The following is a reflection made by Vincentian Lay Missionaries and/or Vincentian Mission Corps participants about their experience serving, how it has impacted their lives and how they continue to live the Vincentian Charism today.
I was very lucky to feel Vincentian in so many of my experiences. I went to St. John’s and felt very connected to the mission through Campus Ministry. I spent a summer in Kiio with VLM and Emily and Gina who were also very Vincentian minded. We reflected daily about how we saw God in others. We recognized everyone’s humanity and not just their poverty, ailments, and plagues. After finishing at St. John’s, I spent a year in Denver with the Colorado Vincentian Volunteers. To be in an intentional community is an amazing experience. I wanted to bring that with me wherever I went.
After leaving CVV, I moved back to NY and started working at Cristo Rey Brooklyn High School. While we are endorsed by the Sisters of Mercy (who are amazing) and not the Vincentians, I am very much still a Vincentian. I sought out the Cristo Rey schools because they are social justice and mission oriented. While our mission is to serve low income students and to make a college prep education accessible, that is not our daily intention. Our daily intention is to be present. I see God in my students every day. I see God in the students who come in early just to chat and draw on the board. I see God in the students who failed the math test and are frustrated and checked-out. Because I am Vincentian, I have learned to be present to my students and to recognize their humanity above all – above their grades, above their home-circumstances, above all. Because I am Vincentian, I recognize the importance of community in my work – community with my colleagues and with my students.
Not everyone has a career in direct service. And that is okay. That is important. But it’s important to bring your experiences, your hopes, and your mission into what you do. I try to make a decision to be Vincentian at my job and in my life. It’s not as easy as it was at St. John’s, in VLM, or in CVV. But it’s just as fulfilling. And it’s just as possible. It is who I am; it is what I do.