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The Vincentian Family is made of many and diverse branches and people. The personalities and spirituality of St. Vincent, St. Louise, St. Elizabeth Seton, Bl. Frédéric, and of many others have so many facets that it is difficult to cover them in full. We tend to focus on one of these facets, which are like the facets of a single prism that illustrates what being united and gathering together means, and thus helps us attain unity and togetherness.

Working collaboratively involves spending time getting to know each other, to adapt oneself to the common task, and often to practice renunciation by leaving our “comfort zone.” The reward, however, is undoubtedly worth the effort. Working collaboratively makes for our achieving our goals more efficiently. Collaboration gives us access to ideas, resources and contacts that we would not otherwise have. Apart from sharing risks and improving efficiency, we can help others to achieve their own goals, in addition to proposed common goals.

Our companions on the journey of collaboration inspire us, make us see landscapes that might otherwise go unnoticed:

  • Dealing with lay people makes us live the charism from an experience that is closer to the problems out there on the street, in the family, work, the struggle to live from day to day.
  • Dealing with consecrated persons makes us admire the effort in their total and unconditional commitment.
  • Dealing with young people makes us aware of the many difficulties and struggles that come with being a teenager or young Vincentian today.
  • Dealing with movements that are more dedicated to the advancement of the poor, to fighting injustice and promoting Systemic Change, impels us to live a charism that is strongly rooted in the Gospel as Good News for everyone, but especially for those despised by the world.
  • Dealing with Marian movements reminds us that the Virgin Mary, whom we venerate under the title of Miraculous, was servant of the humble and intercessor of the needy, a living example of what a good Vincentian must likewise be.
  • Dealing with missionary movements reminds us that “our house is the world,” and that there is much more that lies beyond the boundaries of our house, people, movement, city …
  • Dealing with branches that are dedicated to preaching the Gospel reminds us that we are not strangers to the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ; that Vincentians must have a presence in the broadcast media that are like a loudspeaker; that the Internet and Social Networks are resources that must be used to form, serve and make everyone aware of the need to live a Gospel that is alive and relevant.

Surely, as noted before, this can cause some insecurity that going to our “comfort zone” supposes. Let’s recall, then, Pope Francis’ words: We are a Church that goes forth, with doors wide open, a camping tent … we are a Vincentian Family that goes forth, willing to take up challenges, willing to make mistakes even. Our common point of reference is Jesus Christ, evangelizer of the poor. Our challenge: to give an affective and effective witness to the love of God, revealed in Jesus Christ, through the action of the Holy Spirit, in order to continue working for the Kingdom of God, a kingdom of justice and peace, where the last shall be first… and vice versa.

For reflection and dialogue:

  1. Do the spiritual riches and actions my Vincentian brothers and sisters take inspire me?
  2. Am I willing to take risks in collaborative work, with the rest of the Vincentian Family, or do I prefer to stay in my own comfort zone, in the work I have already structured and in which I am quite settled?
  3. Do I give importance to the media? Do I use it to promote peace and justice?
  4. How is the presence of my local group or Vincentian branch on the Internet? Are the contents of my local group’s website updated? Does the website give enough information about what is done and what should be done, about our Vincentian charism? Do I denounce in the website’s contents the injustices we experience around us?

Javier F. Chento
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