Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Windows of Opportunity Share a Story of Service

Something as simple as nursery rhymes can depict a peek into what it's like to be a part of the history behind the St. Vincent Sarah Fisher Center in Detroit.

With 170 years of service in the area, with the Daughters of Charity integral to the Center's ministry, it's nice to step back and reflect on where we've been and where we're going.

Through Dec. 28, 2014, stained glass windows from the Center featuring nursery rhyme characters will be on display at the Detroit Historical Museum Community Gallery. The windows were crafted for the Center in 1929. The exhibit shares a look at the SVSF Center's past, but also opportunities to continue serving in the future.

Sister Marie Judith Haupt currently works with the Center in Detroit, Mich.

Watch this video for more about the Windows of Opportunity exhibit and the ministry of the SVSF Center.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Life of Surprises

Sister Mary Walter Boyle shares a bit about her life of ministry as a Daughter of Charity.

Yes, my apostolic life of serving the poor has taken me all over the world!

As a young nurse entering the Community, little did I know the wonderful roads I would travel. While serving in medical nursing and seven years in psychiatric nursing, I earned my bachelor and master degrees.

My next exciting 37 years in hospital administration began in Washington, D.C., as we witnessed the Cuban crisis, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s March and sadly, President John Kennedy's assassination. Then over many years, my apostolates took me to hospitals in New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. I was also privileged to help raise money for building two hospitals for the poor, which included trips to Haiti and three trips to Sarajevo, Bosnia. St. Boniface Hospital in Haiti and St. Vincent's Hospital in Bosnia serve many poor.

And now my prayer apostolate at St. Louise House in Albany continues as I remember the poor and our Sisters serving in missions throughout the Province of St. Louise and around the world!

Are you ready for a life of surprises as a Daughter of Charity?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Responding to the Call at the Border

Sister Mary Ellen stands with donations of papooses
for young mothers at the border. More than
100 donations were received within two weeks.
Sister Mary Ellen Lacy, D.C., shares about her time serving at the border this summer. 

In spring, I was asked to attend a human trafficking conference. I was haunted by the ease with which a trafficker eyes his victim and cajoles her to follow him into a nightmare. Afterward, I was asked to present human trafficking legislation at the Daughters of Charity Provincial Assembly. As I prepared, I included federal protections for trafficked as well as unaccompanied children.

Like most immigration advocates, I was monitoring the increasing numbers of kids at the border and my concern had been growing. I wanted everyone to know there were established protections for these kids so Sisters might be able to guide them properly. By June, unaccompanied kids were in the news everywhere and I feared they would be ripe for traffickers. I prayed we would respond with the generosity of the Poor.

At our Assembly, some Sisters put up a sign for anyone who wanted to attend an ad hoc meeting regarding the children. About 70 Sisters sacrificed their chance to socialize, rest or take in the sights of St. Louis. They wanted to talk about helping these kids. We shared knowledge about the issue, established an email list and resolved to continue the discussion. Almost 20 volunteered to be sent to Texas that week. Sister Isabel called Catholic Charities in El Paso and was told we could put volunteers in a holding pattern. Things seemed to be under control.

After the Assembly, the group exchanged emails about happenings down south and different service opportunities. We kept our community council aware of our prayers, dreams and ideas. Within two weeks, three of us were granted the initial privilege of going to the border to serve in various ministries. We left within 72 hours of appointment of our posts of service.

I'm in awe by the ease with which God eyes the Daughters and cajoles them to follow Him, once again, onto a road less travelled, to realize the dream of sweet charity and divine justice for His Poor.

I was assigned to live in Harlingen, Texas, to work at a legal assistance clinic for immigrants. My other companions, Sister Sherry and Sister Janina, ministered at the shelter in McAllen. They served as interpreters and companions to young families. As usual, we were sent to serve the Poor and, as usual, we met Jesus every day.

We gathered information, prayed and waited until we came to believe it was time to act. When one mother was not allowed to have one of her three children stay with her because she couldn't afford an extra bed, I told her story and was overwhelmed by the number of people willing to give her money to buy one. Amazing things happen when you embrace the Spirit's momentum and allow Providence to be your guide. God wanted all three of us there so He paved the way. We just had to walk the road He laid. When we did, we experienced that familiar gratitude and peace that follows true surrender to His will.

Want to serve at the border with us? Join us for Vocation Border Immersion in El Paso Jan. 3-8, 2015

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hands and Feet of Christ

Michelle Hoffman is a discerner with the Daughters of Charity. She shares what has been integral to her discernment journey. Please join us in praying for Michelle as she discerns God's call.

As I have been discerning my call to religious life, a song by Matthew West called "Do Something" has really stopped me in my tracks.

There are days I wake up and think about all the problems in our world and why God lets those things happen. If I want to make a difference in the world then I need to stand up and "do something."

That's exactly what I got to do for a week with the Daughters of Charity on the Search and Serve retreat in East St. Louis, Ill.

During this week we spent time in prayer and reflection but also got to "do something" about the problems of this world. We served at St. Vincent de Paul Parish where we truly saw a variety of Vincentians working together serving lunch and dinner to the poor, making care packages for the homeless and giving away clothing. We also visited social service agencies, cleaned a bus transformed into a good truck for the homeless, and visited and cleaned a women's shelter.

Michelle (center) serves with Martha (left) and Cynthia (right)
at a women's shelter during Search and Serve 2014.
It was great to see people every day "doing something" to alleviate some of the pain in this world. This one week helped me open my eyes that I want to do more than I have been to serve the poor because, yes, one week helps, but it's an everyday problem. I want to be part of the solution and do something instead of doing nothing.

Through my discernment journey I have been looking for a religious order that serves the poor in many different ways. The Daughters truly embody service to the poor in everything they do. Through this week I saw how the Vincentian charism is lived out, not only through Daughters of Charity but through the Congregation of the Mission, Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Ladies of Charity. Those who embody this charism show dignity and care to each person they come in contact with, just like they are meeting Jesus. I know now I am being called to "do something" with my life by applying to become a Daughter of Charity.

Who wants to change the world with me? Together, with Christ, we can change the world.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Vincentian Family Members Join Us for Our Next Holy Hangout

It's important to work together toward a common goal, and we are blessed to have brothers and sisters in the Vincentian Family as part of our team!

For our next live chat on YouTube, Holy Hangout will feature some members of that team as we all talk about our collaboration to serve the poor together. This is a great time to ask questions about our charism and different projects and efforts we take part in to help each other help others.

Our panel includes:

  • Father Memo Campuzano, C.M.
  • Sister Mary Frate, D.C.
  • Karen Hawkins, Society of St. Vincent de Paul/affiliate
  • Father Jay Jung, C.M.
  • Sister Elizabeth Riddell, D.C.
Ask questions on our Facebook Page or by using #HolyHangoutDC on Twitter, and we'll answer them live on YouTube Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. CDT! If you can't join us, the conversation will be available on our YouTube channel.