The concept of being a member of the global Vincentian Family.

MY VINCENTIAN VISA IS UP TO DATE – IS YOURS?

I am, like you, very conscious about passports, visas, borders, immigration status and all associated security words and barriers these days! I will be glad of my dual nationality when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union on October 31. This summer I felt very much Irish-British-European in the United States of America as people went from speculating about BREXIT to enjoying talking about their ancestors. One aspect that didn’t need speculating on was our Vincentian charism and how it played out in the variety of missions on offer by the variety of members.

It amazes me how many and various are the ways that we collaborate and find ways to “tweak” our founding charism. The founders of the 150 plus different Vincentian Family branches worldwide would be filled with delight to see their principles played out on a daily basis.

When we meet, we can’t help it – we talk “Vincentian.” We value and recall our roots. We are very much Vincent’s children living and acting in mission on the “signs of the times.”

The variety of our missions includes active, influential participation in ground breaking work in the United Nations New York by our volunteer AIC and SVP NGOs working alongside the Congregation of the Mission, Daughters of Charity and Sisters of Charity Foundation whose mission is to work for social justice for people in need.

Across the East River, in Brooklyn, the vibrant Vincentian multicultural parish of St. John Baptist is led and managed by Fr. Astor Rodriquez, CM. Naturally joyous, and gifted with wonderful relationship skills, Fr. Astor concentrates on the positive present, and parks the problems of the scarred environment, so his people witness in joy and hope!

So is this unique? Not a bit of it! In Macon, Georgia, the Daughters of Charity live and work within the Franciscan parish of St. Peter Claver. They lead and manage in the school, parish and Daybreak Day Centre for the homeless, which in turn is part of the Depaul International network of homeless shelters. Sr. Elyse Staab, DC, former Visitatrix, facilitates both local and national Affiliates, spiritual formation for both the national SVDP and the Ladies of Charity and nurturing a new Postulant!

 

Vincentians never retire – they metamorphise like butterflies!

In Cincinnati, my reception as a new Associate of the Sisters of Charity marks a moving moment in my Vincentian life. The concept of Associates and Affiliates is numerically strong, and according to the Global Sisters Report is at a tipping point in relation to consecrated religious. Does the laity feel reliant on the religious or wholly equal in our joint mission? This lay confidence is needed for the continuance of our charism beyond the present lives of religious members.

The visit to Kentucky Sisters of Charity of Nazareth demonstrated how a new Bardstown Diocese in a developing 19thCentury United States valued these women who transcended the difficulties – pioneers all!

My journey of discovery and contemplation on the developing global Vincentian Family came full circle in Alabama. Here I found the second portrait of Fr. Thomas Judge at the Holy Trinity Shrine in Fort Mitchell. A Congregation of the Mission priest to the end, Fr. Judge created a lay order in St. John the Baptist Parish, Brooklyn to carry forth the mission, which in turn became the Missionary Cenacle of the Blessed Trinity of both lay and consecrated members. A rebel or a prophet – you choose!

The leaders of these branches will be among the 150 who will meet in Rome for FAMVIN 2020 at the first ever gathering of Vincentian Family leaders. Will you be watching the live streaming and seeing first-hand how we “talk Vincentian”? How will it impact on you and your mission?

  • On which branch of the tree is your leaf? Do you see the branches beyond yours? Maybe you are one of the 2 million un-associated Vincentians. You will be represented at FAMVIN 2020 Rome too.
  • Do you feel branch bound or have the other branches and the bigger tree in your sights? Maybe you could research the work of other branches and consider collaboration.
  • Do the roots of our founders feed your present mission both spiritually and in reality. Maybe accessing FAMVIN formation section will enhance your experience.

 

Dee Mansi is a lay member of AIC, Vincentian Collaboration Commission, Vincentian Family Executive Committee & Depaul Assembly; a retired School Principal, Schools Inspector and Leadership in Education Lecturer. Dee is Irish, living in London with her husband and son, she travels in Europe and beyond.


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