15 March 2017

An ever-fruitful service

400 years after its foundation, the International Association of Charities (AIC) will be celebrating an important anniversary throughout 2017. This will be a time of thanksgiving to God for the abundant fruits that the charism of St. Vincent de Paul has produced in the whole Church.

Today the Bulletin of the Press Office of the Holy See published the message that the Pope Francis addressed on February 22nd to the members of the Association for the occasion, a text in which he highlights the care of the poor that the tender and compassionate heart of Vincent de Paul entrusted to the laity and especially to women.

The AIC dates back to 1617, when St. Vincent assembled a group of ladies in Châtillon-lès-Dombes (France) and began organizing the first initiatives of assistance to needy families in the parish. This experience led to the formation of different groups that rapidly spread throughout Europe and beyond its borders.

In his message, the Pope recalled, in particular, the figure of Saint Louise de Marillac, to whom St. Vincent had entrusted the animation and coordination of the different charity groups born at that time. In her, all the entire AIC can find “the subtlety and delicacy of mercy that never hurts and does not humiliate anyone, but soothes and restores courage and hope.”