Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Celebrating a Missionary Spirit on the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul

"The Company (of the Daughters of Charity) is missionary by nature; it strives to retain the flexibility and mobility needed to respond to the calls of the Church in the face of every form of poverty. Like its Founders, the Company tries to reach out to those who are poor wherever they may be and to seek out the most abandoned and neglected. From the very beginning, Saint Vincent and Saint Louise, with the audacious courage of the apostles, sent forth their Daughters on the highways of the world." Constitution 25

Sr. Patty Huffman was recently "sent on mission" to the Cook Islands.  The Cook Islands?  You ask, "Where is that?"  Scroll down.  Daughters of Charity are sent on mission by the leadership in response to needs.  For Daughters of Charity, like Sr. Patty, to be sent on foreign missions the Sister needs to request it.  Foreign missions are a call within a call.  The Sisters discerns foreign mission work with the community and then is sent accordingly.

Yes, the Cook Islands are in the area of the star where there is no sign of land from this zooming distance! Our Sisters are on 2 of the islands and it is a 2 hour flight between the 2 on a small plane! 

Did you ever watch the movie "Whale Rider"?  It is a great movie about the clashes of culture and generations.  But anyway, the movie has a special cultural dance--does it look familar with the photo below from the Cook Islands?  The dance was also in "Invictus".  (The movies didn't include the females.)

So, what are the Daughters of Charity doing in the Cook Islands?  Sr. Margaret O'Dwyer (below) has been on mission on the Cook Islands for several years.  Sr. Margaret leads a program for inmate rehabilitation focusing on literary and working skills in conjunction with other agencies.The books the women are holding in the photo below were donated by Rotary for the inmate literacy program. 

The Sisters have an after-school program for children.  Below you see they not only feed the minds.

The Sisters are also very involved in the community. Here Sr. Margaret is visiting a new mother.

Another outreach of the Daughters on the islands is support and care for those with special needs.  Some of these disabilities are since birth others are from accidents, aging or health problems like strokes.
Here Sr. Madeline and Sr. Mary are serving at Te Ata o te Ra...

 and a home visit.
While St. Vincent still lived, he sent Daughters of Charity from France to Poland and the Congregation of the Mission (our brother community) as far as Madagascar.  Most of us won't live in far off lands, but the princples remain the same for home also--to honor the cultures of others, to acknowledge the faith of those we serve, to serve with respect and to be open to being evangelized by those living in poverty.

Take a moment to reflect on those principles and how they exist in your service.

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