Fr. Robert Maloney delivered the keynote address “Systemic Change and our Vincentian Call to Holiness Today” at a national meeting of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul held in Madison, Wisconsin (USA). It is still a foundational piece of Vincentian thought.
From the beginning of his presentation…
On the 23rd day of April two hundred years ago, Frederic Ozanam was born. He lived to be just 40, but his life was rich, full and very varied. He was a faith-filled Catholic, a loving husband to Amélie his wife, a devoted father to Marie his daughter, a lawyer, an expert in the poet Dante, a much loved university professor, an extraordinary linguist, a prolific writer, a newspaper editor, a candidate for political office, and a faithful friend. We know him most of all as the principal founder of a lay Society that would grow like wildfire and would eventually spread the flame of practical love through the world. It is not length of years that counts. Shakespeare tells us in King Lear: “Ripeness is all” (V. ii 8-11). If fruit grows old and withers on a tree, it is worthless. But if it falls into our hands ripe and full, we taste its sweetness and it nourishes our life.
I have been asked to speak with you today about systemic change. Let me treat the topic in four steps:
1) the notion of systemic change;
2) some seeds of systemic change in Frederic Ozanam’s life and work;
3) systemic change and the home visit;
4) systemic change and God’s call to us as Vincentians to grow in holiness.
You can also download the full address of September 13, 2013 in MS-Word format.