“Raelynne Lee was one of two St. John’s graduate students in the campus ministry to be selected in November, 2011 by the Vincentian Lay Missionaries (VLM)…. Lee said she received a spiritual boost during her trip to Kenya, which transformed her relationship with God. This is likely just the beginning for Lee, as she will continue to spread her talents on a global level.”
Take a look at Adventures of Astridowski, the blog of a VLMer in the Chepnyal 2012 mission!
Christine (Bentz) Jones’ blog is the featured article this week on the International Vincentian Family website! Congrats Christine!
The blog on this page is now integrated with two Facebook Groups: Vincentian Lay Missionaries, which is the “open” group for all VLMers and friends, and VLM 2011, which is the private group for this years’ missionaries. I encourage you to post entries and pictures if you’re a Facebooker. We’ll be looking for missionaries to to blog from the missions this year. If anyone wants to volunteer, contact Jess and we’ll set you up with a “post-by-email” address to make it a snap!
The night was filled with storytellers from the community and ended with a performance by Jay Stetzer from Young Audiences with stories from Africa. About 85 families came to the event in their pajamas. All the proceeds raised go to shipping gently used books that have been donated by families to Jimma, Ethiopia. Read More
A Shared Mission
In recent decades we have become more aware of the reality that those who share the charism of Saint Vincent de Paul are members of a spiritual family that is called the Vincentian Family. This family is a missionary family that is present in all parts of the world and includes every type of person (woman and men, young people and adults, consecrated women and men, laymen and laywomen, Catholics and non-Catholics). Read More…
She is the Christ
julio 16, 2008
by Alicia Robey, VLM and Aidan Rooney, CM
The other day, four of the missionaries went out for a walk on a characteristically beautiful afternoon in Jimma. Three young boys met them on the road and volunteered to be their guides. Together they trekked up a nearby hill, climbed rocks, and attempted to speak in each others’ languages, frolicked through the mud, and looked out in awe of the beautiful landscape. Ethiopia is breathtaking.
With mouths full of laughter, hearts full of joy, and clothes full of mud they began the journey back home. Suddenly, gasps and screams arose from the road ahead. A few yards away, a man was mercilessly beating a young woman. He wrestled free of his grasp and began running towards the VLM group, whose laughter and joy disappeared – replaced with fear and shock. The young woman briefly ducked behind one of the missionaries, but the man was relentless in his assault. He continued to pound her with his fists, and then, as she cowered on the ground, he delivered hard kicks and then bolted down the street.
The final kicks knocked her unconscious, and as her limp body collapsed to the ground her body lay straight, her face to the sky, her arms outstretched.
A crowd had gathered. Some were tearful and clung to each other. Many rushed to the woman’s side to aid her. Others began frantically talking and sending people in different directions — perhaps to fetch water or summon help. A few of the women carried her to the roadside and laid her in the soft grass. And everyone waited.
The missionaries returned home in silence, shaking and tearful, and recounted the event. Our hosts assured us that the man must have been “mad,” but still, we couldn’t shake the images from our minds. We prayed that night for the woman and fro women everywhere. Soon after, Jenna – one of the missionaries — led us in reflection on meeting the Crucified One. Never was “seeing Christ in the poor” so real for any of us. But there She was.
It’s hard not to notice the subservient place of women in Ethiopian society. Although the Church here has specific goals for “women’s promotion,” it all occurs within the framework of a society and a Church that still values boys over girls, men over women, adults over children, sleek over halt. Mass consists of men and boys having access to the “holy of holies,” and women and girls relegated at best to the choir and the pews. Men can leave their wives with relative impunity, keep one girl-child as a servant and start a new family. She is only twelve, and she is nailed to a cross of near chattel slavery. Education helps, but often She is denied that. Our respective societies seem different on the surface, but we share the same ugliness of the continuing devaluation and abuse of women. She is crucified in our country, too. Physical abuse is not foreign to our “developed” shores. She is crucified when we call Her “human” and we treat Her as a toy. She is crucified when we claim she hs achieved “equality” and pay Her less. She is crucified when we recognize Her “dignity” and ban Her from the altar. The nails are many, driven deeply.
She is the Christ: beaten, abused, exploited, forgotten, belittled, undervalued. We are her brothers and sisters. God, forgive us. We continue to live in the world we have fashioned and re-fashioned, in systems we have chosen and continue to choose. God, forgive us. Until the day of Her rising, give us the strength of active compassion. Give us the courage to remove what nails we can, and to wrest the hammer from the hand that wields it. It is too little to simply bear witness. Miserere nobis, miserere nobis.
vlm-usa.org:Vincentian Lay Missionaries (VLM) is a collaborative effort of the Daughters of Charity USA, lay women and men throughout the United States, and members of the Vincentian Family in Ethiopia and Kenya, to involve young adults in the mission of serving the poor.
The VLM program offers an opportunity for young adults, ages 21-35, to travel to Ethiopia and Kenya to serve in the Vincentian tradition. The experience will require participants who can adapt to simple living, a flexible mindset, reflective lifestyle, community spirit and service commitment.
Founded in 2005, and led from its infancy by Daughter of Charity Mary Beth Kubera, VLM drew its model from our Irish lay missionary brothers and sisters, and added some new perspectives peculiarly our own. That’s who we are: Vincentian missionaries with a dash of American ingenuity: vlm-usa.org.