Fr. Thomas McKenna, CM offers his reflections…
My Friends in Christ,
This issue, I write to you about “A Family Trait.”
More than two million women and men identify themselves as members of the Vincentian Family, as relatives, as it were, of St. Louise de Marillac and St. Vincent de Paul. As with every family, this one too has its characteristic traits. Other people recognize who is in the clan by these attributes.
Here are two Daughters’ views about the identifying markers or traits they see as those true to Daughter of Charity members of the Family.
“In many people’s eyes, Daughters are recognized by their easy direct relationships. This lets them proceed directly to their goal without any complications.”
(Sister Anne Duzan, D.C.).
“A Daughter of Charity can be recognized by a certain simplicity of bearing and language which allows her to be at ease everywhere, without seeking either to attract attention or remain unnoticed.” (Sister Suzanne Guillemin, D.C.).
Straightforward, uncomplicated, direct, genuine, open, transparent — St. Vincent would have used the word “simplicity” to summarize these qualities. He said it was one of God’s own attributes and therefore good in itself. But he also insisted that simplicity was an essential tool for gaining the trust of people who were poor. From their hard-knocks experience of life, they were particularly perceptive at seeing through any falsity or spin. These were the ones Vincent tagged as having “the true religion,” that is, having honesty and openness before their Lord.
Over the years, people in the Vincentian stream have worked to assimilate this key trait. Vincent went so far as to call it “my gospel” – not a bad recommendation for this core ingredient in the Vincentian Family genetic pool.
In Vincent and Louise,
Father Tom McKenna, C.M.