Every year approximately 100 leaders in politics, business and art come together for the Heart’s Home Annual Gala Dinner and Fundraiser. This year it will be taking place on May 1, 2018 and it promises to be another special, heartwarming evening filled with good food, entertainment and friendship.
This year we will also honor two incredible human beings. The Compassion Award will be presented to Véronique Christory who works for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Delegation to the UN since 1997. The Claudio Award will be presented to Dr. Julian Lagoy, a psychiatry resident at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine who was a Heart’s Home missionary in the Philippines from 2010-2011.
We caught up with Véronique to talk about what Hearts Home and receiving the award means to her.
How did you first hear about Hearts Home?
A couple of years, I met two extraordinary missionaries Melanie and Laetitia. They profoundly touched me and I was and still am very impressed by their faith, their compassion, their vocation to service the vulnerable people.
What impact has Heart’s Home had on your life?
Each time I meet the team of Heart’s Home in NY, I am inspired, invigorated, strengthened in my faith and grateful that our paths have crossed.
What do you think is the greatest service we can do for our fellow man in the world today?
We need to have more compassion, to be peacemakers everywhere, around the world but also around the corner, in our family and in our community. We need to share more and be more generous.
How has your career path developed through your obvious need to serve humanity and change the world? What was your inspiration?
I always wanted to work for the International Committee of the Red Cross and I am delighted to be part of the institution since 1997.
In the conference rooms of the UN, it sounds very far from the field but I have always in my thoughts people affected by wars and armed violence when I am in the negotiations. I remembered that when we were negotiating the Arms Trade Treaty, I said in a meeting that I was a mother of four children and it always struck me that toys, puzzles and Lego were better regulated that conventional weapons. It was unacceptable. A diplomat came to me and said it was the best argument he ever heard to convince him to negotiate a stronger treaty! During the negotiations of the Treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, I was often thinking of the Hibakusha’s, the survivors of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Achieving a world without nuclear weapons is an obligation to future generations and imperative to preserve our common humanity. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted in July 2017, is a light for all humanity, illuminating a pathway towards a world without nuclear weapons.
What role does God play in your work and life?
God is playing a very important role in my life. As Pope Francis says, having faith does not mean having no difficulties, but having the strength to face them, knowing we are not alone. I also like what Mother Teresa said in an interview:, “I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us, and we change things.”God is a real gift, a strength, a guide to be better person. God is also a source of profound joy and hope.
What advice do you have for people looking to make a difference in the world?
I like this quote from Mother Teresa: If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.
What do you think is the greatest human attribute?
Who are your mentors? Who are the people that have inspired how you live your life?
I don’t have specific mentors. Many people are a true source of inspiration in my life. My husband, our children, my mother, sister and many of my colleagues. Many of our friends are also a great source of inspiration as they are “fighting” for a better world in many different fields. I am also inspired by Pope Francis.
Any other thoughts you would like to add?
Someone said that compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity. I agree. I think we can only be happy when we love, serve and give.
If you are new to the Heart’s Home mission, it is an international Catholic community of volunteers with 42 houses in 26 countries, on 4 continents. Each Heart’s Home is a community of 4 -7 young adults living in a poor neighborhood and sharing a simple life with those in their immediate environment.
These homes are open 24/7 affording people a chance to be listened to and welcomed warmly at any time of day. It is a ministry of friendship for those who are suffering and feel isolated. The mission also extends to those that are living in orphanages, nursing homes and jails.
The Heart’s Home in New York City is situated in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and serves as both a neighborhood home and a training center for American volunteers.
The Heart’s Home Annual Gala will take place on May 1, 2018 from 6:30 – 9:30PM at the Church of the Virgin Mary – 216 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (Prospect Park). The Individual ticket price is $250, $175 of which is tax-deductible. You can book a ticket or a table by contacting Cecile Fourmeaux: [email protected] or 917 399 8256