Change Agents – Our Heritage

by | Sep 23, 2020 | Formation, Reflections, Systemic change

Who is a Change Agent?

A Change agent? Who? Me? I just go about my business doing what I can to serve those who are hurting and on the margins of society and, sadly, even of the Church.

Let’s step back a minute. A person can make changes happen by inspiring and influencing others. Whether we have thought of it or not, isn’t that what we as members of the Vincentian Family do? We do what we can to carry on Christ’s mission of spreading “good news” to those on the margins of civil and ecclesial society.

Certainly, we do lots of things that inspire others. When we do, so often that will influence others to do something… whether it is with us or in a way we never expected. Isn’t that what a culture of vocations is about? In fact, that is what has led to the world-wide phenomenon of some 4 million people who walk in the footsteps of Vincent and Louise. That in itself is an enormous change. And we do it in over150 countries of the world. Paraphrasing something once said of a great world power… “The sun never sets on Vincentians”.

By doing what we do, we fit the description of a change agent – “one who can make changes happen by inspiring and influencing others.” So, yes, you are a change agent in doing what you can to help those who are hurting and on the margins of society.

Vincent was an agent of change

He lived in a society of rampant inequality and during a time of an ill-equipped and sometimes quite scandalous clergy. He dared to ask what we refer to today as the Vincentian question. “What must be done?

He dared imagine a world where people took care of one another. There is no evidence he had any other plan than doing what Providence was calling him to do. This providence led him to foster some movements that shaped clergy, the “influencers” of his age, and tap into previously unrecognized resources, laypeople, especially women. He imagined what people of his day had not imagined. But make no mistake about it. Vincent did not start out with a grand plan. He simply did the next thing that he felt Providence was calling him to do in his mission of bringing good news to the poor.

Vincentian family as change agents

This is our heritage as followers of Vincent and Louise!  It is in our DNA. By being who we are we are agents of change. True, there are some who have a gift for inspiring what is technically called “systemic change.” But each and every one of us should be aware that by doing what we do we inspire others to do similar things. So when we talk about a “culture of vocations’ we are also talking about a culture of fostering agents of change

What a heritage!

  • What can I do to foster a greater awareness of the universal call to spread the good news of God’s love?
  • How often do I go out of my comfort zone to just do the next thing than needs to be done?

The post first appeared on Vincentian Mindwalk.