Date of publication: 07/12/2018

International Meeting of the Famvin Homeless Alliance

Council General International

The International Meeting of the FAMVIN Alliance with the Homeless was held in Rome from 26th to 28th November 2018 in the House Mary Immaculate of the Daughters of Charity. This institution was set up last year to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of our Vincentian Charisma and was presented to Pope Francis in the Vatican City.

The Conference focused on three aspects:

1.- About those without a home who are refugees, displaced people and those who are homeless because they had to flee war or a natural disaster.

2.- People living in slums and those living in the city in extremely inadequate dwellings.

3.- Homeless people living in the street and also those who, due to different circumstances, sleep in the streets or in shelters.

This meeting has gathered more than 100 people and included experts who have shared their experiences explaining how we can improve our service to the poor.

The head of the FHA, Mark McGreevy presented the event and among other attendees, we could see Father Robert Maloney CM, Spiritual Advisor of the SSVP’s IGC, Father Aáron Gutiérrez CM, general assistant of the General Superior of the CM, Sister Kathleen Appler DC, Mother Superior of the Daughters of Charity, Fr. Joseph Agostino, International Coordinator of the Famvin Office in Rome,  and members of different branches of the Famvin. There was also a large representation of national Presidents of the SSVP: from Australia, Brazil, Spain, United States, Lebanon, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Guatemala, India, etc.

The goal is that from this project the Vincentian Family would also have a common denominator to join in activities of this kind.

They have discussed about issues such as slavery and homelessness, of how to raise funds for building homes, how we can improve the health services for the homeless and what position has the lack of housing on the agenda of the UN and of the Church. They addressed how we can better listen to the voice of the poor and replicate it in various forums. Furthermore, they submitted real cases of cooperation of the Vincentian Family in some countries, especially in Latin America, where the SSVP is present in almost all projects of this type.

This project has its roots in the Encyclical “Laudato Si” by Pope Francis, which Monsignor Bruno María Duffe, Secretary of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, has explained in a very moving way.

The underlying idea is that with the cooperation of the whole Vincentian Family, we work to make a real and sustainable difference in the lives of many homeless people; that we promote the growth of new services, build a network among the vincentian groups, and support and develop leaders who carry out these actions. The idea is also to share the best practices that we have in the Vincentian Family.

All of this from the point of view of the Vincentian spirituality and based on the Encyclical “Laudato Si”.

The project has been named “13 Houses” because it is inspired by the first thirteen houses built by Saint Vincent de Paul. The FHA invites us to promote this concern in our national or local coordinators of the FAMVIN as an opportunity to start a first joint project for the homeless.

The date coincided with the anniversary of our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, and therefore a solemn Eucharist was celebrated in the Apostolic Leonian College of the CM, said by H. Em. Cardinal Angelo de Giorgio, Vicar General of His Holiness.