the whole, Straub engages two great risks. He takes us to see what much of the world would rather ignore, and he does it slowly and reflectively. The risks pay off here in a kind of meditation on Haiti that is simultaneously brutally frank and filled with the hope of religious imagination.”

Mr. Straub also had a long and distinguished career as a network television producer in New York and Hollywood; he produced dramatic television series that have aired on CBS, NBC and ABC, including the wildly popular General Hospital. He was the executive producer of The Doctors, a long-running soap opera on NBC which was taped at Rockefeller Center in New York. Gerry has written and directed seventeen documentary films, three of which have aired on many PBS television stations, including We Have a Table for Four Ready, which tells the poignant story of a soup kitchen run by Franciscan friars in Philadelphia.

Gerry also taught a course on television writing and directing at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. He has lectured and shown his films at the University of Notre Dame, St. Bonaventure University, the University of Dayton, Loyola Marymount University, Canisius College, Mount Mercy College, Siena College, Wheaton College, Calvin College, Chestnut Hill College, Alvernia University, Gonzaga University, the Catholic Theological Union, and the Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy. He received an honorary doctorate degree in Humane Letters from St. Bonaventure University in May of 2003. In May of 2006, Mr. Straub delivered the commencement address and received an honorary doctorate degree in Humane Letters from St. Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania. In May of 2009, Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia awarded him an honorary Doctor of Law degree in recognition of his work on behalf of the poor. In addition, he has spoken at more than 100 Catholic churches and high schools across the nation. He has led retreats in California, Arizona, Connecticut, New York, Ohio and Minnesota.

Gerry, a Secular Franciscan, is the founder and former president of The San Damiano Foundation, which produces films that celebrate the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi and the Franciscan concern for the poor, social justice, peace, non-violence, prayer and the integrity of creation. Gerry has written and directed eighteen documentary films, including: When Did I See You Hungry?, which explores the Christian response to global poverty and is narrated by Martin Sheen; Embracing the Leper, which describes the heroic work of a Secular Franciscan who brings aid to the lepers and the poor of the Amazon region of Brazil; Holy Pictures, a meditation on the importance of stillness and silence in the spiritual life; Rescue Me, on the plight of the homeless in the Skid Row section of Los Angeles and featuring a song performed by Bono and the Irish rock band U2; Endless Exodus, on the plight of the undocumented migrants from Central America and Mexico; The Patients of a Saint, which tells the inspirational story of an American doctor who abandoned his career and opened a home and clinic for chronically ill and impoverished children of Lima, Peru; Room at the Inn, which revisits the St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia; Where Love Is, which focuses on the heroic work of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit; The Narrow Path, a film on peace and nonviolence featuring the Jesuit priest, author and peace activist Fr. John Dear; and The Fragrant Spirit, an epic, gut-wrenching film set in the horrific poverty and intense suffering of the war-torn East African country of Uganda.

His books and films have been written about in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, St. Petersburg Times, National Catholic Reporter (cover story), U.S. Catholic and Sojourners magazine, and has been featured in stories which have aired on Religion and Ethics Newsweekly (PBS), Life & Times (KCET-TV, the PBS station in Los Angeles), News Conference (KNBC-TV News in Los Angeles), Take Five (WZZM-TV [ABC], Grand Rapids, Michigan) and Inner Compass (WGVU-TV [PBS], Grand Rapids, Michigan). In addition, stories about Gerry have also been published by diocesan newspapers in Buffalo, Phoenix, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Providence, Brooklyn and Glasgow, Scotland.

Gerry is a former member of the Board of Regents of the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley, California. He is also a former member of the Board of Directors of Bread for the World, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit organization that lobbies Congress for the rights of the poor. In September of 2003, The University of Dayton presented Mr. Straub with the Daniel J. Kane Religious Communications Award, an annual award given to a person who has made “an outstanding lifetime dedication to gospel values through various forms of Media.” Gerry lives in Burbank, California.

21 Responses to “Gerry”


  1. 1 FR Lennie Tighe June 14, 2008 at 5:36 am

    What a beautiful addition to my morning meditation. As the leader of the Charles de Foucauld fan club in the USA, I was so happy to see “Br Charles” as the example of total life in God. Now I will pray Mr Straub do a documentary of on the life of Blessed Charles. Thank you or this solid affirmation of faith. Fr Lennie Tighe, Boston Ma.

  2. 2 Annie Lawrence July 9, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Dear Gerry, I am a 69 year old woman who just became a “card carrying Catholic” at Easter this year! And I’ve never been happier! I’ve finally come home! A friend gave me your book “Sun & Moon over Assisi”. I so very much appreciate you, your honesty is so refreshing and I so relate to everything you say. I envy you a little, I want to get past all my doubts but know it will just take time and my silent times with God. I’m learning. Now learning about your blog is wonderful, thank you, Annie

    • 3 Carolina Maine October 1, 2009 at 5:52 pm

      Fabulous, Annie,

      I converted this Easter after attending since 1996 …It took me a long time to convert. I was baptized as I didn’t know, until I forgave my mother last year, that I had never been baptized. So-I guess–it doesn’t matter what age we are–it matters that we end up in the right place. My children and I are all Catholics–now–I just pray for my husband to convert one day; he is Hindu.

      If you ever want to chat-visit my blog.

  3. 4 Gerry Straub July 9, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Thank you, Annie.

    I truly appreciate your kind words.

    Peace and blessings on your journey,

    Gerry

  4. 6 Samuel August 20, 2008 at 4:34 am

    Dear Mr. Straub,

    It’s a blessing for me to come across you film (The Narrow Path) and only a few of your writings. I pray that your good work be crown with every success and may you continue to touch the hearts of many who are still searching for meaning in life. This film (The Narrow Path), I believe will help me a lot in my future ministry as priest. God bless.

  5. 7 Linda Greenberg December 31, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Dear Gerry,

    LOVED THE Fragrant Spirit of Life and thrilled you captured the essence of the people. What wonderful “love work” Betty and her group have founded!

    Please do get in touch with me asap and log on to our websie http://www.4uganda.org…..check out our song bottom of home page, our projects and Why Africa. You’ll relate to my photos as well. Also go to http://www.homelessdrive.com..view the video and learn more about the non profit I began 20+years ago for homeless people..

    I am returning to Uganda in August 09 and looking for a documentary to happen…….our desire is to protect, help, formulate good health, educate, create self worth/empowerment and spiritual development of the orphans,bring clean safe water to our schools and promote attention to the Silverbacks survival. (These are the Mountain Gorillas Dian Fossey lived and died for) There are only 630 Silverbacks left in the world and within 50 years they shall become extinct. They are our closest relatives with 98% same DNA as ourselves. Chimpanzees have approx. 150 years left and as you know the forests are rapidly diminishing. We must help both!

    Looking forward to hearing from you and your possible future help.

    With Gods help both the children and animals can live with hope, peace and a bright tomorrow.

    Linda Greenberg
    http://www.4uganda.org
    http://www.homelessdrive.com
    email: lsg4bc@erols.com

  6. 8 Aaron Albert February 17, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    The other day while attending Mass at Alvernia University the campus minister informed the congregation that you would be visiting campus on Wednesday. The reason I am writing you is that for the past 3 years I have been praying and actively trying to pursue a career in media. I know this might sound cliché, but for some reason I feel like I am being called to contribute my God given talents and abilities to the industry. I am faith-filled, creative, and a very hard worker. I am just looking for someone to have faith in me and give me a chance. Maybe you are the answer to my prayers. Maybe you are just the one to give me that chance.

    Yours in Christ,

    Aaron Albert

  7. 9 wordoftheoracle May 8, 2009 at 1:52 am

    I want to start blogging and I typed in the word “faith” and I’m so glad your profile came up. You have a very impressive resume and track record. Best of all, you have been to my homeland, Kenya! Good to read your thoughts and I look forward to more. I am also a debuting author planning to publish my first book entitled Son of the Oracle.

  8. 10 Carolina Maine October 1, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    I’m so happy I found your blog as there is a shortage of Catholics on wordpress :)
    G-d Bless.

  9. 11 Andiy October 6, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Dear Jerry

    I’m one of your former students at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. I’m currently teaching courses on Peace and the Social Teachings of the Church at St. John’s University (NY). I have been endorsing the film “We Have a Table for Four Ready” to my students. I didn’t realize you have made other interesting films after that. These films will surely help my students see a world far greater than their own. Thank you.

    I hope you are still teaching at The Greg.

    Andiy

  10. 12 Intan November 3, 2009 at 2:37 am

    Dear Mr. Straub..My name is Intan Maya Sari. I found out about Jesus when I was in Elementary school. But never been baptized until high school. I joined a social service project of Universitas Pelita Harapan, Indonesia and Concordia University of Nebraska in 2007 to serve poor people in Jakarta and Bogor.

    We served in slum areas and orphanage, giving free medication in village with children and people suffered from TBC, and malnutrition for 2 weeks. We taught at the schools in villages, and all of these experiences has changed my life.

    Today I saw the video of the children in Uganda. A friend upload them in Facebook. and I came to San Domiano website.
    Little jane, Sam, and Esther. A reality in life to show that how much we are needed to serve the poor.
    I am studying International Relations now and I almost finish school. One day I shall fulfill my dream to help children in Africa to eradicate extreme poverty first and foremost, and then help to educate them.

    I just wanna say that you’re doing a job that most people might not be able to or even devour to do that. It was just so brave of you. You deliver many videos and stories of reality and touched people’s heart. I hope someday I could help those children too.

    Cheers,

    Intan.

  11. 13 Lauraa March 2, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Today, you went to my high school, spoke about your mission, and showed a few of your videos.. I was brought to tears at the end. I just wanted to tell you that they were amazing and i was truly touched by it. Thank you so much<3

  12. 14 Kit July 18, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Mr. Straub,

    I just saw your film “The Narrow Path.” It’s fabulous!!! Fr. John Dear’s message really resonates with me. I am eager to see more of your films. I understand that Fr. Dear is a vegetarian/vegan, that he extends his vision of non-violence to include all of creation as well.

    It has been said that through a plant-based diet we could feed more/all of the hungry people around the world… I was wondering if you too, personally, are a vegetarian/vegan?

    And I also was wondering about the film that you are currently working on about St. Francis. I see that you are looking for sponsors. Does a sponsor receive information about the film prior to its release, like a general synopsis?

  13. 15 Steve Hanson November 16, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Mr Straub…have you ever photographed Haiti?

    • 16 Gerry Straub November 17, 2010 at 5:54 am

      Steve,

      I am currently in NY where I will be speaking at a university this evening, and showing footage from a film I am making in Haiti. I have been to Haiti five times this year and have taken thousands of photographs.

      Peace and blessings,

      Gerry

  14. 17 Kwashirai Chigodora (Botswana) February 1, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    I have been enjoying your inspirational words for over a year now. They helped me through my toughest moments. I love film production and sometimes wish i could do what you do, though i am not sure i will ever be as good as you. However, i have only this little mini DV camera and it doesnt even have an external mic jack. My wish is to establish a charity and maybe film people in need and use the material to seek help for them. Of course i would also do other stuff like educational videos with my daughter and more. Do you know where i might be able to request donations of an old DV camera? Other stuff like a computer i can sponsor myself but cameras that can do good sound and video are too costly for me. I also have an interest in writing a book or producing a film on the various organisations within my church i.e. St Vincent De Paul and distribute the video free to parishners. I think they participate less because they are not really aware of what is going on in the church. I love my Catholic church and you feel like a partner or fellow-christian I can look up to. Especially due to your humble nature and St Francis kind of love for the poor. If you know someone who can donate their old dusty and forgotten camera please let me know. Oh… i also think i could create a children’s club where i will teach young people all i know about film, drama, design etc. I dont know much but if they have my passion they could end up way bigger than i will ever achieve. Too many dreams isnt it? But i will not give up. Even if you dont know any one who can assist its ok. I will still enjoy your work and love you for the inspiration to many Catholics and other Christians that you are.

    Yours in Christ
    KC

  15. 18 Rev. Paul McKay March 5, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Found your blog through Beth at Louie Louie and it was a real find. Posted a link to my blog today (jitterbuggingforjesus.com)
    Grace & peace & blessings on your wonderful ministry.

  16. 19 Fr.Salla Manohar July 3, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Dear Dr.Gerry,
    Your vision to make the world feel for the poor is wonderful. I appreciate you a lot. May God bless.

    Fr.Salla Manohar
    India


  1. 1 Remembering the Mightiest of Saints (Noon Wine) « Jitterbugging for Jesus Trackback on October 4, 2012 at 7:14 am
  2. 2 Four new additions! | Digital Franciscans Trackback on February 22, 2014 at 9:24 am

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