It all started in Châtillon over 400 years ago… one Sunday in August 1617, during Mass, Saint Vincent de Paul called on his parishioners to help a sick family in great need. Many women responded that same afternoon, visiting the family and bringing them aid. Three days later, on August 23, 1617, marvelling at such generosity, and feeling it necessary to organize this help to make it more effective and long-lasting, Saint Vincent led a first group of women to form a confraternity, with the aim of providing spiritual and material help to those most in need. (– aic-international.org)
Today, as in many countries, France has been badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is those living in poverty who are most vulnerable to its economic impacts. The AIC volunteers are aware of this, and in various towns across the country (Strasbourg, Verdun, Saint-Valéry-en-Caux, Tarbes and others), they have continued their food bank services to the families that rely on them, adapting the way they work to respect social distancing and hygiene measures. Some volunteers are also making masks for those who need them. The volunteers have the support of the local authorities and the beneficiaries are reassured to see their familiar friendly faces at this particularly difficult time.
The actions of AIC volunteers around the world continue to show that however difficult the situation, it is always possible to keep helping those in need.
In Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne, where St. Vincent set up the first Charity in 1617, and where the AIC International Assembly was held 400 years later, the AIC volunteers have continued supporting vulnerable elderly people. They stay in touch with them by phone or in writing, according to each person’s capabilities, and they have sent homemade masks and greetings cards with words of comfort, poems or Bible verses.
Source: AIC Newsletter
AIC strives to be a transforming presence of Christian inspiration in society, working mainly with women, through projects and development actions in which the beneficiaries are fully involved.
It also collaborates at local and global levels, participating in networks and getting involved in public policy or civil society programmes, so that together we can build a fairer world.
(from their International website)
See also: Ladies of Charity USA website