Submitted by: Toni K. Gaines
A Vincentian Family Day Celebration was held at Elizabeth Ann Seton High School in Bladensburg, MD on September 7, 2019 from 12:20 pm – 5:30 pm. Sr. Mary Frances Hildenberger, D.C. was the facilitator for the gathering and she introduced the Principal of Elizabeth Ann Seton High School, Sr. Ellen Hagar, D.C. who welcomed the attendees and gave opening remarks. A member from each Vincentian group was in attendance and gave a synopsis of their respective organizations. Debbie Self, President of the Archdiocese of Washington Ladies of Charity started, followed by Fr. John Freund, C.M. for the Congregation of the Mission; Sr. Ellen LaCapria for the Daughters of Charity; Ms. Tommye Grant, Society of St. Vincent de Paul Council of Washington, DC; and, Ms. Ellie Rogers for the Executive Board of the Vincentian Service Club at Seton High School. Unfortunately, Sr. Becker for the Sisters of Charity was unable to attend. Each Vincentian group was set up in a classroom to display hand-outs and/or answer any questions the attendees may have regarding the services they provide to the community.
Fr. Freund was the keynote speaker and he spoke on his personal genealogy as well as that of the Vincentians. During his presentation, he shared many meaningful quotes pertaining to St. Vincent himself as well as FAMVIN’s mission to help the poor. Here are just a few:
- Matthew 25:40, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
- As Vincentians, the question we need to ask ourselves, is – “WHAT, needs to be done? See – Judge – Act
- “the charism is caught not taught”
- St. Francis de Sales called St. Vincent “a walking gospel”
- FAMVIN – Story of the Poor, “we don’t bring Christ to people, we discover Christ in people.”
Also, Fr. Freund mentioned collaboration is possible which is what the “Super Women” (Louise, Elizabeth and Catherine Harkins founder of the Ladies of Charity in the United States) did. It was mentioned that the Vincentian Family Homeless Alliance is starting a project “13 Houses”; more to come in the future.
In conclusion, Ms. Promise Wood, a member of the Vincentian Service Club at Seton High School, started a project at the school and presented it to the attendees. She asked everyone in attendance to fill a bag for the homeless to contain a pair of socks, a snack, toothpaste and toothbrush, travel sized soap, lotion, shampoo and a note with our favorite scripture or an encouraging phrase such as “Have a Nice Day.” Once the bags were filled, she asked us to take the filled bags with us to hand out to the homeless on the street or anyone we saw in need. All the items in the bags were donated by the students. KUDOS to the young ladies for a job well done.
The ADW Ladies of Charity were elated to see Sr. Sandra Goldsborough, D.C. former Spiritual Moderator for the ADW LOC. Sister came down from Emmitsburg, PA for the celebration. The day ended with Fr. Freund celebrating the Sunday Liturgy.