Dear Friends of AIC,
As you know, the end of the year 2015 has been marked by the passing away of several friends, all of whom very dear to AIC: Kiki de Crane, Mauricette Borloo, Claire Delva, Anne Michelle Verhaegen, Dominique Serruys and many others from across our network of associations. They have been all part of AIC and followed St Vincent’s project with enthusiasm! We are sure that they continue to watch over us.
The year has also been marked by dramatic and violent events across the world, especially in the Middle East, Ukraine and Africa.
In spite of all this, at AIC we continue to have faith and to move forward!
At the Assembly in Guatemala in March, I was elected as new International President. I have been an Executive Board member for 6 years, as Regional Coordinator for Latin America and Associate President.
One of the immediate objectives that the Executive Board has fixed is the celebration of the 400th anniversary with a jubilee year.
The next international assembly will be held in Chatillon in March 2017, where we hope to welcome 400 delegates. We have also invited each AIC association to celebrate this founding event in its own country. The objective is to revitalize ourselves but also to project our actions with “St Vincent’s friends”, those living in poverty, towards the future.
For those of you who can read French, we recommend the book “Vincent de Paul: Un saint au Grand Siècle” by Marie-Joëlle Guillaume, published by Perrin. The book is excellent, well referenced and easy to read. The life of our founder is depicted with subtlety as a journey of ongoing conversion.
We would also like to take this opportunity to let you know that we have started an online training programme, the AIC Diploma, which was offered to volunteers from Latin America and completed by 480 people or groups from 2014-15. It has been translated into English and is currently being followed by a pilot group of 20 people. The next step will be a “Diploma in French”. This new form of training has been very successful, though it is demanding both for the participants and the coaches supporting them, being 8 months long with weekly homework tasks.
How can you participate in our AIC network, and make it ever more dynamic?
Join us on Monday mornings at 9am for 5 minutes of prayer for AIC: this initiative was started several years ago by volunteers from the USA. The volunteers from Europe and the Middle East have proposed to use this time to pray for PEACE. Please see below for a text from our Pope Francis: “Live the revolution of tenderness, like Mary”.
Participate in the life of AIC financially: As you know, we generally find support for concrete projects, with children or women in difficult situations, because people are generous and happy to help, but it is difficult to find funding for structures like AIC International and it is therefore up to us, as friends and members of AIC, to take responsibility for this.
Those making donations to AIC from European countries can do so and receive a tax receipt by using the TGE (TransGiving Europe) system, to which AIC is affiliated. Please see the form attached for all the European countries involved in the scheme.
I would like to conclude by thanking you for bringing light to the life of others through your generosity and by wishing you a very Merry Christmas with your loved ones and a Happy New Year filled with hope and blessings.
Annexe: Live the revolution of tenderness, like Mary
“We are asked to live the revolution of tenderness as Mary, our Mother of Charity, did. We are invited to “leave home” and to open our eyes and hearts to others. Our revolution comes about through tenderness, through the joy which always becomes closeness and compassion (…) and leads us to get involved in, and to serve, the life of others. (…) Our faith, “calls us out of our house”, to visit the sick, the prisoner and to those who mourn. It makes us able to laugh with those who laugh, and rejoice with our neighbors who rejoice. Like Mary, we want to be a Church which serves, which leaves home and goes forth, which goes forth from its chapels, forth from its sacristies, in order to accompany life, to sustain hope, to be the sign of unity of a noble and worthy people. Like Mary, Mother of Charity, we want to be a Church which goes forth to build bridges, to break down walls, to sow seeds of reconciliation. Like Mary, we want to be a Church which can accompany all those “pregnant” situations of our people, committed to life, to culture, to society, not washing our hands but rather walking together with our brothers and sisters.”
– Pope Francis Homily in Cuba (extracts) 22nd September 2015