At the 2017 celebration of Vincentian Family Day, Christine Murphy became the newest Affiliate of the Congregation of the Mission. As honorary members of our spiritual family in the Vincentian charism, Vincentian Affiliates are those whom our priests, brothers, and entire Vincentian community honor for steadfast service to our Congregation and sharing in our spirituality and mission. In the words of our Superior General, Fr. Tomaž Mavrič, Chris is “joyfully recognized [as a friend] who, in spirit, word, and deed [merits] the gratitude of the Vincentian Community.”
I was privileged to spend some time with Chris Murphy reflecting on her time as Secretary to our Provincial Fr. Mike Carroll.
After years supporting the medical missions of Children’s Hospital and of Doylestown Hospital, Chris was not sure what to expect when she considered working for the Congregation of the Mission as Secretary to the Provincial.
She did know that her good friend from her parish, JoAnn Busfield Frekot spoke glowingly of her own experience in the position. Although she had grown up in St. Vincent’s Parish, Chris did not realize that it was staffed by a particular kind of priest: Vincentians.
Fr. McKenna – JoAnn Busfield Frekot – Chris Murphy
That was then. Now twelve years later, she looks back and thanks God for the invitation and the experiences of those years. When I asked her about her plans she said two things: “How could I go to another job after this?” and “I will play and do a bit of travel.”
She was also quick to add that she looks forward to giving back to her local community, “I’d hate the confreres think after 12 years of their charism I was just going to “play” my life away!”
In the immediate future, she looks forward to some more time at her favorite vacation spot in Cape May, which she has visited every year for the past twenty-five.
One of the first Vincentians she met on the job was Fr. Richie Rock. It turned out that he had celebrated the Eucharist for her parents. She now came to know him and so many others as Vincentians. What struck her most was the warm welcome she received from everyone.
She also came appreciate the opportunity she described as “making a difference” by what she was doing. Seeing the big picture through the lens of the people she served and who passed through the office, she realized her own sense of mission.
But during those years, we also came to know her; she quickly became identified as the “go to” person in the Provincial Office. She could be counted on for quiet smiling service. Her “boss”, Fr. Carroll, knew he could count on her to find just the paper or file he needed. Confreres appreciated her attention to detail.
When I asked her how the job has changed, she was quick to point to the tremendous increase of paperwork called for by Praesidium, the accrediting agency the Congregation uses to ensure compliance with child safety in all our ministries.
In response to my question about what she learned during her years, without hesitation she said how caring the confreres are toward each other and those they serve.
And the Congregation of the Mission thanks her with recognition as an Affiliate of the Congregation.
From Fr. Carroll’s petition to the Superior General for the affiliation of Chris Muphy:
She has served the Provincial, the Council, and the Confreres of the Eastern Province as Assistant Provincial Secretary for three years and as the Provincial Secretary for the last nine years. She has been invaluable in her expertise and in her personal qualities of relating with the men in the province, the dioceses, and the many individual needs that arise in her position.
Christine has lived the mission of St. Vincent de Paul in both her parish and in the broader community. She has been a member of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Doylestown for the past 30 years: participates yearly in their Advent Gift Tree, participates monthly in the St. Vincent de Paul Food drive, a former Eucharistic Minister and a former member of the Bereavement Committee.
Christine has been very involved in assisting in various charities in both the Philadelphia and Bucks County area, including her consistent support of the various activities of Children’s Hospital, along with preparing meals for those in need through Aid for Friends, which serves the underserved in the community. These are but a few examples of the many ways in which Christine shares in our Vincentian spirit. She is clearly a woman living our Vincentian values.
On behalf our entire community, I want to personally thank Chris for her many years of steadfast service to the Vincentians. Chris, you have blessed us faithfully with your gentle way. May St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac and all of your fellow Vincentians bless you and intercede for you before our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Welcome to our spiritual family, Christine!
The Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity joyfully recognized the special place of those friends who, in spirit, word, and deed merit the gratitude of the Vincentian Community.
As sign of our gratitude, we willingly receive Christine Murphy into the Spiritual Family of St. Vincent de Paul.
By this document, we grant her a share in all the blessings, prayers, and good works of our Spiritual Family
Given at Rome at the General Curia of our Congregation, on the 4th day of April in the year of our Lord, 2017
Tomaz Mavric, CM