The Pontifical Counsel Cor Unum invited those in charge of charity movements in Europe to participate in 5 days of spiritual exercises in Czestochova.
Laurence de la Brosse, International President, Christa Foelting, Coordinator for Europe, and Irena Mitura, the new president of AIC Poland, joined this assembly, presided by Cardinal Sarah.
Cardinals, bishops, priests and lay people let themselves be guided together by Mother Marie Theresa Brenninkmeijer, Cistercian Abbess, to renew their connection with Jesus Christ.
Then followed a visit to AIC Poland, (the second country in which Saint Vincent established charities). A national visit was organized for the 2Oth anniversary of the official recognition of AIC Poland, and despite the snow, many delegates came from different groups across the country.
The day after, a working group took place with the new National Board.
Thank you to all those who collaborate with AIC Poland and particularly to the Daughters of Charity and the Fathers of the Mission.
News from Syria
Sister Françoise Petit, Daughter of Charity, member of the International Council and Spiritual Advisor for AIC, recently had the chance to visit the Daughters of Charity in Lebanon. Here is her account of her trip:
“Our trip to Lebanon and the Holy Land went well. We were able to make contact with almost all our Sisters in Syria. They meet regularly with the AIC members. Like the rest of the population, they are affected by the events and financially nothing is simple. The Sisters tell us that in terms of food the volunteers can get hold of almost of everything for the moment, but everything has become very expensive. Fear is present in daily life and they try to find the means to continue living. The basement of a school has been furnished for meetings…there is a corner for prayer. It was moving to listen to them”.
News from Ukraine
After the annexation of the Crimea region, the people of Ukraine are living in fear and uncertainty. Anka Skoryk, President of AIC-Ukraine, is keeping us updated about the distressing situation that the country is facing.
Anka is very touched by the signs of sympathy that she has received from many AIC volunteers. Thirty kilometers from Kharkiv, where there are many AIC groups, the Ukrainian army is mobilized. The unstable situation has caused inflation and prices will not stop increasing. Despite everything, AIC continues its afterschool program, seeking to protect the “children’s world”. AIC must also deal with the reality of refugees, especially in a group in-the-making in the west of the country.
A brand new AIC group in central France
On 27th February, the official inauguration of the AIC new group in Clermont Ferrand, France, was celebrated: the goal of their activities is to build social links and to give confidence and self-esteem to women living in deprived neighborhoods.
How was this team created? Geneviève, a member of the local group in Strasbourg, moved to Clermont Ferrand. In a few months, thanks to her professional approach, Geneviève recruited 15 team members, contacted the social services to find out the needs of the people in the neighborhood. The activities being undertaken include providing hair, make-up and cooking workshops and gym activities for women living in poverty. In this town, social housing is found alongside residences for students and the elderly.
The inauguration took place in front of Mgr Simon, Bishop of Clermont Ferrand and representatives from the General Council, social services, the neighboring group in Saint Flour, several local charities and the local press.
We send all our congratulations and best wishes to the Clermont Ferrand group!
The great poverty in Europe
The associations of AIC UK, Madeira, Italy, Slovakia and Ukraine answered the 3 questions on poverty raised by the Division of the Social Chart of the Council of Europe.
1° Do you notice an increase in poverty in your country? All the countries notice an increase in poverty in their countries. This is the result of different factors such as political instability, salaries reduction, unemployment, increased taxes and worldwide crisis.
2°Which groups of the population are the most affected? The youth, the unemployed, the elderly, the single-parent families (lack of information on this part of the population).
3° What do you mean by “great poverty”
- To be hungry and having no means to change the situation, to lose one’s housing and suffer from the winter and the great cold.
- To be deprived of a job and consequently of food, education, housing and health care.
- Not to be able to meet one’s primary needs nor reach an acceptable standard of living because of a lack of social relationships, economic resources and physical capacities.
The International President visits AIC-Switzerland
A short but very well organised visit allowed AIC-Switzerland and AIC International to get to know each other better and to realise that "to be Vincentian" is to be part of a large global network.
AIC-Switzerland has 110 volunteers split into 8 groups, 1 in Geneva and 7 in Tessin. The AIC-Switzerland volunteers work in close collaboration with the social services who put them in contact with migrants in need of aid before they can be helped by the State.
During the visit there was an Assembly and a new National Council was elected. It was an opportunity to thank the former members and to welcome the new ones.
2012 Meeting of the AIC European Presidents
Eight AIC European national Presidents gathered together in Cologne on September 3-5, 2012: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Slovaquia, UK, Ukraine. We werre sorry that AIC-Liban and AIC-Poland were unable to attend the meeting.
The presidents greatly appreciated this moment of exchange and friendship, this laboratory of ideas and the "refreshing" spirtual times. AIC is really enchanting!
The exchanges were about: the role of the AIC national president, communication of a national association, fundraising, mentoring, recruiting, Operatinal Guidelines 2011-2013 applicationand education.
There was also a contribution about AIC representation with the Council of Europe.
The next meeting is planned in two years.
The presidents will find the minutes and the speeches in the "members area" of this Website.
Conference of the European Associations : Speech of the AIC Representative
Maritchu Rall, AIC Representative within the Council of Europe made a contribution as Rapporteur of the Round Table organized in the framework of the 20th anniversary of the Conference of the European Associations.
For more information:
Download her report (in French)"
AIC-Ukraine: 15° anniversary of Kharkiv group
AIC-Ukraine celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Kharkiv group : from September 3 to 5, L de la Brosse, C Foelting EB, M. Burt, EB, C. Crump AIC UK president, and a volunteer from AIC UK attended the celebration and visited the projects of the local group. For more information,
AIC Deutschland The CKD conference
The CKD conference – Caritas Konferenzen Deutschland (Caritas conferences Germany) - took place at the Munich and Freising archdiocese, in Southern Germany, from 5 to 7 November 2009. About 85 participants were attending – the board committee, the members, some representatives of the hospitable help, as well as some partners from the CKD federal bureau. The congresswomen were pleased to welcome the AIC International President, Laurence de la Brosse, as guest of honour.
The topic was: to become aware of the various steps of one’s life, to allow the participants to consider their own curriculum and the support of those who need our help during these periods of transition or crisis. During the assembly, the AIC International President, Laurence de la Brosse, reminded the common history of AIC and CKD, the parallel between the two associations and the interest shown for a mutual help and support.
This meeting has been enhanced by the friendly contacts between the participants and the spirituality of the prayers. The mass, celebrated by the Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Dr. Reinhard Marx, was an important moment of the conference.
Benefiting from a nursery in order to follow training
France started its presidency of the European Union by declaring that the fight against the suffering of discrimination against women would be a priority. The project “Paloma” in Alicante, Spain, has the same motivation. Since 1989, nearly 200 women a year, mainly migrants, come to the “Palomar” (the Dovecote), a training centre managed by AIC volunteers and a social worker. The women who go to the centre wish to remove themselves from a difficult social situation. Very often, because of a lack of sufficient training, without a profession and facing alone the responsibility of the family, they have limited financial means. At the ‘Dovecote’, they follow courses, are supported and guided in the search for employment and especially benefit from a nursery annexed to the centre. Looking after their children is therefore no longer an obstacle to their training.
Today, the volunteers report that this project also benefits many women who suffer from ill treatment. This is an occasion to remember that November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. AIC wishes that this topic is never forgotten in the projects intended for women and young girls and that initiatives are taken for those victims who have need of security and help in their rehabilitation. One day to think and 364 days to act.