“I am writing to introduce and commend the work of Depaul International, a group of charities founded and grounded in the Vincentian spirit, working with homeless and disadvantaged people around the world. Currently Depaul International has subsidiary charities in the UK, Ireland (including Northern Ireland), Slovakia, Ukraine and the USA, with plans to expand into other countries when invited and when resources allow. ”
Complete text… ( Fr Greg to Vincentian Family April 2010 – Word Format )
Dear Vincentian Family Members
I am writing to introduce and commend the work of Depaul International, a group of charities founded and grounded in the Vincentian spirit, working with homeless and disadvantaged people around the world. Currently Depaul International has subsidiary charities in the UK, Ireland (including Northern Ireland), Slovakia, Ukraine and the USA, with plans to expand into other countries when invited and when resources allow.
Depaul International is different from other groups within the Vincentian Family in the sense that the majority of their staff are paid professionals who are supported by volunteers, rather than a religious order or a lay association. These staff and volunteers are drawn from all faiths or none, and are recruited not only for their specialist skills but also on the basis of their understanding and acceptance of the Vincentian Values and tradition that underpin Depaul International’s mission – a commitment to work with the poorest of the poor, to focus on action rather than words, to be innovative unto infinity and to be a bridge between the rich and the poor.
This understanding and commitment to Vincentian Values is further developed by an ongoing formation program. In particular there is a six month course for full time staff which promotes Leadership in Vincentian Values centred at the Rue de Sevres in Paris. This focuses on the practical and spiritual evolution of the Vincentian Movement with contributions from across the Vincentian Family including Fr Hugh O’Donnell who is a trustee of Depaul International. There are also practical modules which explore how Vincentian Values impact on management practices today and bring Vincent, Louise and Frederic alive to a new and diverse audience.
Depaul International was established in 1989 by members of the Vincentian Family resident in the UK, hence the name of the charity. The Daughters of Charity, the Congregation of the Mission, the Society of St Vincent de Paul and the AIC continue to play an active role in both the management and governance of the Depaul Group wherever it works in the world as well as being represented on the board of Depaul International itself.
Depaul International now has 70 projects and programs working with 7,000 people each year. These range from the large nightshelter in Slovakia, which accommodates over 200 individuals, to the outreach service for street children in Ukraine, from the hostel for elderly street drinkers in Ireland to the training programs for young homeless people in the UK. The latest addition is Depaul House in Philadelphia, USA which provides accommodation and access to employment for those leaving the emergency shelter programs in the city.
The exciting thing about Depaul International is its commitment to work in partnership with other members of the Vincentian Family wherever that is possible. It is the Daughters of Charity who provide the nursing care in Slovakia; it is SVP conferences which visit and support the homeless in some of the shelters in Ireland; it is the Congregation of the Mission who provided the building for the work in the USA; it is the AIC who provide the volunteers who serve the food on the minibus outreach service in Ukraine; and the Vincentian Millennium Partnership in the UK plays an important role in supporting and developing Depaul’s staff and volunteer team, as well as clients, through residential retreats and training days.
Depaul International sees its greatest strength as being this connection with the Vincentian Family, and I hope that these practical partnerships for the poor can be extended to other countries as well as growing within existing ones. It is a new expression of the legacy of Vincent and Louise, and we have much to learn from each other.
To find out more information about Depaul International their website is www.depaulinternational.org or contact their Group Chief Executive, Mark McGreevy, directly through firstname.lastname@example.org
Yours in St Vincent
Fr Gregory Gay CM
Congregation of the Mission