We will be sharing a series of reflections made by Vincentian Lay Missionaries and Vincentian Mission Corps participants about their experience serving, how it has impacted their lives and how they continue to live the Vincentian Charism today.
My journey into the Vincentian Tradition began at DePaul University when I arrived for my undergraduate studies in 2008. I was eager to get involved with Catholic Campus Ministry, do service projects, and make some friends along the way. This whole “Vincentian” idea was relatively new to me, and I had a surface level understanding of what it meant for me and those around me.
In my sophomore year, I was one of ten students to live in the Vincent and Louise House on campus. The V&L House was a year-long residential program designed to let a small group of students take a deep dive into exploring intentional community, service, social justice, faith and simple living. This experience allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be Vincentian. “Vincentian” is not just a theory or an intellectual framework, but rather a lifestyle and a commitment.
A few summers later, I spent a month with the Daughters of Charity in Chepnyal, Kenya as a member of the Vincentian Lay Missionaries. This took my understanding of what it means to be Vincentian to another level. I was working with children and women in a small mountainside community in a marginalized part of the world. I learned their names, faces, and stories. I was able to catch the smallest glimpse of what it meant to be in solidarity with those on the margins, if only for a few brief weeks.
These experiences are the foundation for what has inspired me to continue to be Vincentian in my everyday life. I now work in the Division of Mission and Ministry at DePaul. I believe I’ve found my professional calling to foster an understanding of the Vincentian Tradition with students, staff and faculty as DePaul and beyond. I hope to have a lifelong career here at DePaul, where I can continue to learn from Vincent, Louise, Elizabeth, Frederic, Rosalie, and the hundreds of others who have laid the foundation for the successful university we are today.
At home, I live in perpetual community with my wife and former V&L House community member, Jillian. We continue to socialize with our friends who we went to school with and have a similar passion for the Vincentian Tradition. Some of us even get together on a semi-regular basis to intentionally share a meal, reflect and process on the world, our nation, etc. and try to be Vincentian with one another. We find comfort in this; a small, simple way to stay connected to a tradition and way of being that we learned at DePaul.
All of these experiences continue to teach me that this commitment to the Vincentian Tradition is a life long journey. My hope for myself, and all of us, is that we not fall complacent and stagnant. I hope that we do not convince ourselves that we completely understand what it means to be Vincentian. I hope that our experiences, personal and communal, continue to educate, challenge, affirm, and inspire us as we continue this lifelong adventure.
May Vincent, Louise, Elizabeth, Frédéric, and Rosalie continue to bless us as we strive to live as they lived and serve as they served.
Tags: Vincentian Lay Missionaries USA, Vincentian Mission Corps