I extend special thanks to each of you who have made this past year fruitful and full of hope to those you serve. As we prepare for the Lenten Season, we now focus on the trials and tribulations that lead to our redemption. What better time than this to show unconditional love to our brothers and sisters by deepening our compassion for others and for ourselves.
Last year, the Vincentian Family did its part in promoting the spirit and collaboration of family and friends. I was privileged to attend two Vincentian Family meetings. One was held in Philadelphia for the Vincentian Family Leadership East, where ideas and projects were shared by seven family members. In discussing those projects, you understand the important role the Vincentian Family plays throughout our country caring for those less fortunate. Some projects discussed were: Germantown, Pa., where members of the Vincentian Family are pooling their resources to revive a community that needs rebuilding, not only with buildings but with a spirit of establishing a safe and productive community; scholarships are being given out in New York at the College of Mount Saint Vincent which combine Vincentian formation, service, and reflection; a day care center for the homeless is being created by DePaul USA in Macon, Ga. An advocacy group had been established in a rural area to speak for those living in poverty that could not afford local housing. As members of the Vincentian family, we are reaching out and touching others so they too can feel and see the impact of the Vincentians working together for Systemic Change.
At the second meeting of the Vincentian Family, there were 150–plus members of the family who shared their time and talents with each other while learning about Systemic Change. In attendance were persons who had experienced the roadblocks of society and government. They told their stories about fighting the odds with a little help from those who believed in them, but mostly they fought the odds themselves showing that they knew how to pull themselves up and take responsibility. Please refer to the article on the Indianapolis Vincentian Family Gathering that can be found in this issue of the Servicette.
A well-known German proverb says, “Begin to weave and God will give you the thread.” As Ladies of Charity and members of the Vincentian Family, God has definitely given us the thread. As we weave our relationships with the thread that began with our founders, we as the Vincentian Family have the tools that bind us together in our faith and service and link our spirit to our Vincentian heritage. We can further weave with the thread that our leaders began with to intertwine the concept and reality of Systemic Change. Having no fear of bringing those less fortunate to our table or listening to their plight and realizing their need to be their own persons, we offer them that thread of belonging. Just listen and you will hear the plight of those living in poverty. Offer them the thread that will help weave Systemic Change in their lives. Read stories in this newsletter, adapt the ideas that are being shared, take time to put yourself in their place and reach out in the spirit of our founders. Future articles in LCUSA’s quarterly newsletters will introduce our readers to fundamentals of Systemic Change and how it can become a part of our helping hands to those we serve.
The year of 2012 will give all of us the opportunity to collaborate on Systemic Change and engage our communities in the work of justice and charity. My wish for all of you is to believe, to have hope and to be joyful in the life you have been given. Be conscious of the privilege of serving our brothers and sisters in today’s world where tomorrow seems hopeless to those without a voice. Let us be that voice as we begin the New Year and prepare for the Season of Lent. ?