Simplicity: My Vincentian Story

by | Jul 6, 2017 | Formation, Reflections

“I fell in love the way you fall asleep; slowly, and then all at once.” -John Green

My Vincentian Story begins in a church. As I grew up and learned about Catholicism, I always felt as if there was something missing. When I came to DePaul and learned the story of St. Vincent, I felt as though I had found the missing piece that completed the puzzle of my faith.

When I got to DePaul I found myself getting involved with weekly service and University Ministry programs. I was in the EDGE Program my first year, and from there I established weekly service as a part of my faith practice. I learned how to use reflection to deepen my understanding of service and what systemic issues contribute to the need for services like Refugee One, the Vincent DePaul Soup Kitchen, elderly care, daycare and after-school programs for youth. Perhaps the most significant Vincentian learning experience I had was the year that I lived in the Vincent and Louise House.

The Vincent and Louise house is an experience where you are encouraged to incorporate Vincentian values into every aspect of life. I learned that everyone lives their own faith in a different way. I found my own way of weaving the story of St. Vincent into the story of my life. I have always been shaped more by people than by places, and I found that spending so much time with people from a variety of different backgrounds and life experiences helped me understand the Vincentian spirit.

Within our community, we had a diverse group of interests and personalities. I learned more about cooking, vegetables, health, self-love, social justice, faith, and family from my housemates. It would be impossible to name every little detail of my house experience that changed me, but it all added up to a few strong friendships, a stronger faith, and a lot of inspiration for my future.

The V&L House goes on a week-long service trip to Daybreak in Macon, Georgia, where we spend a week volunteering with the people who utilize their services. It was a bonding experience for us as well as an opportunity to use our own community to support another community.
Daybreak provides a lot of tangible services like food, showers, and job searching resources for its guests, but it also provides something more important- community, friendship, and human connection.

Intentional Community, Social Justice, Faith, Community Service, Simple Living.

To this day, I would say that one of the biggest turning points in my Vincentian story was when I stepped into St. Vincent’s parish for the first time, during a college visit tour. I was not only struck by the beauty of the parish, but by the legacy of service to the poor that the tour guide described. I credit St. Vincent with guiding me towards a more full life, where I recognize the human dignity in those around me, and find simplicity in everything I do.

Vincentian Values and My Life

What Vincentian Values do I think about the most? What parts of my Vincentian education stood out above all else? Here are a few important Vincentian ideas that have been etched onto my heart.

Care for Creation. Catholic social teachings are highly underrated. I challenge myself every day to think about what I can do to be more sustainable, be a steward of the natural world, and connect humans to the ecosystem we inhabit.

Transparency. Although this can be a challenge, it is important to be transparent in your words, actions, and feelings. Only through transparency can we successfully communicate and recognize the human dignity in others.

Service. I have found that long-term service on a regular basis can help build connections and community that are impossible to establish in a short amount of time.

Use your gifts to help others. It’s as simple as that. No matter where my career takes me, I will always be looking for ways to live out my Vincentian values in little ways and in big ones. I will use my skills and talents to lift people up, especially those who are at a disadvantage. I trust St. Vincent to guide me.

from Meet me at the mission (DePaul University)


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