The Diocese of Scranton chapter of the Ladies of Charity will host their annual Day of Enrollment on April 20, 2013, and are looking for women who are currently volunteering in their own way to come together for some fellowship and prayer.
The Ladies of Charity is a national organization, founded in France in 1617 by Saint Vincent DePaul from a group of wealthy parish women. The Ladies of Charity originally collected funds for missionary projects, founded hospitals, and gathered relief funds for the victims of war quietly and without recognition. Today, that work continues through the “personal gift of self, of time, devotion, sacrifices, and perseverance in the effort to bring dignity to each person and to respond with compassion to every human misery.”
The local chapter for the Scranton Diocese was founded in 1953 and is now celebrating their 60th anniversary. They currently have a membership of approximately 200 women from all different churches within the diocese and are looking for women who are actively volunteering their time in the area, whether it be in soup kitchens, for Big Brothers-Big Sisters or a simple act of babysitting. The only requirement to join is that you are a Catholic woman doing one hour of service per month.
“We are very quiet,” relates Christine Palmiter, president of the Scranton Ladies of Charity. “We are women of all churches who are already volunteering. It doesn’t matter what type of volunteer work you do.”
While quiet volunteerism is something that has been a characteristic of the organization for four centuries, Christine says that the group is looking for a bit more exposure so people are aware of the organization and what they do –not for recognition, but for new members. Many church organizations have disappeared as older members retired without new members to fill the ranks. Christine hopes to prevent that from happening to the Ladies of Charity, which currently has active members ranging in age from 40 to 100.
“We are always looking for members of all ages to join and keep the organization alive,” says Christine. “We try to get as many as members as we can, especially those new to volunteering.”
That is what the Day of Enrollment is all about –to bring new women into the organization whose motto is “To serve rather than be served”. It is one of the three times a year the women get together as a group. Once someone is a member, they remain a member even after they can no longer actively volunteer. Many women who find they can no longer carry on works of active volunteerism join the group’s Circle of Prayer, where they pray for those who need a bit of divine intervention. Anyone who is going through a difficult time can request prayer and through the Circle, they have women praying for them on a daily basis. In this way, women can be part of something very special even if they are incapable of doing physical acts of charity.
The group also gets together twice in the fall -once to host a Bingo and card party to fundraise for their scholarship fund and once for a retreat. The scholarship fund helps a social worker for Catholic Social Services with tuition for a Master’s degree in Social Work. Anything leftover goes to Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the Saint Vincent DePaul Soup Kitchen. Their November retreat involves a day to get together and reflect and includes a guest speaker from within the diocese on any inspirational topic, followed by a special mass by the group’s Spiritual Moderator, Monsignor Joseph Kelly and a luncheon. The annual Day of Enrollment will be held at St. Robert Bellarmine (formerly Saint Al’s) on Division Street in Wilkes-Barre.
If you are interested in becoming a member of The Ladies of Charity, please call the group’s president, Christine Palmiter at 868-3959 for more information.