Untold Vincentian Stories!

by | May 7, 2015 | News, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Vincentian Family

Barringer CEODavid W. Barringer, CEO of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, writes to the Society of the untold Vincentian stories…  but the words apply to every branch of the Vincentian Family.

From Your Servant Leader May 7, 2015

Let me tell you a story…

When we hear these words our ears perk up and we listen a little more carefully. After all, we are a people and culture of story-telling. Everyone has a family story, a work story and a favorite funny story. As Catholics our stories are a large part of our faith. The Bible’s Old Testament is full of stories handed down by mouth over generations before finally being committed to writing. In the New Testament, the stories are fresher. Is there a more famous story than the one of our Savior, Jesus Christ? Our entire faith is based on such stories. That’s how powerful stories can be, that an entire religion is based on the re-telling of what happened centuries ago. So why is it in the Society that we shy away from telling our own stories? We have this powerful tool at our disposal, and thousands of Vincentians to tell our stories, yet our culture has been one of humility and such quiet service to others that our story is largely untold

So why is it in the Society that we shy away from telling our own stories? We have this powerful tool at our disposal, and thousands of Vincentians to tell our stories, yet our culture has been one of humility and such quiet service to others that our story is largely untold and therefore unheard.

We have two principal Vincentian stories to tell. The first is of the path into, and hopefully later out of, poverty by our friends in need. While we don’t want to name names and identify individuals without permission, our home visits and other in-person interactions put us in position to hear so many compelling stories of tragedy, despair, choices, redemption, perseverance and success. This type of story is so important because we interact with people who can influence the outcome of such stories. But first they need to know about the people we serve. You see, we can’t care about what we don’t know about. Elected officials, public servants, corporate leaders etc., etc., can do so much more but only if they know enough about the problem to care. So long as poverty is considered somewhere else, it remains out of sight and out of mind to be dealt with by someone else. It only becomes our own problem if we hear the stories of poverty and the people suffering in it from our friends in our own neighborhood.

The second type of story we can tell is our own; that is, the work of the Society. We certainly have so much to tell! But here is where our humility gets in the way of our ability to generate support. As Vincentians we don’t look for praise from others but from God alone. We don’t crow about our good works or look for a pat on the back.

Perhaps it would be easier if we tell each other’s stories. If we tell the story of another Vincentian’s work, or of another Conference’s services, maybe it would be easier to shed some light on the Society’s activities and results, generating in turn more volunteers and financial support. We know these stories and we are proud to associate and serve with these other Vincentians. Again, we don’t need to use their names. Many a great story begins with “I know a guy…” We can work harder to use traditional and social media to tell the Society’s story, and we will. But nothing is more powerful than a story told in person, one on one or to a small group, especially when told with the conviction of a personal experience. If each member told a Society story to five people this year, more than a million Americans would come to know us and likely support our work. They might even want to join us! We are a Society, but let’s not be a secret society. Let’s go forth and be storytellers of the Society’s friends in need and how we walk with them. Let us be this generation’s Luke, Matthew, John, Mark and other disciples who spread our faith through our story. Yours in Christ, Dave

We can work harder to use traditional and social media to tell the Society’s story, and we will. But nothing is more powerful than a story told in person, one on one or to a small group, especially when told with the conviction of a personal experience. If each member told a Society story to five people this year, more than a million Americans would come to know us and likely support our work. They might even want to join us! We are a Society, but let’s not be a secret society. Let’s go forth and be storytellers of the Society’s friends in need and how we walk with them. Let us be this generation’s Luke, Matthew, John, Mark and other disciples who spread our faith through our story. Yours in Christ, Dave

We are a Society, but let’s not be a secret society. Let’s go forth and be storytellers of the Society’s friends in need and how we walk with them. Let us be this generation’s Luke, Matthew, John, Mark and other disciples who spread our faith through our story. Yours in Christ, Dave

Yours in Christ, Dave

Frédéric’s E-Gazette
An e-newsletter from the National Council of the U.S. Society of St. Vincent de Paul®

0 Comments

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This