Vincentian tools that we like to call “virtues”

by | Nov 3, 2019 | Formation, Spirituality and Spiritual Practice

In a classic article from the Vincentian Heritage Journal archives, Fr. Aidan Rooney, C.M. speaks of “a treasure hunt for Vincentian Mission Values”:

Our tradition has provided tools that we like to call “virtues”– ways of acting, speaking and living, lenses for perception– which make the search for values possible. I suggest that humility, that is, the realization that one is not the center of the universe (nor is any particular community the center, either); simplicity, the ability to honestly assess how our own needs affect our ability to engage in the treasure hunt; and zeal, the willingness to stay at the task, even though the field does not provide much shade on a hot summer day, are the principal tools of the Vincentian treasure hunter. But the [tool] bag is full of stuff that we do not need to carry around. So, step three: get rid of useless tools. I suggest that there are three tools we carry around in our bag which we would be advised to leave at home (or maybe even return to where we got them). These, too, are lenses of perception, but might be better called “vices.” The first is that arrogance that comes from being educated and upper middle class: we think we know. The second is control– our unwillingness to be led by another to a place bereft of safety (there could be snakes in the grass in that field). Finally, complacency, the tendency to be content with the little tarnished community or corporate heirlooms we bring out of storage every year or so and proudly proclaim, “Look at our treasures!”


How simple, how humble, how zealous am I? How arrogant, how controlling, how complacent? But [these questions] cannot remain individualized. To truly enable us to live, corporately, Vincentian Mission Values– whatever they are– these questions must be asked of our planning and decision making structures as well.

Rooney, Aidan C.M. (1998) “Wherever your treasure lies there also will your heart be,” Vincentian Heritage Journal: Vol. 19 : Iss. 1, Article 10.

This slide presentation reflects on the traditional five Vincentian Virtues:

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