For all of humanity’s vaunted technological progress, there are obviously several things beyond mankind’s grasp to stop. Winds and heavy rains are among them. On occasion, even a seemingly modest weather event occurs that has ripples beyond the climatic incident. The latest twist in the saga about mobile homeowner Millie Francis and her professionally commissioned painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a case in point.
After a recent wind ripped the professionally installed awning on her mobile home located in Bradenton, Florida, the underlying image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was more exposed. Note that while Francis’ story has direct ties to her deeply held Catholic Faith, imagine if the image on her pre-HUD Code mobile home was a Jewish Menorah, a Cross, Crucifix, Angel, other Christian, Muslim, or a representation of the Buddha instead. Would it make a difference how it would be treated by the Bradenton Tropical Palms (BTP) community management?
The wind-damaged awning was removed, Millie Francis told MHLivingNews. She explained that the company that initially installed the awning advised her that they were 4 to 6 months out on such repair work. The pandemic and other factors were mentioned as causes for a possible awning replacement slowdown.
So, that is the explanation of why Francis removed the damaged awning entirely.
It did not take long for Bradenton Tropical Palms (BTP) management to have their attorney issue a letter with a thinly veiled threat of new legal action against the widowed 88-year-old heart patient. Why didn’t they simply speak to her ask her about why the awning was removed? After the prior controversy, why did they move so quickly to a letter from attorneys, given that doubtlessly caused stress to a senior citizen and heart patient?
MHLivingNews contacted both the management company for Bradenton Tropical Palms and their attorneys for comment. While confirming our request for their side of the controversy, both the attorneys and management declined making any relevant statement.
It should be noted that BTP is a cooperative or “resident owned community” (ROC). That means that Francis is a shareholder in that community, not just leasing space as would be the case in tens of thousands of other manufactured home communities across the U.S. Other matters not covered in detail in this report suggest that management has not treated her in a fair or even-handed manner. For instance, Francis has pointed out that she owns another pre-HUD Code mobile home in the same community. It stands vacant during an affordable housing crisis and has for years. Management is supposedly ‘helping’ her sell that home.
It is worth noting that during the 2018-2019 uproar there were concerns that it was the prior community manager at BTP that may have been a key part of the issue. But that manager reportedly left some time ago under a legal cloud. So, the fact that this controversy over Our Lady of Guadalupe has arisen again suggests that something beyond one manager’s personal motivation or possible animus toward Francis may be at play.
Again, days after our outreach, there was no formal response to MHLivingNews inquiries about allegations by Francis that she is being targeted by management and their attorneys regarding this display on her home of her religious beliefs.
More on the Tale of Millie Francis’ Professionally Painted Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The periodic saga of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe has been told tens of thousands of times in local, regional, and national news stories, blogs and other sources online.
Millie Francis in 2018-2019 told management and media that the iconic and
professionally pained image of Mary, mother of Jesus would stay. She said they
would have to kill her to have it removed.
Among our previous reports that provide relevant details on the matter are linked above and below.
An experienced fair housing attorney – Nadeen Green, J.D. – previously told MHLivingNews that based upon what she read in those mainstream media reports, there seemed to be a case or fair housing violation(s).
Possible constitutional/civil rights issues exist too. The First Amendment protects the rights of citizens to free speech and freedom in religious issues.
But as the corporate giants Amazon, Twitter, and Apple demonstrated in the sensationalized shut down of the Twitter social media rival Parler, the First Amendment issues may get murkier when it comes to a corporation doing a claimed violation. Because of dramatic changes in Washington, D.C., and the close ties between support for the Biden-Harris ticket, certain billionaires, and corporate interests including those Silicon Valley giants, some observers think it is doubtful that Big Tech will suffer any federal pushback for such a heavy-handed attack that has for weeks put an end to a reportedly billion-dollar-valued corporation.
These are indeed troubling times.
That example may have specific relevance to the BTP issue with Our Lady of Guadalupe at Millie Francis.
While some religious and Catholic news sites reported on the case of Millie Francis and her professionally painted image by artist Ingrid Brandt of Our Lady of Guadalupe, for whatever reasons, local Catholic leaders or other faith-groups declined involvement. With her children living roughly 1,000 miles north, the elderly but defiant widowed Francis was largely on her own.
A West Coast man reading about her plight, stepped in and reportedly negotiated a sort of truce between Francis, Brandon Tropical Palms (BTP), and their attorneys Knox and Levine law firm on the previous uproar. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed. That may or may not be a reason why BTP management and their attorneys did not reply to our MHLivingNews inquiries.
That noted, a photo of the notice Knox and Levine delivered via regular mail was provided below by a local friend of Francis. The law firm’s certified letter, Francis said, she declined to accept. See a copy of their letter to Francis further above.
From a legal perspective it may have been right or wrong for Francis to have sent the following reply.
What is known is that a local retired judge who had followed the case in 2018-2019 clearly believes it is a religious liberty issue. See a photo sent via text by that friend of Francis along with several of the other new images shown in this report to MHLivingNews.
Where this goes next at the Bradenton Tropical Palms community is uncertain. Francis says she is as unwilling to remove this image of Mary, the mother of Jesus, whom Catholics and other Christians around the world believe is the mother of the Christ child, who is part of the Holy Trinity (Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit). As the mother of Jesus, in Eastern Orthodox and Catholic thought while not divine, Mary is the Theotokos, the mystical and human mother of the Divine Savior. The Christian belief is that Jesus fulfilled centuries of Jewish prophecies of the coming of a Messiah or Savior.
In the early days of the controversial Biden-Harris occupancy of the White House, religious liberty issues are front and center. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe shows a pregnant indigenous woman. Millions in the right to life/anti-abortion movement hold fast to this image as an inspiration to protect all life from conception to natural death. Of course, those favoring legal abortion of the unborn child see this matter differently.
With Catholic bishops calling out “President-alleged” Joe Biden* for failure to practice the faith he claims to hold, numbers of possible touch-points with Francis’ controversy may emerge. Time will tell.
Additionally, there are seniors’ rights and other laws at the state level that may apply with Francis’ problem. If or how state agencies may or may not get involved are not yet known.
For those not familiar with the details behind what millions believe is a miraculous
image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the video above sheds light on the subject.
Welcome to America in 2021. With groupthink being pressed by powerful forces, it is anyone’s guess how this plays out. MHLivingNews will monitor and report on what legal or actions may emerge from this controversial issue.
“We Provide, You Decide.” © (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, lifestyle news, reports, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. Third-party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.)
(See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them.)
By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHLivingNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing. For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.
Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which can be accessed by clicking on them.