The important role that Vincent gave to the laity shows him as a precursor of the Second Vatican Council. His teaching and practice echoed through the Blessed Frederic Ozanam and his influence on the development of the social doctrine of the Church and the Encyclical of Leo XIII. In the early 20th century it led Thomas Judge, CM, a priest of the Eastern Province of the USA to found what is today known and the Trinitarian Family and Pere Lebbe to be instrumental in empowering “Catholic Action” (“lay ministry”) in China.
The following study provides the background to Vincent’s promotion of the laity in his times as manifested in Vincent and the Confraternities, Marguerite Nasseau, the first Daughter and the Daughters of Charity … a family of laywomen.
The study concludes with some questions for today…
In all his activity as he responded to the urgent and immediate needs of the poor, Vincent knew how to enlist collaborators. At the same time Vincent communicated to government and church officials the calls that he perceived as he encountered the poor in their different situations.
- How do we affirm, help and support those who collaborate with us in our ministry?
- What criteria do we use in choosing collaborators?
- What do we hope to achieve through our ministry?
- How are we the voice of the voiceless?
Outline of the article in the Vincentian Encyclopedia