Encounter of young educators and leaders of the Vincentian Educational Centers of Chile, to live the formative experience centered on the events of Folleville and Châtillon.
The Vincentian Family has been invited to celebrate the 400th aniversary of the Charism, as a way to return to the sources of the Gift received to project its mission through time, with renewed ardor, following the example of Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Louise de Marillac.
In this context, the central team of the Red Educativa Vicentina [Vincentian Education Network], on the initiative of Sister María Isabel Ruiz, Provincial Visitor, and Sister Rosana Cortés, Education Officer, wanted to symbolize this commitment to the Charism by having a meeting centered in the experiences of Folleville and Châtillon, events in which St. Vincent de Paul had the call of God to conversion to the poorest and to organize the style of service.
The objectives of this meeting, which took place April 20-22, were:
a) To strengthen the Vincentian leadership in the various Vincentian Educational Centers, in order to project the charismatic animation in the different areas of the educational communities.
b) To deepen and experience the process of personal and institutional conversion that, for the Vincentian family, is symbolized in the Folleville experience.
c) To deepen and to experience the pedagogy of the systemic change, as a key element to live the charity from the perspective of Saint Vincent, symbolized in the experience of Châtillon.
d) To discern training and growing processes.
The first day of the meeting was a space of great dialogue between participants, creating small families to deepen and take into account the situations of students who feel like “foreigners” in our Vincentian Educational Centers, such as the rejected, the rebels, the bullyed, etc. The joy and enthusiasm were in each of the activities developed in the afternoon, around the theme “Wheels,” which led branches to design the characteristics that a Vincentian Educational Center should have, as a vehicle to maneuver in our realities: Fuel, traction, wheels, direction, rearview, etc. Finally, we ended with a beautiful moment of prayer called, “Exodus towards Easter: from Folleville to Châtillon,” in which various stations were created to underline different events of the Gospel on the encounter with Jesus, linking them with episodes of the life of St. Vincent de Paul.
On Friday, the first theme was the deepening of the Folleville event, understood as the inner journey of Vincent that lead him to the conversion to the poor, who have physiological and spiritual needs.
The second theme was Châtillon, a sign of projection and organization of charity: the journey from improvisation to organization. As a consequence of this theme, the participants asked about how our schools live Folleville and Châtillon, and discovered ten actions that we must prioritize today to update the experience of Châtillon in our Vincentian Educational Centers. Both themes were directed by Sr. María Isabel Ruiz, Provincial Visitor.
After lunch, Sister Lucía Gómez addressed the theme “Mâcon: The city of chaos and learning, a challenge of yesterday and today,” through which participants became aware of a decisive fact of novelty that brought the action of Vincent de Paul, in a population where the disorganization of charity allowed abuses and poor organization.
Finally, Mr. Winston Elphick directed the reflection on Systemic Change, presenting it as fuel and route, passion and strategy. Participants were invited to develop a Project by educational community, which would respond to the diverse needs that are seen in it, and that would take on the criteria or principles of Systemic Change: long-range social impact, sustainability, repeatability, extension and innovation.
At the end of the night there was a moment to sharing, in distension and joy, through which branches demonstrated their artistic skills.
On Saturday, the last day, participants were invited to reflect on their leadership and Systemic Change applied to their own professional responsibilities, for which they were asked to each develop a personal project to carry out in their Vincentian Educational Center.
The meeting ended with a beautiful Eucharist presided over by Father Francisco Ibacache, who helped us, through the Gospel of the Day, to deepen the encounter of each of us with the Risen One and the need to change our lives to announce the Joy of the Resurrection. At the end of the Eucharist, sisters Maria Isabel and Rosana invited each of the participants to feel responsible for the charism in their communities, being a positive leader among colleagues and students. Finally, the sisters gave the participants a backpack as a sign of the need to be well prepared for this mission of renewing the Vincentian charism.
We thank all the participants of the meeting for their enthusiasm, commitment and experience.