See posts of the volunteers on their own blogs
As 2016 is just starting, I was looking back at the past year and all that happened for Fidesco USA. It started with a weekend of discernment and preparation for candidates in January in Larchmont near New York. After additional training in the spring, all candidates joined the worldwide training in Paray Le Monial (France) organized in August by Fidesco. It is always a very rich experience to spend even a few days in the city of the Heart of Jesus. As one of the candidates writes, “during the training we learned so much about our missions and what we will be doing, but there was one thing that stood out to me the most. I was reminded that the main purpose of being a missionary is to serve the Lord and from there on He can provide what I may need.”
We have currently 5 volunteers on mission, including the 4 that just started this past summer. Reading the mission reports from Christine and Ali in Thailand, Katie and Luke in the Philippines, or Pauline in Brazil, I am struck by what they write about the needs of the very poor they are serving. It is not just about food, or medical care, or shelter (and they DO need all of this), but it also love, attention, and the joy of receiving all of this. In return, the volunteers receive lots of joy as well, despite the hard and sometimes apparently never ending work. And they deepen and enrich their prayer life in a unique way. As Saint Vincent de Paul said, the poor are our real masters and teachers, and all Fidesco volunteers are living this.
I hope Fidesco USA will continue to grow and offer the life-changing opportunity of the mission to more Americans this and the following years. After a new discernment weekend in the Fall, we have 5 new candidates who will continue their training in the spring and summer — and we are looking at a possible new discernment weekend in January. I will keep Fidesco USA, its Executive Director and all its volunteers in my prayer this year, and I hope you will do the same!
Brice Quesnel, Fidesco Board Member
This year the send-off session for volunteers in Paray-le-Monial was very intensive. The american volunteers were fully integrated in the group.
Katie and Luke are already at their mission, while Alexis and Pauline are preparing to leave soon.
Check out what Christine has been up to on this blog: http://landofthesmiles.blogspot.com
Alexis (Ali) will join Christine in Thailand as an English teacher. The mission is among the young prostitutes.
Context of the mission
Often young women who come really have the desire to succeed after spending several years in the sex industry. Most of the time, after 6 to 24 months in the center, they change their lives by finding a normal job in Thailand (or sometimes abroad when they find a foreign husband) or by returning to their families in the North.
The clear objective of the sisters is to use all these activities as a pretext to testify about the Christ’s love, while the most part of people is Buddhist. On the spiritual level, as always in Thailand, the Church is discrete and is not ‘propaganda’. Each morning there is however a prayer for all the staff (though there is a non-Christian majority).
Young prostitutes benefit from a pleasant place to share with other women in the same situation, professional courses (hairdressing, massage, computer science, foreign languages, etc.), various activities (psychological support and training on different topics (transmission of HIV, prostitution networks in the world, security, sexuality, drugs, birth control, unwanted pregnancies, etc.). The approach is truly evangelical and takes care of the integral development of the person (physical, psychological, professional, spiritual).
Pauline is now training to become a moderator of social projects and trainer in Redencao, Brasil. She will be participating in projects Sonho de mãe (mom’s dreams) and Bernadette (home of minor prostitutes), in partnership with the local diocese and Bishop Dominique You. She will be coordinating activities, training Brazilian volunteers, visiting homes and preparing communication to publicize these projects.
Katie and Luke are candidates in training for a departure to the Philippines after the August 6 to 12, 2015. Their mission will be at the Quezon City, Philippines. They will be working as a person responsible for purchases and as a nurse.
God is not calling us (I don’t know about you) to break away from the world, abandoning societal advancements. God is calling us to take a look at the world we live in, and how we live in the world. He is asking us to balance our lives — use technology to enhance our life, not overtake it. To examine our lives, and value what we have, and learn to live simply, controlling unreasonable material desire. God is not asking us to isolate ourselves, but to change the world by being genuine in our world. This may be as simple (and challenging) as leaving our phones by the door, shutting off the computers at 8:00 PM, choosing one day per week to use Facebook or personal email. It may mean wearing out the clothes in our closet a little bit more, resisting the urge to try StitchFix, and responsible sharing of things we don’t need. It may be adding the “free” date night (think creative rather than a restaurant or show) to keep our “couple” at the top of our priorities. It may be replacing a movie or TV show with prayer time. I think the ideas are easy, the practice challenging, and our attitude with which we embrace it all, paramount to all.
Can I do it with a smile on my face? Can I do it without needing 50 replies of reassurance from my husband? Can I approach this situation with renewed perspective? As our mission in the Philippines comes to an end, I feel as though I am finally finding the true mission beneath it all: to live simply, to love better, and to embrace the challenges in the world… with God to guide and Dave at my side.
Check out the most recent news from the volunteers at their blog:
Here is the yearly video of our missions around the world. Enjoy.