Dear AIC volunteers, dear Vincentian friends,
May the Grace of St. Vincent accompany us!
On this day when we celebrate the feast of our dear founder St. Vincent de Paul, I am happy to share some reflections with you.
I thank the Lord for allowing us to travel again after some difficult years of quarantine. We were able to hold our first face-to-face Board meeting in Brussels earlier this year. What a joy for all the members of the International Executive Board to be able to meet and work together in a friendly and more serene atmosphere!
I was also lucky enough to be able to participate in a Vincentian Family meeting held in Seville in June, where about 120 Vincentians from all over the world were invited to reflect on the journey of refugees, displaced people and victims of human trafficking. Our shared spirituality and charism were palpable throughout the meeting. I experienced a surge of love and enthusiasm and we all returned to our places of Vincentian service with renewed ardour and strengthened faith thanks to this “fire of love” that was rekindled.
AIC International meetings have always been organized with joy and fervour, each one reinforcing the commitment of the participants to go further and further to support our brothers and sisters in need: people who have been wounded by the cruelty in the world; people who are excluded and people who suffer from injustice, violence of all kinds and endless and senseless wars.
These times of grace are truly to be shared wherever we work because Jesus sends us to “carry the fire, the divine fire, the fire of love” (St. Vincent de Paul). He sends us to work in this complicated world full of pitfalls in order to make all-encompassing charity reign.
And as our Holy Father reminds us, we must listen not only to the cries of people living in poverty but also to those of the Earth. Our “Common Home” is being destroyed little by little, more and more people are victims of floods, droughts, fires and avalanches. Our environment is undergoing all kinds of degradation.
Our Holy Father entrusts us with the task of protecting our “Common Home”. We must act as quickly as possible. It is our responsibility to listen to these cries coming from the Earth, to raise awareness and to act without delay.
Our responsibility and our mission are getting bigger and bigger as we face the many forms of poverty in this world and our unity will be our strength as we tackle all these different problems.
In this context, what a blessing it is to know that we are not alone in addressing the many challenges that we face in our Vincentian mission: we have St. Vincent, St. Louise, Jesus and Mary, the mother of us all. We can also count on the presence and collaboration of thousands of Vincentians around the world whose strength and determination are colossal.
We are actively preparing our next AIC International Assembly of Delegates, which will be held in March 2023 near Rome. Let us begin carrying in our prayers this time of gathering and unity of all the volunteers all over the world.
We will have decisions to make in order to be able to do more for our brothers and sisters living in poverty, for our Common Home and for our dear Association. We hope to be able to count on delegates from all the associations in our AIC network. Various preparatory letters will be sent to you in the coming weeks.
Let us pray together that Saint Vincent and Saint Louise will accompany us during the months that lead up to this great time of meeting and reunion.
Lord, you do not ask me, first of all, if I have prayed, if I have given my time or my money. You have chosen me to make my life a life of love. I will seek happiness for my loved ones and justice for those around me.
Happy feast of Saint Vincent to each and every one of you.
Rose de Lima Ramanankavana
AIC International President