The annual meeting between DREAM and the General Council of the Daughters of Charity took place a few days ago in Paris.
This year includes a historic date: it is in fact ten years since the Company of the Daughters of Charity has engaged in a partnership with the Community of Sant'Egidio, a communion in the sign of the covenant for the poorest and among them the many AIDS patients in Africa. A partnership made possible thanks to the long friendship of Father Robert Maloney, former Superior General of the Vincentians, with the Community of Sant'Egidio.
Indeed DREAM has been chosen by the Daughters of Charity as a model of care to be replicated in the African countries where they live and work. The Vincentians were among the first religious congregations to believe in the possibility of combining their efforts to fight AIDS in Africa. In six sub-Saharan African countries (Mozambique, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Kenya, Tanzania) the health centers managed by the Congregation correspond to places of healing and hope, which work for the resurrection of Africa and its sick people.
An effective and syntonic friendship that comes from the awareness of the need of alliances in Africa, alliances in the name of the poor to bring peace and hope in a continent where the poor, and among these AIDS patients, pay the hard price of the culture of waste and the globalization of indifference. The collaboration between the Vincentians and Sant'Egidio, starting from the sick, is an important paradigm. A way of being a community together, starting from the poor. A way to put together our own hands, skills, spirituality, humanity, without confusion, without separation. In this sense, a paradigm that is realized from the poor, communicating the gift of life.
The two-day meeting in Paris was the occasion to address the issue of the organization of the health centers and the laboratories, but also to reflect and plan the new challenges for the future care of the sick in Africa.
At the same time the meeting was the occasion of an overall balance of the ten years of working together. The Superior General of the Daughters of Charity, Sister Evelyn Franc, thanked the Community of Sant'Egidio for the generous cooperation with the sisters over the years, in different countries. She emphasized how this shared service to the sick has brought hope and joy to many of the sisters involved, strengthening their vocation and the charisma of the Congregation.
Sister Evelyn Franc also highlighted the harmony of thought between the Community of Sant'Egidio and the founder of the Congregation of Vincent de Paul, who used to say to the Daughters of Charity: "Ten times a day you are going to see the poor and ten times you will meet God." This is the charisma of our two communities that brought us closer together, to live with joy an alliance with the poor.
Sister Jacqueline and sister Catherine, in charge of the DREAM team on behalf of the Congregation, expressed their amazement after their recent visit to Mozambique, due to the great value of the DREAM centers in the country. They also emphasized the excellent collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Mozambique that adopted the program as a model to be replicated in the different provinces and they then told how the sisters involved in the country live this alliance with great pride.
The Paris meeting represented a great opportunity of sharing between the two families, the Vincentian and that of Sant'Egidio, united by a common passion for the poor and for Africa and a vision not resigned to the problems of today, but opened with confidence towards the future.