Special to The Witness
“The church does not exist to condemn people but to bring about an encounter with the visceral love of God’s mercy.” -Pope Francis, The Name of God is Mercy
In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis calls all Christians to respond wholeheartedly to the call to be people of mercy—loving and compassionate. No matter what our vocation in life, each of us is called to follow Christ in his movement of love, in his going forth to meet humanity with mercy and love.
As lay Associates and Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our very Constitutions call us to this way of life:
“Compelled by the example and word of Mary Frances Clarke in her sensitive response to critical human situations, we seek out and attend to those in need, whatever this may require of us.”
-BVM Constitutions #15
There are myriad ways in which BVMs and associates seek to do this, and here in Dubuque we have a prime example of an associate who lives out this value of mercy. Marilyn Heinz has been a member of St. Patrick Parish for 60 years. Some years ago she and some other women in the parish started a Wednesday evening meal for the Lenten season for those in the area who were in need of a decent hot meal. The meal program was appreciated so much, that they have continued the meal every Wednesday for 30 years.