The “Association Louise de Marillac” belongs to the larger “Vincentian Family” and is totally dedicated to the cause of elderly abandoned people. Its members are lay volunteers who devote some of their time to look after these old people, under the supervision of the Daughters of Charity who have been running the movement for many years in Lebanon, actually since 1952.
Currently, the number of elderly people looked after is 50. The commitment of the “Louises” is lived through frequent visits paid to them in their own little homes and through personalized support, aiming at ensuring a sort of security in their very insecure world, and careful attention to their problems of loneliness.
Formerly the Association activity covered different areas of Beirut and an annual dinner dance at the Carlton or Bristol Hotel provided most of the income. With the changes and restrictions imposed by the war and high-cost-of-living, the covered area is now limited to Ashrafieh and its surroundings.
In addition to donations, funds are raised through the following actions:
- The rent of a play once a year
- “In Memoriam” donations in favor of the Association
- Money collected on St. Louise’s feast (9th May) in the Church of the Miraculous Medal
- A solidarity chain set up to increase the Association friends’ awareness of the urgent need to help these people especially on Christmas and at Easter, gathering food supplies, clothes, gifts, etc.
The funds raised enable the Association to provide every elderly person with fixed monthly payments, food provisions, troubleshooting services, breakfast or lunch gatherings and a monthly outing. Most of them are ailing and in need of regular medication that the Association also ensures.
Widowed without, or with children to whom they are a burden, these people are mostly abandoned and represent the “left-outs” of society and the “dustbin-hunters.” They live mostly alone, generally in single rooms under the roofs, in caves or even in stairwells in precarious conditions. They have no other resources than charity assistance and their survival depends on the generosity of their benefactors, especially as there is no social law in Lebanon for elderly and abandoned people.
It is worth noting that the “Association Louise de Marillac” is still able to pursue its mission despite financial crises and difficulties, counting above all on God’s Providence and on the generosity and understanding of its benefactors. Not forgetting that Saint Louise keeps a close watch over her beloved elderly people relentlessly…