In February, The Daughters of Charity hosted an inspirational half-day retreat to unite with Foster Parents, Child Welfare Specialists, and others who directly serve the children at SOS Illinois. Our staff joined together at the Chicago Village for a wonderful opportunity that allowed them to reflect and actively connect back to our mission and calling to serve others, especially children in Illinois foster care.
Chosen to Serve: Foster Parents and Social Workers
SOS Children’s Villages Illinois is a proud grant recipient of Mission & Ministry, Inc. The Daughters of Charity, including our Board Member Sister Mary Ellen Lacy, provide incredible ongoing support to our programs and services that allow us to carry out our mission of caring for youth, specifically sibling groups, in Illinois foster care.
The workshop: “Many Are Called and We Are Chosen,” brought together twenty-three Foster Parents, caseworkers, and staff members, and was led by Sr. Mary Ellen Lacy, Sr. Betty Ann McNeil, Sr. Mary Kay Schreier, and Sr. Angele Hinkey. Each Sister focused on a different segment, including: “Called to Serve: Service to Those Most Vulnerable,” “Spirituality and Community in Service: Spirituality We Bring to and Develop in Our Ministry,” “The Need for the Kinship of Community,” and “Perseverance in Service.”
Throughput the year, our Foster Parents and caseworkers attend many workshops for training and informational purposes. This workshop from the Daughters of Charity offered a welcome change for them to have the opportunity to reflect upon the path that led them to care for children in foster care at SOS Children’s Villages Illinois.
All participants were moved by Sister Mary Ellen Lacy’s words about community and spirituality, as well as Sister Betty Ann’s inspirational story of the legacy of Elizabeth Ann Seton. The moments of quiet meditation and self-reflection throughout the gathering were also appreciated by our parents and staff, whose schedules are packed with appointments, errands, getting to court, or taking care of full households of children. Opportunities for peaceful and introspective moments are few and far between, and Foster Parents and caseworkers alike seemed to appreciate putting the challenges of caregiving aside for a short time to seek inspiration within.
Gratitude for a Moment of Reflection
The response to the retreat was overwhelming. Each staff member said it was truly one of the greatest sessions they had experienced in their time at SOS Children’s Villages Illinois. The Sisters touched our Foster Parents and caseworkers in an unforgettable way, offering a moment to pause and reflect, as well as providing tools with which they can provide even greater care to our children.
There were heartfelt discussions and sharing of personal experiences that the workshop inspired. Staff shared they felt as though the workshop not only validated their personal journeys to become Foster Parents or social workers, but also their often challenging experiences while helping children in foster care. Participants also shared that the retreat helped them better serve the children in their care.
“Many Are Called and We Are Chosen” made our staff feel appreciated and re-energized. For this amazing opportunity, we graciously thank our partners and friends at Daughter of Charity for sharing their gifts with staff at SOS Illinois.
About the Daughters of Charity
The Daughters of Charity are a community of women who devote our lives to serving the poorest and most abandoned individuals in today’s society. They minister in the everyday worlds of the poor and the marginalized. Today, there are about 16,000 Daughters of Charity living and working in more than 90 countries throughout the world.
About Mission & Ministry, Inc.
Mission & Ministry, Inc., a granting entity of the Daughters of Charity Province of St. Louise, serves as a catalyst for change in the communities where the Daughters of Charity minister. Mission and Ministry works to alleviate poverty by providing encouragement and financial support for works of the Daughters of Charity and other non-profit organizations which serve persons living in poverty.