January, 2024

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Save the Date for the 2024 Madonna Della Strada Celebration

Each year in April, IVC New England shines a light on members of our community who have shown exceptional concern for those struggling with poverty, injustice, and isolation in our neighborhoods. We do that at our Madonna Della Strada ceremony. This year, as in prior years, the awards night will take place at Boston College High School. The date is Sunday, April 21, from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm.

We have three extraordinary awardees this year. Father Jonathan Slavinskas, in Worcester, has the reputation of being a "shepherd of many flocks." Sister Catherine Kavanagh, in Providence, devoted her life to people with disabilities. IVC New England Board Chair MIke McGonagle has touched the lives of students for decades, challenging them to be men and women for others, in the Jesuit tradition.

Save the date and join us for liturgy, a meal, camaraderie, and awards: Sunday, April 21 at Boston College High School. Our invitation to register or contribute to this event will be virtual this year and will appear in an upcoming newsletter. So, stay tuned and spread the word. (This event is sponsored by the Ignatian Volunteer Corps New England. It is not a BC High event).

Christine Eberle and the Power of Stories

Author, retreat director and veteran Ignatian Volunteer Corps leader Christine Eberle accompanied IVC New England Ignatian Volunteers through a moving mid-year Day of Reflection at St. Ignatius parish in Chestnut Hill (MA) on January 5, jump-starting the new calendar year.

With a mix of presentation and small group discussion, Christine helped us realize how we are all "formed by stories." In the morning session, we looked at the power of stories in our formation - the books, movies, Scripture stories that influence us. We examined stories that might be "true" though not necessarily factual. We looked at stories of St. Ignatius of Loyola, and stories we tell ourselves. We learned how we tend to frame and reframe our own stories or those of others.

In her afternoon session, Christine dramatized the Mary/Martha story from Luke's gospel, looking at what happened that day from the perspective of each of the two sisters. What was Jesus thinking? What happened later in the day?

Participants felt that this day went very well. "An incredibly interesting presentation." "She kept the day moving and was very engaging." "Christine was fabulous, so engaging." "Thoughtful and well-presented." "The best mid-year reflection I have ever been to." "Nice balance of listening and sharing."

IVC New England members each received a copy of Christine's second book, Finding God Abiding, and will use that for reflection in winter and spring monthly meetings. Christine has regular blog and email postings and offers virtual retreats. For more information, contact the IVC New England office ([email protected]).

IVC New England Recruiting Nonprofit Partners for the Coming Year

International Institute of New England - Boston

Nativity School Worcester

St. Patrick's Academy -Providence

IVC New England has begun its planning for the coming (September to June) volunteer year. We are actively recruiting nonprofit partners, agencies whose mission is to help those most in need in the Boston/Worcester/Providence area. Pictured above are three of our 35 current partners.

Ignatian Volunteers are women and men, 50 years of age or better, with lifetimes of experience. Among our current service corps members are educators, health care professionals, retired administrators, social workers, musicians, lawyers, pastoral care workers, and others with a wide variety of skills.

IVC New England volunteers commit to ten months of service, working on the average of one or two full days per week from September through June. Nonprofit partners commit to a modest partnership fee, an engaging job description, and a healthy, respectful welcome of our volunteers as members of their teams.

For a flyer that more fully explains how an Ignatian Volunteer can expand and deepen a nonprofit agency's team, click here. For a listing of current volunteers and their assignments, click here. Contact IVC New England for more information. Check out our website to learn more about us.

And there still are openings for prospective volunteers this year. Contact IVC New England now for more information. Click here to find current IVC New England openings.

Saying Goodbye to Jim Orcutt

Jim Orcutt, who together with his wife, Terry, founded My Brother's Keeper in 1988, passed away on January 22. IVC honored Jim, Terry, and My Brother's Keeper at its Della Strada ceremony last year, for their incredible work in reaching out to families requesting assistance in Southeastern Massachusetts.

My Brother's Keeper began in the basement of the Orcutt home. Today it has a staff or 20 and a volunteer contingent of more than 5000, including seven Ignatian volunteers. My Brother's Keeper brings food, furniture, and Christmas gifts to those in need out of its two large distribution centers in Dartmouth and Easton.

Jim's mission and the mission of My Brother's Keeper has been "to bring the Love and Hope of Jesus Christ to those we serve." Today, My Brother's Keeper makes more than 20,000 home visits annually. IVC is proud to partner in the work that Jim and Terry started and which so many others carry on. We are blessed to have known him.

Wake and funeral for Jim are at Holy Cross Church in South Easton, MA. The wake is Wednesday, January 31, from 3 pm to 7 pm. The funeral is Thursday, February 1, at 10:30 am. Click here to read Jim's obituary on the My Brother's Keeper website.

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