What Must We As Vincentian Family Do?

by | Jun 13, 2020 | Formation, Reflections, Systemic change

Are you the only one…

One would have to be an astronaut returning from the moon or a two-week camping trip at the bottom of the Grand Canyon to be the only one not aware of what has happened. “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” Luke 24: 18.

Image by UnratedStudio from Pixabay

With the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we are all struggling to make sense of the past few weeks.
Just about everyone has spoken out. There are varying degrees of upset and vast differences on next steps.

What our Church leaders are Saying

Just about everyone had commented. Here are some quotes that caught my attention.

Pope Francis

In a message addressed to his “dear brothers and sisters in the United States,” meaning the entire nation and not just its 70 million Catholics, Pope Francis spoke of his “great concern” at “the disturbing social unrest” in the United States following “the tragic death of George Floyd,” which he attributed to “the sin of racism.”

“We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”

The United States Catholic Bishops Conference

We cannot turn a blind eye to these atrocities and yet still try to profess to respect every human life,” the bishops said. “We serve a God of love, mercy, and justice.”

The Conference of Major Superiors of Men

We must listen. We must mourn. We must repent. We must change. A throwaway culture that values property over people and asserts that some lives are worth more than others violates the human dignity upon which our faith and vocations are based. To say that we represent a Gospel of Life means we cannot look the other way or to fail to hear or see people who are suffering.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Racism is America’s original sin. It is a virus every bit as deadly as COVID-19 that has infected our nation since its inception and unless and until we address it, people of color will continue to die and our nation will never heal.

Various branches of the Vincentian Family

Of the ones I have seen thus far, I was particularly struck by the outlines of the statement from the Daughters of Charity

  • We. Are. Outraged. …
  • We. Are. In solidarity. …
  • We. Are. Committed to Action. …

The last part about “action” was particularly powerful…

  • As women given to God, in community, to serve Christ in the those who are poor, we pledge to confront racism within ourselves and where we encounter it.
  • We pledge to live Catholic Social Teaching. We join with others in the faith community in acknowledging our own complicity in institutional racism and we ask forgiveness of our sisters and brothers of color.
  • We pledge to join others in building the Kingdom of God. “We must love our neighbor as being made in the image of God and as an object of His love.” St. Vincent de Paul

The Vincentian question – What must be done?

In my post yesterday on Vincentian Mindwalk I observed

The Vincentian Question has always been “What must be done?” We each have done marvelous things. But it is now asked in a different way. What can we do together that we could not do working in our own silos?

Today we ask that question in more nuanced ways:

  • What must I do?
  • What must we do?
  • How can we collaborate?
  • What can we learn from the Vincentian Family collaboration in addressing homelessness, that can address the life issues of the “sin of racism?”


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