Each one of you has received a special grace; so, like good stewards responsible for all these different graces of God, put yourselves at the service of others.
1 Peter 4:10
Confreres will also show a spirit of cooperation with them (the Daughters of Charity) in those works which have been mutually undertaken.
The Daughters of Charity do not seek only spiritual help from the confreres. They also expect cooperation in the common work of the apostolate so that the poor may be better served. Such collaboration, which goes back to the beginning of the Congregation, is especially necessary in these times. Vatican II exhorts the laity and priests to support one another in common apostolic works. How much more should we, Vincentians and Daughters of Charity, collaborate with one another, since both congregations share the same evangelical spirit?
1. To Cooperate with the Daughters in Their Good Works
The urgent needs of our world do not allow us to spread our apostolic resources widely, but demand the collaboration of all who are called to evangelize the poor. Through this sharing, the miseries and the sufferings of society will be effectively remedied. Faithful to their own charisms, the Vincentians and the Daughters of Charity are committed to the salvation of all people in every way. Saint Vincent referred to such shared projects when he wrote:
Our Little Company has given itself to God to serve the poor in their spiritual and material need. From the beginning, the missionaries have worked for the salvation of the people, and have entrusted the care of the sick to the Ladies of Charity. This was approved by the Holy See in the Bulls of Approbation of our Institutes. Since the virtue of mercy works in different ways, so too, the Company has different ways to assist the poor. The Ladies of Charity are a testimony to the grace of our vocation, and we ought to cooperate with them in the good works which they carry on in the cities and in the countryside1.
2. They Do with Their Hands What We Are Not Able to Do with Ours
The obligation of the missionaries to assist the Daughters in their growth in virtue, so that ultimately they might more effectively serve the poor, derives from the fact that the Daughters compliment the charitable and preaching ministry of the missionaries. From this flows the need for collaboration:
We are obliged to cooperate with the Daughters of Charity, especially when we consider the fact that the Daughters have handed themselves over to Divine Providence so that God might empower them to do with their hands what we are not able to do with ours. This trust in God enables these women to aid the sick poor and to comfort them with words that will help them attain salvation2.
3. Like Us, the Daughters Are Dedicated to the Salvation and the Care of the Poor
Motivated by the nature of the apostolate of the Daughters of Charity, Saint Vincent stressed the idea of collaboration between the two Congregations:
Like us, the Daughters are dedicated to the salvation and the care of the poor. They are guided by the example of the Primitive Church in which the role of women was to distribute food to the faithful and to collaborate in the ministry of the apostles3.
- Am I ready, in my mind and in my work, to collaborate with the Daughters of Charity in their apostolic works?
- In my collaboration with the Daughters, do I give witness to my love and zeal for the salvation of all people?
- Am I interested in knowing the history of the Daughters of Charity and the works in which they are involved?
Lord, our God, every good gift comes from your Spirit. Make us effective in building up your Church and strengthen us to carry the Good News to every nation. We pray in your name, Lord Jesus, who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.