In January 2020, Rome will host a meeting of the Superiors General and Presidents of the Vincentian Family. We continue this series of posts to deepen our knowledge of the many Vincentian Branches. Here we interview Mrs. Alicia Duhne, International President of the International Association of Charities (AIC).
How and when did your foundation take place?
The International Association of Charities (AIC), formerly knows as Confraternities of Charity, was the first initiative founded by Saint Vincent de Paul in 1617.
It all began in Châtillon, more than 402 years ago…
On a Sunday in August 1617, during Mass, St. Vincent called on his parishioners to help a sick family in great need. Many women responded that same afternoon, visiting and helping them. Three days later, on August 23, 1617, amazed at the great generosity and feeling the need to organize this help to make it more effective and perennial, Saint Vincent encouraged a first group of women to create an association in order to assist spiritually and corporally those most in need. On December 8, 1617, this first founded group, called the Confraternity of Charity, was officially recognized.
How does the International Association of Charities reflect the Vincentian charism?
We work every day to imitate the style that St. Vincent had, that is why the AIC volunteers, present in centers of 53 countries, develop actions directly with the beneficiaries in response to the needs of their communities, encouraging the discovery of the strengths of each one. It is mainly about education, health and social reintegration actions, of course without forgetting the spiritual aspect.
To belong to an international network encourages the exchange of experiences and good practices, increases synergies and favours complementarities, making it possible to fight poverty globally.
We also follow in the footsteps of Saint Vincent denouncing injustice and bringing pressure to bear on the structures of civil society in the eyes of decision-makers, with the goal of eradicating the causes of poverty.
Your hopes and expectations for the Vincentian charism as we approach the meeting of the leaders of the Vincentian Family, scheduled for January 2020, in Rome.
We are very excited about this meeting, because we think that “unity is strength” and that, for this reason, we are sure that by sharing our experiences of the practice of our Vincentian actions we will be able to mutually enrich each other with this incredible event.