Spiritan Features

Excerpt from address at the launch of Spirasi’s Strategic Plan; 7th March 2018 Brendan Carr, Chairperson of Spirasi’s Board of Directors

What good all your prayer and devotion if the stranger who resides with you is not as a citizen among you; you shall love the stranger as yourself, for you too were strangers and I welcomed you!  Leviticus (19:34) 

Welcome, Minister Stanton. Thank you for taking the time to be with us here this morning at Spirasi (www.spirasi.ie). We are a small voice in society on big issues for Ireland and today’s world, yet you as Minister for Equality, Immigration and Integration would understand the significance of Spirasi as a voice. 

The work of Spirasi, indeed the community that is Spirasi, is a passionate group of people who sense that human impulse to respond to those who find themselves without security among us having experienced “inhuman or degrading treatment” as the UN convention would put it. Since it was set up in 1999 as the Spiritans’ asylum initiative, Spirasi has been intent on creating a space of welcome and calm for the burdened stranger, and on making a path that offers hope to reclaim a dignified life.

Today is a very satisfying day for us who are or were on the Spirasi board, for the incredibly dedicated, skilled and selfless staff who have kept this welcome door open through some very testing years, for the Spiritans who retained their original inspiration despite repeated obstacles, and for our friends who crossed the door for a helping hand. It is satisfying because we have been able to come together in a focused process to reflect on what we might realistically achieve in the next three years.

Our small organisation survives with limited resources, enjoying the generosity of many volunteers and, since the beginning, Spiritan patronage and the annual allocation of funds; now this spanking newly-renovated building is a lifeline. We are grateful to the Christian Brothers and Daughters of Charity who have joined us in trying to improve ‘core funding’, and to AMRI’s Justice Desk which funds the nationwide programme of befriending refugees. As you know, government allocation offers little core funding to back-up this good work with strong management and financial compliance.     

With this reopened space and new plan, Spirasi begins the next phase in its journey of accompaniment of the stranger in our midst. The plan is ambitious but I am confident that the goals that we have set will be reached. If not, it won’t be due to a lack of dedication or ability of staff, volunteers, board-members, supporting congregations, or dear friends who use the Spirasi services.  Thank you!

See also:http://spirasi.ie/news/26th-june-un-international-day-in-support-of-victims-of-torture/