We know that St. Vincent, St. Louise, the Daughters of Charity, the Ladies of Charity and other benefactors helped alleviate the misery of convicts condemned to the galleys in 17th Century France, whether by giving alms, visiting them, feeding them, providing hospice care, or caring for their spiritual needs.
A few years ago I heard about a ministry called Let’s Start — an organization led by and for formerly incarcerated women. They aim to break the cycle of incarceration in families by using the personal experiences of their participants to support recovery, educate the community, and inform policy. It’s an interesting example of a small collaboration between the Vincentian Family (in this case, Ladies of Charity, Sisters of Charity, and Society of St. Vincent de Paul) and other entities outside the Vincentian Family.
To learn more, watch the 2 videos below.
What are some needs in my local area that might be met by forming such a collaboration? What can I (my community, my SVDP Conference, my LOC Association, etc.) do to help?
Note the great significance of having those who are experienced or have been affected themselves become directly involved (in this case, the formerly incarcerated women).
From time to time Monsieur Vincent would come to these poor convicts, especially when they became numerous or were about to be shipped off to the galleys. He provided a missionary for them, to console them, and dispose them to make good use of their sufferings.
It might seem that he could do nothing more for the convicts. A heart less motivated by his sincere charity would be content with having provided a house and seen to their temporal and spiritual needs. His love, however, would not allow him to think he had done enough…” (Abelly, Book 1, Chapter 28)
more at vincentians.com
Tags: systemic change reflections, systemic change stories