Published February 5, 2004
A volunteer group from the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception was the recipient of the 2003 Marguerite d’Youville Award given each year by the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart to the individual or group that best exemplifies the charism of their founder.
St. Francis Table is a soup kitchen run by a volunteer group that feeds the homeless every Saturday morning at the Shrine in downtown Atlanta. The Grey Nuns assembled for the presentation of the award as organizers and volunteers of all ages prepared to serve a meal to about 500 homeless people.
Sister Sally White, GNSH, said that the award was “named for St. Marguerite d’Youville, foundress of the Grey Nuns.”
“St. Marguerite, who lived in 18th century Montreal, was wife, mother and widow,” she said. “Her life journey evolved into ministering to God’s poor and to anyone in need and later in establishing a congregation for women religious. Pope John XXIII gave Marguerite the title ‘Mother of Universal Charity,’ a title that challenges each of us to extend our love and service to anyone in need, to be all inclusive and never selective.”
Ted Davis, head coordinator of the ministry, said that St. Francis Table began when Franciscan priests staffed the Shrine. At that time, several parishioners had observed there were street people in the area of at Shrine who needed to be fed.
At its inception, about 20 people were fed each week. Davis commended today’s volunteers from local high schools, colleges, parishes, Girl and Boy Scout troops who serve weekly at the St. Francis Table. Families, single people, volunteers of all ages care for God’s people every Saturday morning at the St. Francis Table.