John McConville writes our latest blog and tells us of the work 'Marian Action' do with the homeless and marginalised in Glasgow.
Marian Action is a movement that aims to bring the maternal joy and love of Mary to the marginalised. It does this primarily through its spirituality, the members gathering together weekly to pray about the work, and for those whom we come in contact with.
We also have our special prayer, the Angelus, which the members say daily in order to bring Mary's blessing on the movement. The blessings we receive from this spirituality are taken into our work, which currently consists of organising social evenings in two of Glasgow's centres for homeless people, and also organising periodical coffee mornings for the wider homeless community.
Taking into account the fact that Jesus, during His time on earth, spent a great deal of time amongst the downtrodden of society, it seems to me only natural that He would want His love, and that of His mother, to be brought to the most marginilised of society, and indeed that is what struck me most of all when I first got involved with the group- as a youngster back in the 1970s, and also in seeing how the men responded so positively to the care and attention being shown to them by what was then, in a main, a group of young people.
And indeed these many blessings have continued during the years, and indeed decades in which Jesus has used our various services to reach His marginilised- many of our members have remarked on how gratifying it is to be thanked at the end of one of our social nights, and that in fact the gratitude of the people could teach the wider community a thing or two about genuine sincerity.
One example which comes to mind is a lady, who was resident at the women's hostel in Inglefield St. for many years, and who was usually the life and soul of the party, particularly at Christmas, but actually admitted that, in the early days of our work, our social nights had stopped her from commiting suicide.
Marian Action has been in existence since 1972, orginally working in the old council-run hostels. We started by organising bingo nights, but eventually our mission evolved into offering shaving, haircutting, serving Christmas dinners, and other related events. The haircutting and shaving actually came about when we were asking God to show us if there was something else He wanted us to do. At Broad St. hostel one night, our then president was approached by a man who asked if he could cut his hair. When our president replied that he hadn't done anything like that before, the man told him him to "just f*** well cut it". We took that to be a sign from God!
Over many years, we carried out these activities at ten different hostels. We found that the services we offered the people were always well-received, and there are many examples of this having a positive influence on peoples' lives.
After the council hostels closed in the early 2000s, we took our work into Aspire Housing, Partick, and the Talbot Association, Garnethill, where once again Marian Action has been well received by the people.
We realise that our work is but a drop in the ocean in the universal need for God's love to be given in both a practical and emotional way, that there are so many people throughout the world who have been involved in giving of themselves to God's marginilised- people like Mother Theresa, Abbe Pierre of the Emmaus Community, Frederick Ozanam of the SVDP society, and many other lesser-known examples, but we hope that our efforts also contribute some way towards bringing about the advancement of Jesus' love among those who need it.
Our current spiritual base is St. Simon's, Partick, where we hold our weekly meeting on a Tuesday evening. Our hopes for the future include developing our periodic coffee mornings, and also, if possible, to take part in some form of street work- it's been brought to our attention a few times about the amount of rough sleepers there are in the Partick area where we're based, and I would like to try to reach them, possibility through distributing small food parcels, with Bible quotes attached.
This summary is only a brief account of all the many blessings which God has showered on Marian Action through our years of service to Him, as He blesses the poor man in the parable of Dives and Lazarus(Luke 16:19-31) so He blesses the poor and suffering through our efforts, and hopefully He will do so for many years to come. Marian Action is a splendid way to see how love of Jesus and Mary, expressed through both spiriuality and practical means, can transform lives. If you would like to get involved with Marian Action, please email firstname.lastname@example.org