Brenda Gonzales, SCN, presented profiles of several Sisters during the Associates’ fall gathering. We will share from her presentation, “SCNs live the Charism Today in Their Own Words” with you as Sister profiles over the next few weeks.
We have a saying in the SCN community “where one SCN is there the whole community is”. I wish I could have all 494 SCNs tell their stories of how they are living the Charism today but we will focus on a few stories as we travel around the SCN Congregation.
Barbara Maynard, SCN Western Province/Pittsburgh
Greetings, Sisters and Associates, thank you for inviting me to share my reflections on my present ministry experiences. I am Barbara Maynard, a Sister of Charity, living in Pittsburgh, PA where I have been serving immigrant families for the last 7 years. I am originally from Brooklyn, NY.
I have been a professed Sister for 55 years and an SCN for 13 years following the merger of the Vincentian Sisters of Charity into the SCN Community.
400 years ago, Vincent de Paul heard a message in prayer telling him to go out and serve the people living in poverty. He realized quickly that he needed help. Louise de Marillac and many others responded generously united in the ministry of service. Christ was present with them and within them as they grew to love one another and the people they served.
200 years ago, Catherine Spalding, also responded to her pastor’s request to help educate the children in his parish. Undoubtedly, she recognized that many other problems also needed to be addressed. Her witness to the children attracted many more women to the work at hand. The charism of Charity took root in her heart as she encouraged her Sisters to tenderly share their love with all.
And now 200 years later, we, Sisters and Associates, are gifted with this same call to love and serve unconditionally all those placed in front of us: the men, women and children in Belize, Botswana, India, Nepal, the United States and in Kenya.
After teaching English to high school students for 35 years, I heard about the influx of new Latino immigrants into the city and felt the call to reach out to them in the spirit of Vincent, Louise, and Catherine.
In the beginning, I decided to go to visit each family in their own home. What warm welcomes I received from the mothers of each family. They were so eager to learn and grateful that I would be coming to them each week. I had no background in Spanish, but that wasn’t a problem, pictures, creative hand signals worked and we laughed.
I soon discovered that for the most part, that my students would be the mothers of the families who were eager to learn English so they could help their children and manage the family expenses. Now all of the women are also working. Their children are all in school and a second salary is needed to prepare for the future.
My experience ministering to immigrants has taught me that:
Love is a “force” that “impels” action.
Love is a source of strength that makes the impossible possible.
Love is the only way that we can grow and help others grow.
God is love and all who abide in love, abide in God and God abides in them.
“Do what is before you.” St. Vincent de Paul