The fifth century of the Vincentian charism

by | Aug 5, 2017 | Formation, Reflections | 2 comments

Less than 30 years after setting in motion what we call the Vincentian Family, Vincent wrote that he could hardly believe how his family had grown (CCD:IX165-66). Vincent would certainly be even more amazed now after four centuries. As our fifth century dawns, around two million people identify themselves as followers of Vincent and Louise.

Now that I have had the opportunity to read Fr. Robert P. Maloney’s latest book, “A New Century Dawns: Hopes for the Vincentian Family,” I would like to share some introductory remarks and invite you to obtain this book. In subsequent posts, I  hope to present highlights from individual chapters.

Fr. Maloney, 23rd successor to St. Vincent de Paul, writes

“I ask myself how Vincent might direct his Family in responding to today’s global challenges: systemic poverty, frequent economic and political failures in dealing with it, widespread religious indifference but at times fanatical sectarian violence, immense waves of migration, urbanization coupled with homelessness, chronic diseases, some which are quite preventable, and environmental havoc.

Wondering what St. Vincent would say today, Fr. Maloney continues,

Vincent would surely promote local responses to these problems, initiatives based on charity and social justice, but I suspect that,  in this era of globalization, he would focus his worldwide Family’s energies on the larger issues of the day and the need for systemic change. With around two million members, the Family has the capacity to make a significant difference at a global level.

To do that, we need accurate information about where we are, what we are currently doing, and what those living in poverty are asking of us. Precise information will enable us to seek on the global stage with authority that truth bestows and to plan about issues, like homelessness, health, and education, in which we are very much involved.

Getting down to specifics: the contents

As with all of his writings, Fr. Maloney focusses upon key hopes and offers insightful challenges. Each chapter is a gem.

Prologue – Hope is a Feathered Thing

1. 1617-2017: Some Hopes for the Vincentian Family at the Dawn of its 5th Century
2. The International Vincentian Family: What a Family!
3. St. Vincent Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
4. Priscilla and Aquila Set Out Again: The Importance of the Laity within the Church and the Vincentian Family


5. Ten Foundational Principles in the Social Teaching of the Church
6. The Universal Destination of Material Goods: an Oft-Forgotten Truth
7. The Notion of Systemic Change
8. Ten Seeds of Systemic Change in the Life and Works of St. Vincent


9. Vincentian Higher Education: A Door to Systemic Change
10. Frederic Ozanam – A Saint for the Campus
11. Healthcare and a Spirituality of Mercy


12. The Family Will Cease to Exist Unless …
13. The Freedom of the Children of God: Vincent de Paul’s Image-Filled Teaching

Epilogue — Going Deeper as a Family

It is hard to find a book priced at $10 today… let alone one so readable and of such quality. This price puts in range for just about everyone. It makes it possible for leaders to consider bulk purchases for wider distribution to their organizations. Discussion groups could easily adapt the chapters. I hope you are stimulated to buy it.


  1. Rosario

    ¡Está disponible en español?

    • Aidan R. Rooney, C.M.

      We have no information on that. If there is, we will alert everyone on famvin español.

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