Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Learning So Much

Sister Mary Louise Stubbs is a Daughter of Charity and executive director of Daughters of Charity International Project Services. She shares a bit about what she does and what she's learned since joining the ministry.

You never know what adventuresome ministry you'll be invited to as a Daughter of Charity!

On a cold February day, seven months ago, I began my orientation to Daughters of Charity International Project Services. This "program" is essentially a "back office service" for the Daughters on an international level--working with the Econome (treasurer) Generale to help find resources for the ministries of Sisters in developing and impoverished countries.

There is a small but mighty DCIPS team, well prepared by the expertise and organizational skills of my predecessor, Sister Felicia, who continue to teach and support me. What we do is basically simple: Daughters of Charity in eligible countries assess the needs and goals of the people they serve, identify what would be helpful in their service and apply for assistance. Our team then seeks money from donors and foundations to fund those projects and receives reports on their progress.

...and I have learned so much.

I've learned leadership can come from anywhere with a swift flexibility that responds to looming and diverse needs. For the Sisters working in extreme poverty situations, "systemic change at the grassroots level" is a reality, not just a platitude. The local people and Sisters identify the needs and their vision and then they create inventive responses on the local level which often are models for global approaches to the vectors of poverty.

DCIPS is privileged to be a conduit for resources for such projects. My first few months here have revealed it is a small world after all! I've met Daughters of Charity from around the world (via email and web) and shared their realities and goals by helping them address the needs of their ministries.

From our humble office in Southfield, Mich., we witness issues such as people in West Africa crippled with fear of the deadly Ebola virus; handicapped children captive in their wheelchairs during rocket assaults; women without prenatal care whose babies are born with preventable health issues; refugees living on the streets without basic necessities; devastating natural disasters; lack of access to effective and proven medical prevention and treatment; young girls forced into early marriages; slave labor and harmful traditional practices that violate their rights and their bodies; and children who die because they do not have food, clean water or the most basic health care.

What I now see is change happening around the world very rapidly and that each of us have opportunities to be a part of activities that will produce positive outcomes. This isn't the time to watch and wait, because action is needed now. Resources and support are needed right now--and prayer is needed for its power to unite people globally and to both decrease human suffering and increase human potential.

On behalf of our Sisters and the people in countries who work continually to rise above harsh difficulties, the IPS team invites you, your family and friends to join in prayer and support for issues and projects found on our website.

All photos courtesy of Daughters of Charity International Project Services

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