De Paul House celebrated the Feast Day of our patron saint, St Vincent de Paul on 27th September with our annual Awareness event. At such anniversaries we always reflect on the practical approach to caring offered by St Vincent de Paul and St Louise de Marillac (the patron saint of social workers)
The relevance of their work and philosophy is daily evidenced by our team at De Paul House. In the last 3 months, De Paul House has rehoused 144 individuals or 37 families. In the last month 50% of the families living with us included a working adult. While numbers can never capture the story behind these families and the despair of their situation, it does speak to the overwhelming need for increased affordable and social housing.
It is the 400th anniversary of the Vincentian charism.
On January 25, 1617, the young priest, Vincent de Paul, preached his first mission sermon in the small chapel of Folleville in France. This small church still stands today. It was a small village then yet hundreds came to confession that day so much so that they had to invite the Jesuits in a nearby town of Amiens – now a big city – in order to help him. The event came to be known as the “stampede to the confessional.” That was the beginning of the work of Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian Priests and Brothers) “to go to the peripheries,” to borrow the now famous word of Pope Francis. While most priests then preferred to live in the cities, Vincent wanted his priests to go to the rural areas where the poor are to bring them the Good News of Jesus. Long before, Vincent already realized that the church should be a Church of the poor, with the poor and among the poor. And its ministers, if their lives are to be meaningful, are people whose hearts find their home among the margins.
Later in the same year, on 21 August 2017, another crucial event happened. Vincent was a pastor of a small parish in Chatillon-les-Dombes. On Sunday morning before the Mass, a parishioner came to inform him that a whole family was sick some kilometres from the church. Vincent set aside his prepared homily and preached about the need to help them. After the Mass, many parishioners came to the rescue of the sick family. The event was dubbed as the “stampede to the house of the poor.” Vincent realized that “charity” to be sustainable should be organized and systemic.
These are the two founding events of the Vincentian family to which we all belong. We hope to organize activities in order to commemorate not only these past events but more importantly how the Vincentian charism plays itself out in our times according to the original spirit of Vincent de Paul.
400 years of our Vincentian Charism
During 2017 we will celebrate throughout the entire Vincentian Family around the world the 400th anniversary of the birth of our Vincentian charism.
But what do we mean by the word charism?
and What do we mean by the Vincentian Family?
A charism is a gift of the Holy Spirit, given to an individual,through which a particular aspect of Jesus is personally experienced and lived, then it is transmitted to others to be lived by them, preserved,deepened
and constantly developed in them, in harmony with the Body of Christ continually in a process of growth.”
A charism is a mystery – a dynamic creative, penetrating mystery. It endures in its essence and its spirit, but its expressions and its structures can and should change. It is contagious in those who share in the initial inspiration and passion.It unfolds as time goes by, sometimes confidently, sometimes hesitantly, without losing any of its original inspiration.
Its permanence is only possible through the dynamic fidelity of those who receive it, It doesn’t live on automatically by hanging on to past devotions or activities,nor by people merely living and working together.
It survives and thrives when other people catch the same vision and burn with the same fire……..people just like you at De Paul House a whole world away from 17th Century France!!!
From Sr Jo Ann who was so very much involved with De Paul House in her role as Administrator on behalf of the Daughters of Charity. 13th April 2017
The diggers have arrived and the work has started! We can now start to make the physical changes to our premises that will allow us to improve and expand the services we are able to offer to our families.
Bishop Patrick Dunn blessed the site for redevelopment following a Mass to celebrate the feast of St Vincent de Paul. The ceremony was led by Maori Elders Rangi Davis and Whaea Kataraina; and our families, staff, supporters and members of the local community all joined us for what was a fitting start to our future plans.
The new Childcare Centre and Learning Centre are part of phase one of the redevelopment, followed by increased self-contained accommodation for families in need. We’re incredibly proud of the high standards of our accommodation, and we plan on making all units self-contained through this redevelopment as well as increasing the total number of units to 11.
We provide an excellent standard of care for our children in our current playgroup and are very excited that they will have ground level indoor/outdoor flow in a modern building built to Ministry of Education standards. Our new Learning Centre will allow us to offer modern and relevant educational courses for adults and programmes for children afterschool and during the holidays.
We have raised the majority of the money for the project but invite you to play a valuable part in this exciting venture by financially supporting us. Currently we can only accommodate 1 in 13 families who apply to us for housing support and with your help we aim to increase this number over time.
Marlar @ De Paul House
De Paul House is very proud of our wonderful volunteer Marlar Thu, who was one of 10 volunteers chosen to represent “The Changing Face of Volunteering”. Please read her story below.
Shoes donated to De Paul House, either too small, or slightly worn, most likely pass through the loving hands of Marlar. She sorts, laces, and cleans them–ensuring children have warm feet for the coming winter. Marlar, as a volunteer, cares about helping families get back on their feet.
Today, as Marlar’s nimble fingers buckle the strap of a black dress shoe, size 3, she tells us about her life in Burma. Years ago, carrying only one bag and her small children, she fled to the jungle. The government hunted and oppressed people like Marlar who supported the move for democracy. Living, and hiding, in the jungle affected her children a lot. After life in a Thai refugee camp, arriving in New Zealand was new and different but not always easy. For several months the sound of an Auckland helicopter overhead evoked fear for the children.
De Paul House provides hope, and help to families crippled by hardship from a lack of resources. Lesley, volunteer manager, says the common denominator here is debt from low wages and high rents. She says De Paul House offers “wrap around services,” teaching courses in financial literacy, computers, CV writing, parenting skills and even exercise. The place is a temporary sanctuary providing a pathway out of desperation.
Soon after settling here, Marlar wanted to show the people of New Zealand her appreciation. “I want to help but I can’t speak English. How can I do?” she asked her support family. The De Paul House volunteer programme was the answer. One year later, Marlar is busy raising five children and working a paid job. But every Monday morning, she joins with the volunteer team and is devoted to sorting shoes, folding clothes, and helping those who are now living a life of homelessness, as she once lived.