CHARITY WISDOM FROM OUR FOUNDERS AND FRIENDS
From centuries ago, the words of our founders still resound, full of wisdom and insight for today. Saints Elizabeth Ann Seton, Vincent de Paul, and Louise de Marillac guide us as we walk in the footsteps of Christ, who came to bring Good News to those living in poverty. They are our mentors in the way of affective and effective love.
ST. ELIZABETH ANN SETON:
I find invariably that when I leave all, all, absolutely to Him, he either bestows what is desired, or grants so much consolation that all is peace.
ST. VINCENT DE PAUL:
Let us look upon the Son of God. What a loving heart! What a flame of love!….Who could love with such surpassing love? Nobody but the Lord, who was so smitten by the love of His creatures as to leave the throne of his Father to come and take a body subject to weakness. And why? To establish among us by his word and example love for one another.
LOUISE DE MARILLAC:
God almost always gives me the grace to acknowledge and appreciate the opinions of others even when they are completely contrary to my own.
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The staff of the Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center, Yonkers, NY, selected their favorite saying by Mother Seton. The winning quote —most appropriate to express the spirit that permeates ESPC— was, “Tenderness is the language that children best understand.”[hr]
Brendan Walsh, cofounder of Viva Catholic Worker House in Baltimore and brother of Sr. Patricia Walsh, wrote in a 2012 article: “For many Catholics, the sisters introduced us to social justice and the great commandment to love….In the end, we still have the Sermon on the Mount, community and the opportunity to practice the command to love one another. We still believe that even when two or three people gather together in the search for community there is the presence of God.”[hr]
SCNY Associate Steven Sweeny attended the August 28, 1963, March on Washington, where he saw Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech. He reflected on the experience and on Dr. King’s legacy: “People of faith, so many of the March participants, affirmed that in each other we encounter God, and, in honoring basic human dignity for all, we were in fact reverencing the God in each of us. And black and white, rich and poor, old and young, believers and non-believers fell in line behind Dr. King in a march which mirrored the very dream of which he spoke. It was for the nation and for me a transformative moment. … Proud as I might be of being there in that historic moment in August of 1963 and of the fifty years of progress it began, I know the realization of the dream is incomplete. But I am encouraged. Is there any group better equipped than the Company of Charity to lock arms with the marginalized, the discriminated against, the disenfranchised and, drawing our strength from the Gospels, to assure them that ‘We Shall Overcome’?”