By Kathleen Prager
The Ladies of Charity USA recently held its national assembly in Queens. Hosted by St. John’s University and the Northeast regional charters, over 200 members, representing 32 associations from around the U.S. convened at the La Guardia Marriott to explore the theme “Ladies of Charity, Women of Mercy.”
In his letter of welcome, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said: “It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the Diocese of Brooklyn for your 2016 National Assembly of the Ladies of Charity, USA. As one of the oldest charity organizations in the Church, the Ladies of Charity stands as a model example of dedicated lay women taking leadership roles in service to many areas of need. We are especially proud of your Chapter at St. John’s University and the programs and support offered to the local communities in the diocese.”
Auxiliary Bishop Paul Sanchez, Bishop David A. Zubik, of Pittsburgh, Pa., who serves as episcopal liaison to the Ladies of Charity, USA, and Father Richard Gielow, C.M., Vincentian spiritual advisor, concelebrated the opening Liturgy along with members of the Vincentian community.
Over the weekend, assembly participants attended spiritual reflections, workshops and lectures that included keynote speakers Sister Regina Bechtle, S.C., theologian, spiritual and retreat director, and Dr. Megan Clark, Ph.D. assistant professor of moral theology at St. John’s University, and a faculty expert for the Holy See’s Mission to the United Nations.
The closing liturgy was held at St. John’s University and was celebrated by Bishop David O’Connell, C.M., of Trenton, N.J., former dean and administrator at St. John’s University.
Poised to celebrate its 400th anniversary, the Ladies of Charity was founded by St. Vincent de Paul in 1617 in France, organizing local women in the village of Chatillon to alleviate the suffering of the most destitute of the community, sowing the seeds for what is now commonly known as systemic change.
Today, the Ladies of Charity USA, which includes over 6,000 women, join with 200,000 women internationally acting together against poverty. Committed to spiritual practices and works of mercy and justice, all espouse the Vincentian charism and virtues of humility, simplicity and service.
In the spirit of Saints Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac and Elizabeth Ann Seton, the Ladies of Charity work across the globe to study, address and eradicate the root causes of social injustice and poverty.