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“Once upon a time, there was an old tree…”

The Daughters of the Holy Spirit, News No. 72 November 2017 which was specially dedicated to the DHS Family Assembly held at Ile Blanche at the close of the Year of Marie Balavenne enabled all those not present to share the rich experience from afar, and for this we are grateful.

The parable “Once upon a time, there was an old tree…” -Sister Ann Almodovar, general counsel- which opened the report was particularly rich in poetic meaning based on the oldest theme of all time, namely “the tree of Life.”

On that same day of August 15, 2017, at Ile Blanche -Brittany, France-, I had the privilege of sharing in the four hundred anniversary of the founding of the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul which was held in Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral, Wales, before it moved on to Rome. St Vincent de Paul founded the congregation to serve the poor, like our own congregation. He had difficulty with Rome, however, to achieve this, as Rome said the religious would have to live the contemplative life in enclosed convents. St Vincent, in order to cceed, said the congregation would take temporary vows which the sisters would renew every year, and they still renew these vows every year on the 25 March. This apostolic congregation became one of the largest in the world, and today they still work in 72 countries, and are approximately 16,000 in number. St Vincent also founded a congregation of priests, The Congregation of the Mission, to educate the clergy and to educate the poor. In the nineteenth century, Frederic Ozanam founded the lay society of the St Vincent de Paul to continue the mission for the poor. This flourished too and there are SVP societies throughout the world, and once again they concentrate on the needs of the poor. The latest “branch” of their “Tree” is the Mini-Vinnies, composed of school children who are still in school and have their own society to help the poor. The most extraordinary moment of the service for me was the testimony of a twelve-year- old girl who spoke of the work they are involved in at school level to help the poor. Their family in now complete.

The DHS Congregation has added two branches to the congregation in the last 20 years, and this has enriched our mission. What does the DHS “Tree” hold for the future?

Sister Josephine Egan DHS - EIW Province. Published on January 25, 2018


Filles du Saint-Esprit 15 bd. Sebastopol 35101 Rennes Cedex 2 France

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