Across the Vincentian Family there is a recognition of the importance of formation for service. Fr. Dennis Holtschneider does a very nice job of connecting service and reflection. As we continue to explore the resources of the Vincentian Encyclopedia there is a treasure in his piece “Starting Point for Vincentian Formation.”
He writes… The word, “Formation,” typically refers to the preparation one should undergo for the service of the poor. In this room, we represent very different lifestyles and types of ministry, so formation is going to look a bit different for each of us. But I believe there are some constants that are true for any Vincentian formation.”
“First, Vincentian formation doesn’t begin with a classroom, or a book, or a lecture. The philosophy of Vincentian formation is a “GO-THEN” philosophy. Go serve them, then come back and talk about it. Go serve them, then begin to ask what works and what doesn’t work. Go serve them, then begin to figure out why they (and others like them) are poor in such a wealthy society. Go serve them, then begin to ask others who serve them how they keep serving over the years. The best learning happens when it’s grounded in real life and real questions. The Vincentian mission must always be deeply rooted in the lives of the poor. Start there. We don’t learn the Vincentian Spirit from a book. We can only get it working with the poor.”
- 1 Initial Comment
- 2 A “GO-THEN” philosophy
- 3 WE FORM EACH OTHER
- 4 IT’S THE POOR WHO MAKE YOU A VINCENTIAN
- 5 IT HELPS TO LEARN THE STORIES, OUR HISTORY AS VINCENTIANS
- 6 SEE TO YOUR NEEDS FIRST
- 7 “IT’S NOT OVER TILL IT’S OVER Theory.”
His thoughts were first presented at the first Vincentian Family Gathering in 2005.
See an outline of each the subsequent Vincentian Family Gatherings.