Vincentian Charism

by | Apr 25, 2016 | Formation, Reflections


Vincentian Charism – True Mercy – Shepherd of His Flock – Christ Among the Poor

Vincentian Day of Fast and Prayer – Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Vincentian Charism – ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me. . . (Matthew 25:35) “We will be celebrating the 400th anniversary of Vincentian Charism in 2017.”   This was a Global Decision to mark the 400th anniversary.  “It was in 1617, while preaching in the parish church of Chatillon, that Vincent exhorted his congregation to take responsibility for a poor family from the parish that had taken seriously ill and were in need of food and comfort. The family was saved by the overwhelming response to this call to action and Vincent as a result had his great realization that for charity to be effective it must be properly organized – an event which has changed the world for the last 400 years” (Taken from on April 19, 2016 Take the time to read the entire article.  We have come a long way but still serve those in need and we still welcome the stranger.  As an added note Canada SSVP is in the process of writing a book on their 170 years of serving the poor in Canada.  Anyone wanting to follow our author En route with/pour l’histoire Suivre le trajet / Follow the journey on Facebook Carnet de voyage / Journal sur  I am finding the stops and pictures very fascinating.  Prayers and blessings to Louise for her marvelous work and time commitment.  Today our Vincentian family is worldwide.

True Mercy – We are washed clean through the waters of baptism, and daily we are invited to renew those baptismal promises—to return to the right path and to accept the forgiveness of Christ. God patiently waits for us to approach that fountain of mercy so that we can become whole and holy. This is the beginning of our holiness.  It doesn’t end at baptism, we need to continue to renew.  In the very depths of forgiveness is a connection to God for which we all long; when we seek forgiveness—either the ability to give it or to get it.  We cling to God because He is the source of Love and forgiveness which cannot be separated, one from the other, without diminishing their very essence, their very intent: to spend our eternal life with God.  No true mercy exists apart from Him. Bringing mercy to others will bring us joy and the joy will spread as with God’s Mercy and love.  “Joy is a great remedy. I recommend it to you and I do so very enthusiastically…! Be joyful! I say it again ‘be joyful’! When we are joyful, we are less aware of evil and are cured more quickly. Cast all your cares on God; He is the best of fathers and will look after you as well as possible.”  – Blessed Giuseppina Nicoli (1863-1924).  When I was in sin, the sight of lepers nauseated me beyond measure; but then God himself led me into their company, and I had pity on them. When I had once become acquainted with them, what had previously nauseated me became a source of spiritual and physical consolation for me. -—St. Francis.  We then receive true mercy by going to confession, asking for forgiveness and forgiving others.  The next gift God gives us is pure joy as we serve all He places before us.

Shepherd of His Flock – Many people in our world are like sheep without a shepherd, wandering aimlessly, seeking a salvation they don’t even understand. We are called to bring them into Jesus’ flock and help make them ready for His kingdom. In one way or another we are all shepherds of God’s flock. We worry about knowing the right people, having the perfect job, texting and having the best cell phone. So many times I say I wish I could slow down.  The reality, though, is that I am the only one preventing that from happening. I talk a lot about finding your quiet spot and talking to God.  He has all the answers and loves us more than we’ll ever know.  When I find my quiet place and listen, I become a different person.  I no longer care about material things.  I hardly even use my cellphone or even know where it is.  Reading Holy Scripture helps us to become Shepherds for Jesus. Pray for the young people and celebrate the joy of Vincentian youth groups.  We are so blessed.  The Church—confident in the assurance of the Lord Jesus to be with us at all times, even the darkest and seemingly hopeless times—stands as a beacon of light and hope in an otherwise darkening world. Its hopes are rooted in the goodness of God, surely, but also in the radical goodness of humanity. We need to work with God.  Catholic social teaching reminds us it is not enough to passively await God’s kingdom in the next life. We are also called to build His kingdom now, by working as shepherds to remove injustice, discrimination, poverty terrorism and disease from our midst.  God will give us all the tools and strength we need to Shepherd His Flock.  Our role is to say, “Yes Lord” and be ready.

Christ Among the Poor – Vincentians are called to follow Christ and He does so from the midst of our friends the poor.  We answer His call and tend to His flock.  This is our mission. We have to ask the burning questions:  “Who are the Poor?’  “How often do I help them?”  “Do I just give them food and necessities?”  In this we need to pray.  We need to ask for these answers. We have to know the value of those in poverty.  God Calls us and places them before us and asks us to serve. We serve them with the love and Mercy of God, because they are our friends, our brothers and sisters.  We know God loves them as much as He loves us, so we go with Him with our Christian love with patience, kindness to share hope. We do not go because of sympathy, patting them on the head, saying “There, there now!  Everything will be okay!” We bring the Gospel with us, not by word, but by our actions of gentle, genuine kindness. So by loving them we look for solutions to lift them from their poverty giving them a new start.  This is harder to do, so we seek help and we collaborate with others to work with us, not for us.  St. Vincent often spoke about encountering Christ in the poor. We need to pray and search to see Christ always in others, but especially those in need.  In my parish during the sign of Peace our priest calls us to see Christ in our neighbour and to give the sign of peace with a smile of joy as we encounter Christ.  Christ is among the poor, we need to pray always in our service.    Listen to those we serve and be servant.  He is with them and with us.  Believe!

Blessings, Lynn