Mary Ann Dantuono, president of the Ladies of Charity, AIC-LCUSA writes in America Magazine about “Outside the lines… inside the church”
In “Outside the Lines” (America Magazine 4/27), Helen Alvaré makes it clear that women’s ability to maneuver from outside bureaucracies could be good for the future church. Perhaps history can assist with an additional point. There have been men, like St. Vincent de Paul, as well as women, who have so maneuvered and envisioned new ways for the church and for women to lead and serve. In 1617, Vincent founded the Confraternities of Charity, a lay association led by women, to serve people who were poor and sick. These confraternities spread throughout the world. Nearly 400 years later they are still flourishing as the International Association of Charities of St. Vincent de Paul, known in the United States as the Ladies of Charity of the United States of America.
Today’s church could benefit from St. Vincent’s vision, creativity and pragmatism. He read the signs of the times and developed sustainable, Gospel-driven responses “outside the lines” and inside the church.
May all holy men and women work together to shape the church of the future that our world needs so badly. “Love is inventive even to infinity,” said St. Vincent de Paul.