A Social Conscience: #IamVincent

by | Oct 13, 2016 | Formation, Reflections, Spirituality and Spiritual Practice

A Vincentian has a deeply rooted social conscience that informs her actions. Vincent had that, too.


Vincentian Father Greg Cooney writes:

…the call of conscience becomes a call to personal conversion, requiring a re-orientation of convictions and patterns of behaviour. The conscience that emerges is a critical one; that is, able to recognise and critique the institutions, structures in society and theories that support the convictions and behaviours that one has to leave behind. A critical conscience acquires not only a self-critical aspect, alert to the possibilities of error in its own operation, but also a social dimension.

Conversion is multi-dimensional. It calls for inner change, and a change in the way we view the world. And it means living one’s life with a brutal consistency. Cooney notes:

A telling example of the depth of his convictions in this matter can be found in the forceful, even angry reaction of Vincent when he discovered that the boarders in his own house of San Lazare were being given inferior food and wine and even food left over from the night before. The boarders in the house were made up of two groups: youths sent there to mend their ways and the mentally ill. In all likelihood, the second-rate food and drink was being given to the mentally ill. Speaking to the Brothers and Priests, he reminded them that was never to happen again: these people are to be treated exactly the same as the Vincentian community of the house. It was a matter of justice, he reminded them several times. “This is a matter of confession,” he declared, “and those in charge of the house are to ensure that these good people receive exactly the same as the priests.”

Read this fine and challenging article on our partner site, We are Vincentians. To say #IamVincent means a commitment to developing a critical social conscience and a realistic view of the world, as harsh as that may be.


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