My original plan for this article was to report on an Atlantic Canada Vincentian family social justice gathering in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This gathering would have included members of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul as well as three congregations of Vincentian sisters. This was an event we have worked towards for about three years with the goals being to bring together these branches of the Vincentian family to discuss social justice and to look at possible ways we can collaborate on raising the awareness of social justice, to identify specific ways we can accomplish this collaboration and to meet and share our Vincentian charism. This gathering included close to 80 Vincentians and would have been a unique opportunity as here in Canada, except for the Society membership, there are very few Vincentians in other regions. The Sisters of Charity have a long and distinguished history in Atlantic Canada but there are few sisters in our other regions.
This gathering was set for September 7, but hurricane Dorian had other plans. Due to the approaching storm we had to cancel the gathering out of concern for the safety of those attending and will now look at re-scheduling the gathering for next spring. My wife Pat and I were able to stay safely in our hotel room where we had a firsthand view of the hurricane. As I watched nature unfold one of its more dangerous displays, I gained a real appreciation of what the Bahamas and other regions must have experienced. While the hurricane reached Halifax as a category one, I can only imagine how strong it would have been as a category five hurricane. I would encourage anyone reading this article to look at ways you can help the Bahamas recover from the hurricane.
As members of the Vincentian family respond to those affected by this hurricane, it is a real testament to the basic desire of our family and our fellow citizens to offer our aid and prayers to those affected by such disasters as hurricane Dorian. May God protect and comfort all who felt the rage of Dorian. I shall certainly remember Dorian at our 2020 Vincentian gathering in Halifax.
About the author:
Jim Paddon lives in London, Ontario, Canada and is past president of the Ontario Regional Council of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. He is currently chair of the National Social Justice Committee of the Society in Canada. He is married to his dear wife Pat and they have six daughters and eleven grandchildren. Jim has been a member of the Society since the 1970’s.
Opinions expressed are the author’s own views and do not officially represent those of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.