Serving is a big part of what it means to be a Vincentian, wherever you are. To put yourself on the side of God’s poorest, and to reflect on that experience is what has helped us understand our charism throughout the centuries. Anyone can serve, but to peer more deeply into the experience is key. That’s how a Vincentian encounters Jesus.
Niagara University has a long tradition of inviting its students to get involve in service with the “least of these.” During the vacation days around Christmas, a group of Vincentians from Niagara University traveled to Nicaragua to serve. Kelly Fitzpatrick was one of them. They were building a house. Says Kelly, “We asked the million-dollar Vincentian question: What must be done? The answer was plain and simple: hard work”. In a reflective moment, Kelly makes the connection between service and justice, as she strives to live the Vincentian charism with the “strength of her arms and the sweat of her brow.”
The hard work paid off, especially knowing that so many loving hands and hearts went into its success. Seeing Derwin walk around the inside of the new house with a smile on his face and a stuffed Monte in his hands was a real-life image of exactly what we were all feeling in our hearts. It was a reminder of the Vincentian mission and our call to answer it. It was a reminder that even though there is so much injustice in the world, small acts can add up to change it, even if it is just for one person or family at a time.
You can read the full story of Kelly’s experience, in her own words, here on her Niagara University blog. Are you a young Vincentian? Do you have a story to tell? Contact me by commenting on this article, or twitter message @famvin . #IamVincent. So is Kelly. So are you.