Lawyer? Vincentian? Vincentian Lawyers!

by | Jul 9, 2021 | Formation, Reflections, Systemic change

Have you heard this one? A Vincentian and a lawyer walk into a bar… Almost sounds like the setup for a bad lawyer joke. “How many lawyer jokes are there, anyway? Only three. The rest are true stories.”

More seriously, can you imagine person who is a lawyer with a Vincentian heart? You have a Vincentian lawyer. It may seem strange to put those two concepts together.

What might be the vocation of a Vincentian lawyer? I think the American Bar Association gives us an appreciation of why it might not be strange.

For all the negativity associated with the profession, the simple truth is that lawyers are the glue that holds a civil society together and keeps America and other nations from being anarchist states or volatile, chaotic republics.

… (They) often stand up for those that can’t do it on their own, and many other lawyers constantly work to make the world a better place.

Instead of bad jokes here are some questions…

  • What might be different about Vincentian lawyers?
  • How many Vincentian lawyers do you know?
  • How many Vincentian lawyers are there?

The vocation of Ladies of Charity and lawyers

Almost ten years ago I posted an article on Famvin Calling All Ladies of Charity Attorneys, Jeanne Vinal, a practicing attorney and a member of the Ladies of Charity USA, described the vocation of a Vincentian lawyer well.

  • As Catholics, we’re called to share our time, talents, and treasures with the church and our brothers and sisters.
  • As Ladies of Charity, we follow in the footsteps of St. Vincent de Paul and dedicate ourselves to the needs of people living in poverty.
  • As attorneys, we dedicate ourselves to serving justice in the representation of the individual client. With these three callings in mind, let us begin to advocate through Ladies of Charity to assist the poor in finding appropriate legal representation, and when there is no paid representation, then to serve where we can.

I personally know of at least three who have served as President of the Ladies of Charity USA. There are probably some 50 lawyers among the Ladies. It is only in recent times that more women were able to enter the field.

Forming an International Confraternity of Vincentian lawyers

Regular readers of Vincentian Mindwalk are aware that many professionals – artists, teachers, social workers, musicians, translators, psychologists, etc. –  are exploring how they can use their unique professional skills in the context of the Vincentian view of service.

See previous reflections  Reimagining St. Vincent’s Pastoral Strategy and  Flying under the radar! Vincentian Professionals.

A National Association of Vincentian Lawyers already exists in Peru. And others are springing up in other Latin American countries.

Many hope to form an International Association of Vincentian Lawyers.

Not surprisingly their members include lawyers who are members of Vincentian Family branches –  AMM, JMV, SSVP, Daughters of Charity, Congregation of the Mission, Brothers of Charity, AIC. But one need not be a member of one of the organized branches, simply be a professional in a particular field with an attraction to serving those underserved and most in need 

If you have a dream of connecting with others in your profession who share Vincent’s vision contact Fr. Flavio Pereira.

PS. The lawyers’ group holds monthly meetings via Zoom.

Further dreams

If you are a professional in any field and have Vincentian values, or if you know a professional who is a Vincentian at heart, why not nurture… or sow … the seed in someone you see has a Vincentian heart?