Our annual Fall Membership Mass and dinner was held on
Tuesday, September 24. Father Patrick
Butler led us in a wonderful celebration of the feast of St. Vincent DePaul at
DePaul House Chapel. Fr. Robert Gielow
concelebrated the Mass. Fr. Gielow is
the twin brother of the Spiritual Moderator for LCUSA, Fr. Richard Gielow.
Once again we were treated to Sheila Morris Barnes’
beautiful singing voice and she was accompanied by the talents of Jean Tebbetts
on the piano. Jean did a marvelous job attending
to every detail for the Mass.
Immediately following, we headed to Wolfert’s Roost for a
delicious dinner and fellowship. Alba
Giordano worked tirelessly to make sure all of our needs were met. Dinner was a delicious blend of pasta,
salads, chicken and salmon. There was no
excuse to go away hungry!
Our guests included the President and Vice President of the
Academy of the Holy Names Junior Ladies of Charity. Stefania Bonanni and Grace Giambetti,
respectively, spoke with us about why they enjoy being Junior Ladies and shared
with us some of the work they have done in the past year. It was inspiring to hear their words.
Our own Ladies offered brief commentary on why they enjoy
the ministries in which they are involved.
Their descriptions at times made us laugh and at others reminded us why
we work so hard at what we do. A call
for help with the Coats for the Community drive as well as the Getting Ahead in
a Just-Gettin-By World program garnered many volunteers. It was heartwarming evening.
“Begin to Weave and God
Will Provide the Thread: Ladies of
Charity in Action”
There were 150 Ladies of Charity from across the United
States who gathered in their usual sense of love and acceptance of one another
to celebrate the work of our associations and to strength the outcomes and
enthusiasm for our work. The 40 ladies
of the two associations in Utah assisted by the other associations of the
Western Region combined their efforts to present a truly successful assembly. Programing was moving and outstanding and Salt
Lake City was a charming venue. Debbie
Chadwick, LCUSA President presided over the Assembly with our opening Mass
celebrated by Rev. Richard Gielow , CM, Spiritual Advisor of Ladies of Charity. Oscar A.
Solis, Bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, assisted and also warmly
I would highly recommend reading, soon to be on the LCUSA
website, the presentation by Sister Margaret
Keaveney, DC , the first Plenary Speaker:
“Begin to Weave and God will Provide the
Thread.” She spoke so powerfully of the
Vincentian call to serve the poor, even when it might lead us outside of our
comfort zone. We must trust in God’s
providential love for all of His people
and filial trust in his unending gift of thread to weave our Vincentian
Tapestry as we serve the sick, the poor
and the marginalized. We were asked to
always follow Vincent’s admonition, “First the heart, and then the work.” When we see and/or feel a need, we must reach
out to do what we can to bring peace, comfort and justice.
Sister Paule Freeburg, DC gave a wonderfully thorough and
insightful account of the unbelievable courage
of Louise de Marillac in establishing the Daughters of Charity. Vincent had asked her to establish an order
of sisters who would serve the poor and marginalize “in the field”. She successfully founded the first order which
was not cloistered, amidst great opposition, but “weaving with God’s thread”.
Perhaps the most unique speaker was Joseph Raymond Lucero,
from Home Boy Industries in Los Angeles.
He used his own story, “Escaping Gang Life through the help of God and Fr.
Gregory Boyle, S.J.” to enlighten us about street life of troubled young
people. Joey was a third generation
gang member whose family was also involved with heroin addiction. Beginning at
age 9 he was in youth detention and state prisons for 12 of his first 26 years
of life. Currently, he does outreach as
well as presentations for Home Boy about
“change is possible”. His message helps bring an awareness of the
issues facing the formerly incarcerated.
Joey is also an actor known for Mayan M.C., Gridiron Gang, and
Shameless. He received an enthusiastic standing ovation from the LOC.
We were treated to breakout sessions where we heard about
four of the successful outreach programs
in Salt Lake City: “Give Me a Chance”,
“No One Dies Alone”, “Inn – Between”, and “Welfare Square”.
The excellent advocacy work our own Marie Copeland was
mentioned as the “posterchild” for other regions. Her report was a popular take-away on the
We were not without many opportunities for fun: captivating tours of the area, lunch with new
and old friends, directed sharing at tables, fun competition during the silent
auctions, visiting as we were weaving
tapestries that were taken home by four region vice presidents, some
really fun square dancing Friday, and
following the Mass at the spectacular Diocesan Cathedral, a sumptuous farewell
dinner fostered wonderful friendships
and so many happy memories.
Be sure to check out the article in the July 11 edition of The Evangelist entitled “Building ‘Bridges’ to a New Life” (pg. 8). Read about the recent Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World graduates and how they are determined to succeed.
On June 20, two women were celebrated as they graduated from the Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ By World program that is run through Bridges Out of Poverty. The ceremony was held at the Watervliet Housing Authority. Lisandra Sepulveda and Charlotte Brown spoke of their Future Stories, which were inspirational and heartwarming. We wish them both the best of luck and offer our prayers for their success.
The Daughters of Charity hosted the African Fair on June 14. All items for sale were beautifully displayed as well as the baskets reserved for the raffle drawing. The Ladies of Charity were generous in their donations of items to be sold, preparing two baskets for the raffle, taking chances to win those baskets, providing delicious goodies for the LOC baked goods table and offering their assistance with the baked goods sale. The Fair was a huge success with the Daughters raising over $7,000. Proceeds from the Fair will be sent to three missionary sites in Africa where Daughters from their Province are working. What a blessing!
On Thursday, May 16, 2019, the Albany Association of the Ladies of Charity held their Installation Mass and dinner. The beautiful Mass was presided over by Bishop Edward Scharfenberger at the DePaul House chapel followed by a dinner at Wolfort’s Roost. Over 70 of our members attended and it was wonderful to enjoy good food and fellowship with so many of our Ladies.
Elizabeth Guiry, Martha Snyder, Beth McCrea and Geraldine Mazza were installed as new members and JoAnn Kearns, Kathleen Kearny and Mary Q. Reagan (deceased) were honored as Life Members. Congratulations to you all. We look forward to working with and getting to know our newest members and continuing our work and learning from our Life Members. We are blessed!
On May 11, we held our
annual May Crowning at the Daughters of Charity DePaul House Chapel. We began our morning with a breakfast
reception followed by Mass, which we all shared with the Sisters. We
crowned two Mary statues, one in the DePaul House Chapel and one in the St.
Louise House courtyard. It was a beautiful celebration of Mary.
At our April 9 General Membership Meeting, two special people spoke to us about the Bridges Out of Poverty program called Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ By World (“Getting Ahead.”) Josh Willenbrink, Training Coordinator from Schenectady Works, told of his experiences as a child growing up in poverty and being the first one from his family to live a self-sustaining life. He spoke of how he is now working with individuals who are living on the margins and how he helps them “get ahead.” His story was riveting and we learned a lot about the mind set of those who live in poverty.
As an added bonus, one of the Cohoes graduates of the Getting Ahead program, Emily Counterman, spoke about her life in poverty, how she got there, her participation the the Getting Ahead program, and how she is working hard to keep herself on track. Emily also talked about how she believes in giving back to those who have helped her along the way as well as to those less fortunate. She was an inspiration to us all.
A very special thank you to Lady of Charity, Kathy Kavanaugh, for her tireless work with the Bridges program and for recommending these two speakers.
In March, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at St. Louise House with Friends in Harmony. In addition to their rendition of many popular Irish songs, Sr. Mary Agnes surprised us with her version of “Who Put the Overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder.” The Sisters enjoyed singing along to their favorite songs and a good time was had by all!