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 sister Birgit Fulda, Superior General of the Sisters of Mercy.
How and when did your foundation take place?
The Bishop of Fulda (Germany) requested the Sisters of Charity to minister in the Provincial Hospital of Strasburg. The request was granted on the condition that three young Sisters could be sent there as part of their formation. On February 13, 1834 three young women from Fulda and Hünfeld arrived in Strasburg. On July 5, 1834 the first three Sisters arrived in Fulda and two young women also traveled there in order to enter the postulancy.
Despite the difficulties that the Sisters had to confront there, the community spread rather quickly in the Diocese of Fulda and also in Eastern Germany where they accepted various social responsibilities. In other words, there was a request for the presence of the Sisters and after a process of discernment, the Sisters responded and sent Sisters.
How does your Congregation reflect the Vincentian charism?
A. Through the priorities of the Congregation
- The Vinzenzküche (St. Vincent;s kitchen): serves breakfast and provides the opportunity to take care of physical hygiene.
- Collaboration in urban ministry.
- Utilization of space in the Motherhouse for women with special needs.
- Distribution of bread which leads to contact and dialogue with persons who come to our door and who are in need.
- Various forms of help are provided at our door (our house is centrally located).
- Spiritual visits to the Motherhouse; participation in the activity known as The Night of the Open Church
- Have established places where essential articles such as clothing and furniture can be donated.
- Various forms of assistance for persons in crisis situations … interchanges and meetings in Marburg.
- Groups preparing for Communion and Confirmation visit us and speak with us at the Motherhouse.
- In the Motherhouse we receive various Christian groups that gather together in the afternoon.
- Opportunities for prayer and meditation at the Motherhouse.
- At different significant times during the Liturgical Year we host special events.
B. Through the use of our facilities
- Care for persons at risk with the assistance of Sisters who are dedicated to this ministry.
- Medical services for marginalized persons.
- Numerous Vincentian activities for specific local groups.
- Before Easter and Christmas a special meal is offered to homeless people (this is done through the collaboration of the Sisters and personnel at the Center).
- Care for addicts and homeless individuals: community dining room, medical attention, etc.
- Financial collaboration during the time of religious festivals, celebration of patronal feast of the local church.
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.
- Strengthen the charism on both the personal and the community level.
- Suggestions with regard to transmitting the charism with small numbers
- Exchange with the other branches of the Family and learn from their experiences
- Create networks