Bon Secours Volunteer Ministry Celebrates 25 Years of Compassionate Service

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

In a press release with quotations by members of the Congregation of Bon Secours and BSVM Director Shannon Curran, CityBiz in Baltimore highlights the 25th anniversary of the Volunteer Ministry and the way that Ministry Volunteers have lived into the mission and charism of the Sisters of Bon Secours. Sr. Elaine Davia looked back to the founding and looks forward to the future: “the next 25 years will be a journey of growth, innovation, and deepened commitment.” We’re grateful for this shout-out in our city of origin, Baltimore!

Bon Secours Volunteer Ministry (BSVM), a beacon of hope and healing, celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2024. Sponsored by the Sisters of Bon Secours, BSVM has borne witness to the power of selfless service and community spirit since its inception in 1999. Recent college graduates who spend a year of service and spiritual formation with BSVM experience opportunities to live where they serve, listen to stories of suffering and resilience, and build community with people who are vulnerable in the spirit of justice and radical solidarity.

The mission and charism of the Congregation of the Sisters of Bon Secours involves “bringing people to wholeness and helping them know that there is a God who loves them” while “defending and caring for all of creation.” BSVM is one of many ways that the Congregation fulfills this mission.

“In over 16 years as Director, it has been exciting to see the ministry both deepen and expand while accompanying young adults on a journey of ‘transformation through service with others.’ They do this by living in an intentional Christian community in West Baltimore and East Richmond and serving full-time within their neighborhood. While these neighborhoods have been made vulnerable and marginalized through all different forms of injustice, they are also sacred spaces full of light, love, goodness, and good people. Through our commitment to practice justice by building relationships centered in service, BSVM strives to add to the light and love that is already fully present in both West Baltimore and in East Richmond. One way we see this at work is through the Ministry Volunteers being transformed by their service. Each year, a group of young adults begin the year as strangers and end the year as a community of brothers and sisters,” said BSVM Director Shannon Curran. “Throughout their time of sharing the charism of compassion, healing, and liberation, ministry volunteers find themselves receiving that same charism from these new relationships with neighbors and co-workers. It is through the building of these relationships based in mutuality that Ministry Volunteers often receive healing and wholeness and come to know themselves as loved by God.”

The foundation of BSVM in 1999 was a continuation of the centuries-long work of the Sisters of Bon Secours. It represented a new chapter in the congregation’s commitment to compassion, healing, and liberation.

Sr. Nancy Glynn remembers bringing the idea of a Volunteer Ministry to the Congregation 25 years ago. “Since 1992 we have had a small community of sisters living on Fulton Avenue in West Baltimore adjacent to St Martin’s church. A group of Capuchin volunteers lived next door to us in St Martin’s Rectory. We often had them over for dinner and admired their spirit and generosity in ministry. We began to say to one another, ‘Why not have Bon Secours Volunteers?’ We brought a proposal to the Provincial Chapter Meeting, and it was enthusiastically approved. Following the implementation of this new ministry, our community here on Fulton Avenue has been enriched as the Bon Secours Volunteer Ministry served in life and ministry to our neighbors.”

Today, our volunteers embody the charism of the Sisters of Bon Secours, sharing hope and healing within the community. They are the hands and feet of our mission, working tirelessly to improve the lives of those they serve.

Sr. Elaine Davia, USA Area Leader for the Congregation, said, “From our earliest history the first sisters generously shared our charism with others, even with those whose intention was not to join the community of Bon Secours as a vowed religious. This sharing helped to spread our charism of healing and compassion far beyond the reach of the sisters. For 25 years our Bon Secours Ministry Volunteers have been spreading our charism throughout the USA. After spending a year living in an intentional community and focused on learning about God’s justice through service to those most in need, they also are spreading this healing and compassion far beyond what we, the sisters can do. The sisters are so grateful to the staff who are dedicated to teaching and accompanying them through this year and to each of the volunteers who continue to live our mission long after they complete the program.”

“Looking forward, we are committed to nurturing and growing this ministry, expanding our reach, and continuing to serve as a beacon of hope for the marginalized. The next 25 years will be a journey of growth, innovation, and deepened commitment,” said Sr. Elaine.

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Bon Secours Volunteer Ministry, an extension of the work of the Sisters of Bon Secours, was established in 1999 to engage laypersons in their mission. The ministry has since nurtured over 100 volunteers in a year of spiritual formation, guiding them on their personal and communal journeys towards transformation through service with others.

Article published in CityBiz on March 4, 2024