[Province of Cologne – Netherlands] Night has fallen; behind the lighted windows of a section of the rectory parish house, one imagines a large cross. It is the little chapel where two Daughters of Charity (the third is sick) hand over the day – with all the people they have encountered, with all they have heard – into the good hands of God and ask the intercession of Blessed Mother for all the intentions they carry in their hearts. These Daughters of Charity, Sr. Bernhardine and Sr. Christine, from the Province of Cologne-Netherlands, have been committed for many years to the marginalized and the homeless in their pastoral unit situated near the Rhine which flows through the city of Düsseldorf (Germany). There are homeless persons, those who are aged, refugees, sick and children.
Each Tuesday, in a well-organized way, a good hundred persons line up to receive basic food and clothing. All is financed through donations and the Sisters are aided by several committed volunteers. Attention to those who are truly poor, often hidden away, is dear to them.
But there are also sick and elderly persons who await the visits of the Sisters. By bicycle for those who are near or driving to others, they offer whatever help is needed, prayer and Holy Communion.
Sr Berhardine and Sr Christine also take part in their pastoral unit: organizing meetings or outings for elderly persons, preparing children for First Communion (including their parents), working with adolescents preparing for Confirmation, participating in the Parish Council and collaborating in the preparation of good liturgy.
Living with the people, being close and attentive, that is their way to witness to the mercy of God towards each person, according to the instruction of St. Vincent who said on March 9, 1642 , ” We wouldn’t, in fact, be doing enough for God and the neighbor if we only gave the sick poor food and medicine and if we didn’t assist them, … by the spiritual service we owe them. When you serve poor persons in this way, you’ll be true Daughters of Charity…”
(From an article in RHEINISCHE POST, 15 October 2013)