Merry Christmas As we prepare for the birth of our Lord, the Ladies of Charity at St. John’s University wish you the gift of HOPEfor Christmas. We have been blessed by the guidance of our Spiritual Advisor, Fr. Patrick J. Griffin, C.M., who led us in a virtual Advent Retreat to discover the meaning of HOPE in these challenging times. As he taught us, “hope gives strength to the present … it summons us to use our resources well …it is a commitment to life. Hope orients us to the future.” HOPE is a special gift from God.
2020 challenged us in so many ways — our lives revolved around remote learning, zoom meetings, social distancing and hand sanitizer. We mourned the loss of loved ones and prayed for the speedy recovery of others. We learned how to pivot (the buzz word of 2020) and engaged in outreach projects that redefined service. The Ladies of Charity at St. John’s University wish you and your loved ones, a Merry Christmas and New Year filled with Peace, HOPE and Love.
Our Service Projects
Since 2009 we have cheerfully celebrated the spirit of giving with the School Sisters of Notre Dame Educational Center (Woodhaven, Queens) at an annual Christmas Party. This year we were not able to host our traditional Christmas breakfast but we were able to continue our tradition of offering gifts to each of their students. Practicing social distancing we put gift bags together for 50 women and took a moment to reflect on the spirit of Christmas.
Working together atOur Lady of Fatima Food Pantry
The Junior Ladies of Charity at St. John’s Prep in Astoria, Queens, learned how to make lap blankets by hand through a zoom tutorial lead by Anna Rocchio. These blankets will be distributed to residents at Ozanam Home in Queens. Since October the Ladies of Charity have lovingly knit more than 50 blankets for our brothers and sisters.
In 2019 we honored Patricia Shea, the Founder and Executive Director of Mommas House with the Spes Unica award at our Evening of Hope event. Mommas House began in 1986 with a home in Malverne, NY offering support to young mothers (ages 18-24) and their babies. Mommas House provides physical shelter and a stable environment to young mothers who are nurtured and taught to provide child care and parenting skills while encouraged to obtain schooling and job training. The Ladies of Charity at St. John’s University celebrate Life and the joy of Christmas with Mommas House. This year we cheerfully and safely collected gifts for fornew Moms and their babies.
Prayer & Spirituality
We pray for grace in performing all actions to help our neighbors with charity, humility, and simplicity. Our prayers focus on love and unity, so needed in our world and our country today. Visit our website to download a copy of The Ladies of Charity Prayer Join us, every Monday at 5 pm via Zoom. We continue to pray for our loved ones, neighbors, our country and our world. For more information on how to participate, email Pat Mulé
The Ladies of Charity at St. John’s University is honored and pleased to announce that Rev. Patrick J. Griffin, C.M. has accepted our request to be our Spiritual Advisor. In this capacity, he will join us at key membership meetings, at our Spiritual Day of Reflection and Installation Liturgy. He will help us uncover the process of spirituality that enables each individual to become more active with God. Fr. Griffin will guide us to better understand scripture and how we, as Catholic women may seek every opportunity to make Christ present by serving the material and spiritual needs of the sick, the poor and the marginalized of our society.
Fr. Griffin is a Brooklyn native and was ordained a Vincentian priest in 1979. After ordination, he completed a doctorate in Biblical Studies and has taught at various universities and seminaries. From 1993-1999, he worked in Rome as the Econome General of the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentians). From 2010-2014, Fr. Griffin ministered in Paris as the Director General of the Daughters of Charity. In March 2014, Fr. Griffin returned to St. John’s University where he assumed his current position as the Executive Director for the Vincentian Center for Church and Society.
Anna Rocchio, President Patricia Nolan, President-Elect & Strategic Planning Pat Mulé, Past President & Treasurer Natalie Boone, Past President & Northeast Regional Director, LCUSA Marge Cashin, Past President & Programming & Special Projects Mary Ann Dantuono, President of Caregiving, Inc., Past President of LCUSA, Past AIC International Board Member Adriana Dino, Secretary Mary Ellen Freeley, Past President & Special Projects Ronnie Loehle, Co-Chair, Junior Ladies of Charity Maugie Mannion, Spirituality Mary O’Donoghue, Membership & By-Laws, Co-Chair, Junior Ladies of Charity Kitty Prager, Co-Chair, Junior Ladies of Charity Victoria Shoaf, Treasurer, LCUSA
Rev. Patrick J. Griffin, C.M, Spiritual Advisor Diane Memmoli, Spiritual Moderator
2019 Patricia Shea is the Founder and Executive Director of Mommas House that began in 1986 with a home in Malverne, NY offering support to young mothers (ages 18-24) and their babies. Providing physical shelter and a stable environment, young mothers are nurtured and taught to provide child care and parenting skills while encouraged to obtain schooling and job training.
2018 Sr. Tesa Fitzgerald, C.S.J. is the executive Director of Hour Children. She began its founding in 1989 at the convent where she lived when she became a volunteer foster parent to eight children of incarcerated mothers. In 1996, Hour Children became a 501 (c)(3) organization to offer supportive services to other children of incarcerated mothers and the mothers themselves.
2017 Susan Gordon Ryan A graduate of St. John’s University and a special education teacher, Susan used her personal and professional experiences to found the unique and innovative “Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged.” She was the first woman to serve as the director of the New York State Long Island Park System. Her work in the not-for-profit sector included government relations, special events and fundraising for UCP of Suffolk and major gifts fundraising at Abilities, Inc., Albertson, NY.
2016 Sr. Margaret John Kelly, D.C., Ph.D. An expert on governance, ethics and Vincentian history, mission and charism, she pioneered the establishment of mission services for health institutions and in higher education. A member of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Sr. Margaret John was the founder and Executive Director of the Vincentian Center for Church and Society at St. John’s University. She served as the spiritual moderator of the Association of the Ladies of Charity at St. John’s from its inception in 2009 until her retirement in 2015.
2015 Rosanne Haggerty Realizing that the solution to end homelessness humanely and economically lay in using communities, Roseann’s efforts focused on strengthening networks of local organizations to solve problems together. In 2011 she founded Community Solutions, a national organization that leads local innovation through collaboration.
2014 Mary Mulvihill, Ed.D. – A devoted educator at St. John’s and Fordham Universities and a dynamic leader in fundraising and program development, Mary has served as the executive director of Grace Institute and Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center. She has led the way in the effort to help struggling people help themselves.
LET US PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER- The special time that has been chosen to pray for all Ladies of Charity and their works is 9:00 o’clock on every Monday morning. All our National Officers certainly appreciate your prayer.
Vincent DePaul organized The Ladies of Charity in 1617 in the parish of Chatillon-les Dombes outside of Paris. One Sunday, a parishioner informed him that a family in his parish were all seriously ill and were without help. He pleaded their case in his sermon and the people responded with great generosity but without a plan beyond the moment. Vincent realized then that the poor suffer more from a lack of organization than a lack of charity from others. In a few days he had set up a structure and rule for this parish work and had enlisted a cohort of lay persons to provide this service on an ongoing basis.
The Ladies of Charity at St. John’s University Annual Evening of Hope honors an individual who sustains a commitment to providing opportunities for women and children in need.
The Spes Unica Award was established in 2014 to recognize a person who exemplifies the spirit of St. Louise de Marillac by radically improving the lives of others through service. St. Louise de Marillac was the spiritual moderator of St. Vincent dePaul’s lay women’s society, the Ladies of Charity. In 1633 she co-founded the religious order the Daughters of Charity with St. Vincent to address more completely the grinding poverty of 17th-century France. The newly formed Daughters of Charity set up soup kitchens, organized community hospitals, established schools and homes for orphaned children, offered job training, taught the young to read and write, and improved prison conditions. St. Louise died in 1660 and inscribed on the cross at her grave is the Latin phrase ”spes unica,” which means “one hope” or “only hope.” These words reflect St. Louise’s belief that service to humanity through systematic planning, sustainable programming and extensive collaboration is the “one hope” to effectively alleviate the burdens of people living in poverty. Four centuries later, that vision is reflected today.
GLOBE – Global Loan Opportunities for Budding Entrepreneurs is a student-managed microloan program in the Peter J. Tobin College of Business and is led by Lady of Charity, Dr. Linda Sama. The mission of GLOBE is to help those living in poverty help themselves by boosting the earning capacity of local entrepreneurs which serves the needs of their local communities. With assistance from their Vincentian partners on the ground, the Daughters of Charity, GLOBE’s loans have helped the lives of families in six countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Vietnam and most recently the Philippines. The Ladies offer support by donating funds to be used as loans, helping with fundraising efforts, and holding three seats on the steering committee. Many of these loans went to struggling farmers in Libon, Albay, Philippines with repayment terms that allowed them to enjoy yields from their labor before having to pay back the loan Another set of loans helped a number of women in a small village near Concepcion, Iloilo , Philippines– a former fishing village where Super Typhoon Yolanda destroyed the community’s ability to sustain its livelihood through fishing (bottom left). These women opened up sari sari (convenience) stores as part of a cooperative that have allowed the entire community to rebuild. Income from their businesses was used to not only pay back loans and send their children to school, but was further distributed to others in the community to start their own businesses. The women held borrower meetings (bottom right) with the newly initiated to help all pay back the loans. This trickledown effect resulted in GLOBE having reached fivefold the number of women originally given a loan! These stories are repeated in communities throughout the GLOBE sphere of operations.
Based at a University, we recognize that education is the key to ending poverty. We promote projects that support education to underserved populations. In 2009 we began a partnership with the School Sisters of Notre Dame Educational Center in Woodhaven, Queens. This center provides comprehensive educational programs for women over age 18 to learn English as a second language and to prepare them for the High School Equivalency Exam. Our Ladies offer educational testing and evaluation and provide enrichment lectures for the faculty, board members and students.
In 1857, Catherine Harkins, new to St. Louis, decided to start a group there to address the needs of the many poor persons. The number of associations grew throughout the US and they decided to form a national organization to offer consistent formation to all associations and to strengthen the bonds of Charity. The Ladies of Charity, USA was formed in 1960 to unite all the associations in the US with headquarters in St. Louis, MO. In September of 2010, LCUSA celebrated their 50th anniversary. Today there are approximately 6,000 Ladies of Charity in 70 Associations in twenty-one states and the District of Columbia. As the first university organization, St. John’s Ladies of Charities was established in 2009 and accepted 34 members drawn from the administration, faculty, graduate students and staff.