How quickly the seasons come and go and our lives fly by. For all of us who are sensitive to the needs of homeless people, winter brings urgency with it and an anxiety about the cold, the wet and the dreariness ahead. As the dark, cold days of winter set in, I pray that we can find more shelter and better solutions for the multiple combinations of difficulties people face.
The Mission of The Passage obliges us to search for solutions which encourage and inspire lasting change in a person's situation, as well as the primary care that assist people with their immediate needs. As we celebrate Christmas this year, let us remember the ministering Jesus, who never left a person in exactly the same situation as he found him or her, always providing something which made a real difference.
Some of you will have heard that I am soon to change my role at The Passage and am taking a new role as Chairman of the Trustees. I arrived as director at The Passage in September 2000, a significant year in itself and, as it turned out, highly significant for me. Little did I know how rich, hard, challenging, rewarding, exhausting, wonderful and sometimes heartbreaking it would be.
Being fleet of foot and responding to an ever changing environment of needs is demanding in itself whilst ensuring that our own Vincentian values and ethos are the firmest of yardsticks. It has been my enormous pleasure and fascination to span a realm of sectors in search of support for The Passage and I have been moved by the commitment of so many who feel for those less fortunate than themselves. I have been privileged to advocate for some of the most marginalised members of our society today. That which remains in my heart is what I have learned from our highly skilled staff and from our generouss body of volunteers, without whom important aspects of our service would not continue, and most particularly from our homeless brothers and sisters.
I have witnessed every type of human need. I have witnessed the courage and resilience of so many to overcome and find solutions. I have seen the dejection, failure and death of some who simply could not go on. I have learned a deep respect for the dignity and value of each human life. With joy I move ahead in a new way with The Passage as I pass on my responsibilities to a new chief executive. The Passage will always be significant to me. I carry it in my prayers and in my heart.
To you with thanks
To those of you who have read my Annual Christmas Messages and followed the progress of the work of The Passage I give a very special word of thanks. You are among our steadfast and loyal supporters without whom our services would be all the poorer. Your donations, your friendship and your prayers are worth more than we can say. I have personally experienced the generosity and spirit with which so many have contributed to our work and our ethos during my years here and I wish you every blessing in the years to come.
Sister Ellen Flynn DC