Five Junior Ladies of Charity and seven adults traveled from the Buffalo Diocese, meeting nine Juniors and three adults from the St. John’s association on Friday, Oct. 24 at the Carondelet Hospitality Center in Latham, N.Y. Several Ladies and Daughters of Charity from Albany also participated on Saturday.
After getting acquainted on Friday evening and breakfast on Saturday, the Juniors from St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Lancaster, N.Y., led a prayer service. Sr. Ann Marie Graham, DC, read the Gospel and gave a beautiful homily. She urged the girls to find their special talents and challenged them to use those talents to serve those in need.
Following the prayer service, Sr. Mary Grace Higgins, DC, spoke about the Vincentian Family history and spirituality. She urged the girls to share their concerns in prayer to Jesus, and then listen for His answer. She also talked about the history and meaning of the Miraculous Medal. Sr. Mary Grace shared details about her own vocation and her various missions (assignments) since she joined the Daughters of Charity in 1946. Having Daughters of Charity, Ladies of Charity and Junior Ladies of Charity in the same place gave a real experience of the Vincentian Family.
Following lunch, each of the groups gave a PowerPoint presentation about their activities. The young women were poised and prepared. The activities from the Buffalo group included the Easter Bunny Brunch; helping at the Response to Love Center, Gianna Molla Pregnancy Outreach Center, Ronald McDonald House, and the Ladies of Charity Center; a household goods drive to benefit the Fresh Start program of the Ladies of Charity; towel bingo at Fourteen Holy Helpers Church, working with and benefiting developmentally disabled adults; adopting an immigrant family at Christmas and shopping for individual gifts for them; cleaning up the burial places of the first nuns to serve at St. Mary’s; the backpack program at LOC; and helping with other LOC events.
The Juniors from St. John’s Prep talked about their activities, including the party they sponsor for women who have earned their GED or other educational certificate, a program also assisted by the St. John’s LOC; trips to the Miraculous Medal shrine in Philadelphia; participation in a human trafficking conference at St. John’s Univ., and subsequent sponsorship of a movie about trafficking at their school (students had to be turned away even after the third showing) and facilitating discussion groups afterward; community building within their school, as displayed in a recent apple-picking trip which included a Mass and picnic; Miraculous Medal devotions; and the food they collect for a parish food pantry. The school may soon initiate a Marian Youth group because the boys want to know how they can participate in similar service projects.
All the adults present were totally impressed by the young women and all they accomplish. After the presentations, both groups discussed how they can build for the future. The discussion crossed the group boundary lines, and emails were exchanged.
On the way home, the Lancaster JLOC President convened an impromptu meeting in the car, and at the stop for supper, the girls overwhelmed their moderators with all their ideas. According to the moderators from St. John’s, their girls too are still talking about the experience. This was truly a joy-filled trip.