On the occasion of the Vincentian Family Gathering in Indianapolis sixteen leaders of the branches of the Vincentian Family in North America gathered on October 24-25 in Indianapolis, IN to deepen their relationships and to explore further collaboration, especially in the promotion of systemic change in ministry for and with persons living in poverty.
Sisters Mary Ann Daly, SCNY, and Julie Cutter, DC, Chair of the Vincentian Family Collaborators, hosted the meeting. The leadership reviewed the roots of all the branches present and the history of their collaboration as leadership, dating back to 1986 when the Society of St. Vincent de Paul hosted a meeting of leaders at Notre Dame. They reviewed the call by Superior General Robert Maloney, CM, in 2000 to move beyond their own congregations and associations to engage as Vincentian Family. The Gatherings as Vincentian Family and the focus on systemic change since 2006 were highlighted.
Participants reviewed their Leadership Mission Statement and discussed priorities in promotion of the Charism of Charity, especially in engaging young adults and persons living in poverty. The Daughters of Charity of Indianapolis hosted the group for dinner.
On Friday the leadership reviewed a summary of ideas from each branch to educate membership about systemic change and to move toward systemic change in their ministries. They also shared new initiatives including collaborative efforts to counter-act human trafficking around the Super Bowl and other major sports events, the Water With Blessings Project and “No-Fracking Fridays” to call the governor.
Mary Frances Jaster, co-director of Colorado Vincentian Volunteers, described the coordination of Vincentian young adult ministries under the network of MISEVI USA (Mission and Service in the Vincentian Way).
Debbie Weber, Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation of the SC-Cincinnati and convener of the Vincentian Family social justice reps, reported on the progress of this group that meets monthly by conference call to coordinate justice initiatives among 16 US branches. The group shares their material with Canadian groups including the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the Sisters of Charity Federation Maritime Project. Jean Noel Cormier, president of Society SVDP – Canada, and Sister Donna Geernaert, SC-Halifax, reported for the Canadian groups.
The leadership shared ideas for collaboration moving forward and for adapting the Mission Statement to include their new insights. The leadership will gather again in November 2014 in Philadelphia.