How long have you been a Vincentian? Approximately three years.
Conference: Our Lady of Lourdes
Your role in the Society: Returning neighbors’ phone calls, home visits, requesting payments made in our neighbors’ behalf for rent, utilities, etc., working at Our Lady of Lourdes food pantry.
Most memorable Home Visit: A woman with five kids, starting a new job in two weeks, had moved out of her apartment and into a house, with absolutely no furniture, because of bug infestation. My fellow Vincentian and I had to climb a very steep driveway in order to get to the front door of the house. There was an old car parked in the driveway and to my surprise, three very young children were sitting in the back seat of the car. I said “Hi” to them and quickly realized that they were sitting there because there was nowhere in the house to sit. We spoke with the mom and listened to her needs. All she wanted, she said, was furniture for her new home. We made a referral to New Life Furniture Bank, requesting everything she needed — an entire houseful of furniture. Plus we put her on to our food pantry. And she was thrilled and grateful. The best part of this Home Visit came when I called our neighbor to see how she liked her furniture. Her 14-year-old son answered the phone. He asked, “Is this Miss Mary Ann?” When I said “Yes,” he told me how the entire family was thrilled with their furniture. But even more exciting to him was when he offered to help the movers. They accepted his help and told him that when he turns 16, he should call them and get a job with New Life.
Biggest lesson you’ve learned as a Vincentian? I was very surprised at the level of poverty just a few miles from my home. I learned how grateful some people are at the very things that most of us take for granted. It is a wonderful feeling to actually see the people you are helping, especially the kids.
What has made you stick with the ministry? I feel like I am blessed to have an opportunity to help those less fortunate. It is a joyous way of performing Christian Acts of Mercy.