Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) – September 2019

Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) – September 2019 1000 1000 St. Vincent de Paul Detroit

We have some MEAP funds remaining so you can continue to send in applications through September 6.

As we prepare for 2020 suggestions for improvement are always welcome – please either call or email me. The 2020 MEAP Grant Proposal was submitted on August 16. We will communicate our award amount when notified – hopefully by mid-September. We are making plans to strengthen the self-sufficiency services provided through MEAP but of course all plans are contingent on the award amount. More details to come!

For all MEAP questions/information please contact Sharon Lynch at 313.393.2692 or, or Jasna Leova at 313.393.2801 or

Conference Connection – Spiritual Reflection

Conference Connection – Spiritual Reflection 1000 1000 St. Vincent de Paul Detroit

Friends, this month we publish a spiritual reflection from longtime Vincentian, Catherine Bradford, who recently shared this with our Spirituality Group. Perhaps read it with your Conference and have your members reflect and pray on what this means to them.

God bless each one as we serve others striving to see the face Jesus as we meet those in need.

Sister Noreen Ellison, SC
Associate Spiritual Advisor

Life into Life

This is how and when the SVDP role of serving spiritually brought more understanding to me. Once we answer and open that door to serve, we must handle each person who reaches out to us, as if they are a beautiful and delicate flower. Not wanting to break or crush their spirit.

We never know what another person is going through or has gone through to end up on our steps or make that call to us. As we open our doors, let us take the very first steps of walking with Jesus. We welcome them with a greeting of love as bright as the sunshine, grabbing their attention so that the nurturing of our brothers and sisters will automatically begin to uplift them. When they leave us and wind down for the day, as the sun is setting, followed by the glowing moon, letting us all capture these signals from God. Let us leave the issues of this day behind, letting the tasks for that day, fill the giver and receiver with the spirit that God is always able.

We often hear we were born to die. Have you ever really dug so deep in your hearts, minds, and souls to only discover that it is life into life. Once we let our ungodly ways die, we can truly live and serve. The funny thing about this is, we have to to live our life in this imperfect world, discovering love, hurt, pain and suffering. In the meantime we wonder and discover how to keep moving through all of it. The answers come from our Creator and the people He wants us to share time and space with, in this life, gaining an insight of what is really important at the end of the day.

The knowledge and wisdom we have acquired through our works of faith and trusting in a merciful and loving God, spiritual nourishment is also shared. We now know, with a joyful heart, it is all good because we were able to do the best we could with what we had and that becomes a great start. Many times making it just enough for both of us to begin our journeys.

By taking each step, carrying and acting out the Fruit of the Spirit:

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

God’s gift to us is keeping us mindful of our experiences. This enables us, to continue with confidence to walk the walk and talk the talk, realizing we can still learn from one another. And never a doubt of how we got where we are.

These steps let us play out our greatest role in this life. We understand a little clearer each moment, as God is maneuvering and providing us with what is needed to serve each individual, resulting in truly serving Him. Our baby steps have become giant steps, propelling our spirits to peacefully soar, because we know we are not breaking any laws on earth and certainly not in Heaven, as God is completing us. ????????????   The Lord let me be in the midst of it all.

Catherine (Shelly) Bradford (Vincentian)
Detroit, Mi

Conference Connection Retail Edition August

Conference Connection Retail Edition August 1000 1000 St. Vincent de Paul Detroit

Hello Vincentians and happy summer! I hope that everyone is having a blessed fun summer and enjoying all our beautiful state has to offer.

I know many of you have reached out in regards to the concerns you have had with the temporary closing of our Grand River Store. First off, I would like to say that I hear you loud and clear and also have had struggles over the last two months not having the store open. As many of you can imagine summer is a very busy time for our retail locations for incoming donations. We have struggled at many of our locations to absorb the sheer volume of donations coming through the donation door, especially with fewer stores to send goods to.

I have already spoken to several Conference Presidents and ran by the idea of “pop up stores” as an interim solution. So far the response has been extremely positive. My thought would be to run the pop up stores in various locations each week with pulled product from our retail stores at deeply discounted prices. As of now I am thinking we would offer mostly clothing, household items, and furniture. Our shoppers would also be able to use referral labels as needed.

This is where I need your help! If you happen to know of any available retail locations or outdoor parking lot space that might be willing to host us on a short term basis, please reach out to me directly. I would also love feedback on areas that would be easiest for our neighbors in need to get to, days and times that are best, as well any other specifics you might think of. I really am committed to thinking outside the box and doing what we can to provide mission services to those in need.

I am hoping to get our first “pop up store” up and running ASAP. I just need to shore up some final logistic details, and well, find a location.

I have listed my contact information below. I would love any help that you could provide in the way of feedback or even volunteers to help run the store when we get to that point.  Lastly, if you get a minute stop by the Dixie store and check out their backroom to see all we were able to accomplish at our Kaizen event last month.

That’s all for now… be blessed and continue to “see the possible” of today’s SVDPD!

Megan Witty –


An Update from Therese – July 2019

An Update from Therese – July 2019 1000 1000 St. Vincent de Paul Detroit

Dear Fellow Vincentians,

Summer is finally here! We Michiganders have been waiting a long time for warm weather. I have vowed, that no matter how hot it gets I will not complain!!!!!

This past month has been extremely busy. First, I attended The Sister of Charity Federation Assembly in Chicago. There were over five hundred and fifty Sisters of Charity and Associates representing many congregations all of whom are part of the Vincentian Family. It truly amazing the reach St. Vincent, St Louise and Blessed Rosalie Rendu  has had throughout the world. The Charity charism shared by all member of our Family is alive and well .

On June 17th we hosted our Annual Golf Outing benefiting our camping program. I would like to thank not only the players who participated but, all the Vincentian volunteers who spent many hours assuring that all attendees enjoyed their day. Many thanks to all the sponsors for generously donating to this great event.

The day following the golf outing, we were privileged to host The President General of the International St. Vincent de Paul, Renato Lima de Oliveria. Of all the places in the world he could visit, he chose to come to Detroit. What an honor.  Renato visited the Matchan Nutrition Center, attended Blessed Rosalie Rendu Conference meeting and made a home visit in Detroit. Renato gave a truly inspiring talk to over two hundred Vincentians gathered at The National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica. Renato spoke about how as a teenager he became a Vincentian and even with his schedule today,  he continues to  attend  conference meetings at his home parish. He is truly one of the most committed Vincentians one can meet. He retains a full time job, has a family in Brazil and travels the world representing St. Vincent de Paul on his own vacation time. Renato recognized the Servant Leadership of the District Presidents present by presenting them with a special pin from the SVDP International. From Detroit, Renato attended the Canadian National Meeting in Windsor. I, along with Sr. Noreen Ellison our Associate Council Spiritual Advisor, Bill and Barb Brazier were the guests of the Canadian National St. Vincent de Paul and we attended the instillation of their newly elected President. It was an honor to be included in such a wonderful event.

The election of our Archdiocesan Council President will be held in August. This past Monday evening the Council Board was introduced to the candidates running: Nancy Szlezyngier, Roger Playwin, Mike Casey, and Bernard  Onwuemelie. All candidates had an opportunity to present their philosophy and thoughts about representing our Vincentians as they continue to move us forward in “ Our Mission of Charity.”  Please pray for all the candidates and for our entire Council that true discernment will prevail and that “ The Spirit “ will guide us to the person, pure of heart, who will be the best servant leader of our Council.

God Bless,

Therese Frye

An Update from Therese – June 2019

An Update from Therese – June 2019 1000 1000 St. Vincent de Paul Detroit

Dear Fellow Vincentians,

Many good and inspiring things have been and will be taking place in our Council. First, at our Annual Banquet over two hundred Vincentians gathered at Sacred Heart Major Seminary to celebrate all the good works we do every day. We were able to recognize those Vincentians who in a special way exemplify the Mission we all share. We are very grateful to our Priest Presider, Fr. Steve Hurd, SJ, and Sr. Noreen Ellison, S.C. who planned our liturgy, Maureen Kennedy who provided our music and Debbie Jackson who coordinated the entire event. Following our liturgy, we shared fellowship and recognized our fellow Vincentians.

Recipients of 25 Year Award

Dick Reimbold, St. Peter
Mike Zemke, St. Irenaeus
Bert Kozlowski, St. Irenaeus
William Connors, St. Irenaeus
Toni Doupe, St. Simon and Jude
Jean Ducket, Sacred Heart
Lorraine Boykins, Sacred Heart
Emmanual Miruzzi, St. Maurice/St. Genevieve

Top Hat Awardees

Jean Duckett, Sacred Heart
Joann Emery, St. Mary Redford
Bob and Agnes Godek, Resurrection
Barry Michaels, St. Joseph Lake Orion
John Miller, St. Pio
Charlie Muller, St. Matthew and St. Raymond
Pat Schmeiser St. Isidore

Dimensions of Excellence

Guardian Angels Clawson, Our Lady of Refuge, Orchard Lake, Our Lady of the Lakes,
Our Lady of Victory, Northville, Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Oak Park, Resurrection, Canton,
St. Damien of Molokai, Pontiac, St. Faustina, Warren, St. Irenaeus, Rochester Hills, St. John the Baptist, Dearborn Heights, St. Joseph, Trenton, St. Joseph Lake Orion, St. Louise de Marillac, Warren, St. Mary of the Annunciation, Rockwood, St. Mary, Port Huron, St. Mary, Redford, St. Michael, Sterling Heights, St. Peter, Mt. Clemens, St. Roch, Flat Rock, St. Therese Lisieux, Shelby Township, St. William, Walled Lake.

Our next exciting news is that our Council will host our International President of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Renato Lima de Oliveira, June 17-20. This is a true honor to have Renato visiting us on his way to the Canadian National Meeting. We have been planning an itinerary which will include a visit to the Matchan Nutrition Center, a Conference meeting at a Detroit Conference with a home visit. We have also arranged for Renato to address ALL VINCENTIANS, FAMILIES AND FRIENDS on Tuesday evening, June18 at 6:30 pm at the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica. The Shrine Conference will host a reception with a “meet and greet” following Renato’s talk. Please come and meet Renato. To my knowledge, we have never had the opportunity to host an International President so this may be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

If you plan to attend please RSVP to Debbie Jackson at or at (313) 393-3014.

Our Camp Ozanam sign-up is in full swing. There is still time and space available, so please continue recruiting campers. We are looking for volunteers for our camp “send-offs” on Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral. If you’re able to volunteer for Camp “send-off” please contact Caroline Krucker at 810-622-8744 or

Don’t forget Vincentian Appreciation Day at Camp Ozanam on Saturday, July 13, 11:00 a.m. Please bring family and friends for a day of fun and relaxation on the shores of Lake Huron. If you can attend please contact Caroline Krucker at the above numbers.

The next topic is the election of the next Archdiocesan Council President. By now, your District Presidents may have shared with you that we have four candidates. They are Roger Playwin, from Detroit East District, Nancy Szlezyngier, President Port Huron District, Bernard Onwuemelie, Mid City, and Mike Casey, Port Huron District. The candidates have been interviewed by the Nominating Committee. The next steps are: the candidates will address the Council Board, then, the Board will discuss candidates with the membership for input. An election will then take place at the next Board Meeting. I ask you to pray for those willing to become servant leaders within our Council.

God Bless,

Save the Date – Vincentian and Alumni Saturday, July 13th

Save the Date – Vincentian and Alumni Saturday, July 13th 1000 1000 St. Vincent de Paul Detroit

It’s Not Too Late to Enroll Campers!

We realize some families are not able to attend an Enrollment Gathering or they enroll for camp after the Enrollment Gatherings. Conferences can work with the family to fill out the paperwork, interview the camper, and send the completed packet to the Camps Office (they do not have to attend the Enrollment Gathering). Conferences will need to make sure all the paperwork is filled out (see the sheet “How to Fill Out the Forms”) and include a copy of their physical and proof of age (only for new campers). Then, mail the entire packet to the Camps Office.

Thank you for your support for Camp Ozanam and our Campers and families!

An Update from Therese – April 2019

An Update from Therese – April 2019 1000 1000 St. Vincent de Paul Detroit

Dear Fellow Vincentians.

Hopefully spring is actually here. As I get older, it seems winter lasts longer. Winter can be beautiful but, I think everybody is ready for spring to be here!

With a the new season, comes many new opportunities for we Vincentians to not only be of service to our neighbors in need, but provides us with new challenges within our organization.

The Vincentian Life Committee has been discussing several issues that will have an impact on us as we continue to assist those we serve. The first issue deals with providing rent assistance to individual landlords. In order to maintain our good standing with the IRS, we are developing a new reporting structure in order to be in compliance. We are currently working on a process that will be the most efficient and least cumbersome for conferences. We will keep you posted as we move along.

The next topic is “review of the books” by conferences. Good governance dictates that any organization such as ours has an accounting of its resources to protect its integrity and good standing. Our Central Council undergoes an annual audit by an outside accounting firm. The results of this audit are published for not only our Vincentians to review but also our donors and the general public. These audits are extensive and expensive. Conferences are not going to be required to incur a costly formal audit by engaging an accounting firm, rather, conferences will have someone other than the signatures on their checking accounts review the financial activity the conference has had over the past year. If no one in the conference is able to complete this task, conferences may ask someone within their community whether it is a parish member or someone from our SVDP Financial Review Committee who would be more than happy to assist.

More information on these issues will be forthcoming soon.

Spring also brings opportunities for Vincentians to come together in the Spirit of Friendship as well as fun and friendship at Service. On May 19th, we will gather to celebrate at our Annual Banquet. It is a great event celebrating Vincentians who exemplify their commitment to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Those bring honored will be recognized either their length of service or those individuals who are true models of the Vincentian vocation.

Now that we are experiencing warmer weather, we think of Camp Ozanam . On March 23rd we held Camp Jamboree at Sacred Heart Seminary. Over seventy Vincentians started to make plans for enrolling children for this camping season. We would like to send five hundred boys and girls to enjoy this life changing experience. Please consider inviting the children you met this year during your home visits to enjoy a week of Camp. Also, please send your Camp donations to the Central Office at 3000 Gratiot with “Camp Donation“ in memo section.

On June 18 and 19 we will have the honor and privilege of hosting the International President of St. Vincent de Paul Renato de Lima Oliveria. His visit will be a true blessing. His full schedule is being developed but, he definitely wants to meet our Vincentian community. Part of our planning will include an evening of a meet and greet. We will keep you apprised of the plans for this truly event.

The election of a new Archdiocesan Council President is underway. The Nominating Committee is working through the process as prescribe by our bylaws. Serving in the position of President has been a true honor. I will not lie however, it has been challenging at times but as I always say “ it is all good people doing good things”. I am continually amazed and inspired realizing how generous, giving and committed each of you is. Vincentians continue to give and give. You don‘t care how old your car is, what private club you belong to, how many toys you have. What is most important to you is growing in holiness through helping your neighbors in need. .Know when I leave office, I take with me your goodness and kindness that will continue to be a source of light in my life.

God Bless,

An Update from Therese – February 2019

An Update from Therese – February 2019 1000 1000 St. Vincent de Paul Detroit

Dear Fellow Vincentians,

Hope you all stayed warm during this frigid weather. This Arctic Blast reminds me of how blessed I am. I have a warm home, a car with heated seats and coats to keep me warm. I am so grateful. Many of our neighbors aren’t as fortunate but, this extreme cold has brought out the best of our communities. Makeshift shelters were created, warm meals provided, and warm clothing distributed by multiple churches and agencies. It took a true disaster for communities to do the same things Vincentians do every day!

I would liketo share some thoughts about our recent Annual Meeting. Over two hundred Vincentians braved the weather to attend . Thanks to all who made the meeting a great success.Special kudos to Debbie Jackson who took care of all the planning for our event. My gratitude to members of our newly formed Spirituality Committee: Sr. Noreen SC, Sr. Felicity, Sr.Linda, Sr. Shelly for helping us with our spiritual journey as Vincentians during our meeting. Deepening our spirituality is at the center of all we do. Our service to our neighbors brings us closer to God. As we live out our Vincentian vocation Jesus comes to us in a very special and personal way. During our spiritual reflection, we were reminded of why we are Vincentians and how we have grown in our relationship with God and each other. Dan Malone not only provided us with the state of our business at SVDP but, was inspirational in his presentation. A special thanks to Sacred Heart Major Seminary for making us feel so welcome. Most of all, I would like to thank you, my fellow Vincentians who

The feedback you provided on the evaluations was extremely positive and helpful. You not only told us of the positive aspects of the Meeting, you shared with us some areas where we as a Council can improve. The vast majority of respondents said how much they enjoyed sharing their answers to the questions presented, sharing experiences, and the bond all Vincentians have in common. One area identified for improvement is communication between the Council and the membership. Please know that I am open to any suggestions on how communication can be improved. As of now we attempt to pass along information through your district presidents from the Board to the other members. Also, The Conference Connection is a valuable tool to convey updates to you. We would love to be able to make sure all Vincentians have access to this monthly update. So, please make sure your fellow members have provided us with their e mail addresses. Also, we are aware that only thirty percent open the Conference Connection. If you have further ideas how we can better communicate please let me at or Debbie Jackson at and we will make every effort to see how we can best share information.

God Bless

An Update from Therese – November 2018

An Update from Therese – November 2018 1000 1000 St. Vincent de Paul Detroit

With Thanksgiving here, I am once again reminded on how grateful I am for the life God has given me. As I see how some of our neighbors struggle to even acquire the most basic needs it makes me more aware of how God has blessed me.

As we enter into the holiday season, we Vincentians continue our service to our friends. Holiday baskets, giving trees, coat drives making the holidays special for those with the greatest need. Our gospel mission continues to strengthen our spiritual growth. Your Vincentian leadership not only continues the outreach but, continues the responsibilities as leaders in the Council. We recently held an Archdiocesan Board Meeting and I would like to update you on the topics discussed. Minutes from the Executive Committee, Vincentian Life Committee and Governance Committee were approved. Resolutions were presented by the Governance Committee to establish a Finance Committee to work with our Executive Committee, CFO and CEO in financial matters. With all the changes in government reporting, we are extremely grateful to have the expertise of these three volunteers: Laurie Horvath, Robert Rock and Mark Lezotte join Mark Gilroy our Archdiocesan Treasurer, Rose Paczkowski our CFO, and Dan Malone along with our Executive Committee in being the best stewards of the resources we so graciously receive. Other areas the Governance Committee presented are resolutions covering CEO Limitation Policy, Position Description  for Council Board of Directors, Council Board Member Roles and Responsibilities, Voice of the Poor Committee Charter, Sex Offender Policy-Conference and Council, Harassment Policy, Contingency Committee Charter, Donor Privacy Policy, Gift Acceptance Policy and Board Chair and CEO Partnership Policy. We welcomed two new District Presidents to the Board, Sheila Cassett represents the Monroe District and Elina Munoz is representing the Mid City.  Your Board of Trustees is working to keep the Detroit Council one of the strongest in the Nation. Another topic was the approval of the Archdiocesan Council budget.  Many thanks to all staff and volunteers who keep our Council operating at such a high level. 

As I mentioned in a previous article, at the National Meeting SVDP approved a Strategic Plan. Since we here in Detroit had not developed our own since 2012, we have embarked on creating a vision for our future as well. Working in conjunction with the National Plan of Expanding and Strengthening Our Network Of Friends, Encouraging and Supporting Vincentians On Their Spiritual Journey, Advocate For And Work Towards A More Just World, Promote Deeper and Meaningful Relationships With Those We Serve and Develop, Improve, and Expand Services we have formed a group to bring to us a plan that will enhance our Vincentian Vocation. We owe thanks to fellow Vincentians Nancy Szlezyngier, Bob Saltsman, Althea Graham, Nalani Miller, Tom Reiss, and Dan Malone as this project gets underway. We will keep you posted on the progress. 

I have been asked to remind conferences that if you find yourselves in a strong financial position please consider a twinning opportunity. Maybe you would be able to share your good fortune with a conference with limited resources. If you think you could make that commitment, please give Debbie Jackson a call at (313) 393-3014 and she will be able to inform you of the conferences with the greatest need.

With under a year left in my second term as Archdiocesan President, we  are  in the process of succession planning. We have a nominating  committee comprised of past Council Presidents who will soon be accepting nominations. After the holidays, you will be invited to submit the names of possible candidates, after obtaining the potential candidate’s approval. Please pray for this as we consider new servant leadership. 

God Bless,