THE VINCENTIAN MISSION IS CREATING GLOBAL IMPACT!

STREET HOMELESSNESS – IT’S SO PERVASIVE WE NO LONGER SEE IT !

A series of Vincentian events have created a perfect storm! It’s the type of storm that creates discomfort, clears away the clutter, stirring up the half-hidden and given norms of a smug, self-satisfied society. Surely all our social institutions, secular and religious, have tabulated all social ills, and been addressing them successfully or unsuccessfully for centuries!

What can it be that infuses the Vincentian charism of its members to challenge the carefully constructed Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and, Yes! – Catholic Social Teaching?

Attending the launch of the book, Street Homelessness and Catholic Theological Ethics, in London and just freshly home from the ***Vincentian Family Leaders Gathering in Rome – ‘FAMVIN 2020 The Vincentian Family Moving Forward,’ I was struck by the confluence of several emerging missions creating a confidence in our charism as a Vincentian Family Movement for social justice – coalescing in collaborative hope of eradicating street homelessness.

Hear the three speakers at the Book Launch here:

Out of the mist, our Vincentian Family Movement is boldly clarifying and addressing the social problems that others may step over daily. We call truth to power beyond words – beyond any need or capacity to prove anything right or wrong.

I believe that the Vincentian Family Movement operates in what Thomas Merton (1915-1968) called “ hidden wholeness” where we know in a different way. Looking for a “reason” and to be “reasonable” about vulnerable people’s chances of coping with everyday life, short term problems or long term mental health issues, those who seek for immediate rational solutions and finding none – gives society pervasive permission to ignore and dismiss these people.

Except – some, and Vincentians in this instance, do not ignore and dismiss, we engage and discuss and take on what Saint Paul calls “knowing spiritual things in a spiritual way” (Corinthians1. 2:13). Vincentians do not dismiss the mystics, poets, artists and saints. We embrace the interior, spiritual world of our being.

Anna Rowlands, Theologian, Durham University UK spoke at the Book Launch, and her observation hit hard that “It is particularly notable then – perhaps scandalous even – that Catholic Social Teaching has paid such scant attention to the social reality of street homelessness when it asks it questions about love, justice and social value.”

I believe too that it is our vocation to remind the Church about where its real focus lies – not just in caring for the dispossessed but in questioning why they are dispossessed in the first place.

Fr. Luigi Mezzadri, CM talking about his new biography of St. Vincent de Paul Vincent de Paul: Life, Charism, and Charity on Youtube (use subtitles) believes strongly that Vincentian vocations have not diminished, “but rather that they are simply different.” I couldn’t agree more! As a lay woman, I keenly feel my Vincentian vocation.

Fr. Luigi hears Pope Francis talking like St. Vincent, and that “today the challenges have completely changed…. therefore we realize that St. Vincent today is more current than in the past….since the Whole Church has become missionary and charity, is no longer a specialized charity …and this is like a jar that broke and whose ointment, like Mary Magdalen’s, is spreading throughout the world”

Vincentian vocations have not diminished, “but rather that they are simply different.” I couldn’t agree more! As a lay woman, I keenly feel my Vincentian vocation.

Fr. Luigi hears Pope Francis talking like St. Vincent, and that “today the challenges have completely changed…. therefore we realize that St. Vincent today is more current than in the past….since the Whole Church has become missionary and charity, is no longer a specialized charity …and this is like a jar that broke and whose ointment, like Mary Magdalen’s, is spreading throughout the world”

So it was in this climate that the next elemental cause of my storm grew!

As Fr. Bob Maloney, CM in ***Rome spoke about the evolution of the Vincentian Family Movement and how we need that “audacious prudence” to daringly go where others fear to tread, and shrewdly engage in actions of social justice with people living on the margins of society.

One such action is the United Nations CAMPAIGN – UN resolution on homelessness Depaul International, Institute of Global Homelessness, FAMVIN Homeless Alliance has worked, since the 400th Anniversary Symposium in 2017, with the Vincentian Family NGOs at the New York United Nations, culminating in action for the first time in the UN in February 2020 on global homelessness.

Made up of NGOs from across the world, the Working Group advocates at the UN’s HQ in New York for those experiencing #homelessness #CSocD58 makeuscount.com
VIEW the Depaul International video that has personal testimonies of people made homeless.

Our core charismatic claim is that love must always precede knowledge.

We engage and discuss with our beneficiaries how to systemically change their circumstances. We know by participation with instead of merely observation of our project participants not separation from them but wholly integral with them and their needs.

Person to person instead of person to object. The feel and execution of our charism ensures that engaging in advocacy locally, nationally and globally is becoming habitual to ensure social justice for the most vulnerable in society. As Fr. Bob told us in ***Rome; “Dare to be revolutionary, do not prohibit anything as long as love and respect for the poor remain first.”

May God gives us the strength and the confidence to persevere.

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.

 

 

 

Opinions expressed are the author’s own views.


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