An in-depth reflection on today’s challenges
We are pleased to announce that this year’s Circular Letter, written by the International President General, has been published. During this time of the pandemic, the work of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has continued. Indeed, it has confronted some very real challenges and thus imitated the founders of the Conferences, who faced a similar situation during their time.
The President General states that “inequality and deprivation have increased among nations and within them” and that, as members “God expects much of us, especially during this time of a pandemic which has resulted in so many tragic deaths.”
In this regard, Renato Lima speaks about the myriad initiatives undertaken by the International General Council during this time. These activities reveal that, despite the many different hardships, we can continue to serve and to reach out to the most vulnerable members of society.
The President General also addresses (a) the importance of education to alleviate poverty, (b) care and respect of the environment and (c) Vincentian good practices in the management of our multiple charitable works.
Furthermore, the President General makes some recommendations for members:  to observe the SSVP’s Rule,  to work in harmony with the precepts of the Church and,  to be charitable towards our companions who journey together with us on this Vincentian path, so that the many different Conferences may truly be a “place of holiness”.
Like previous Circular Letters written by our President, he exhorts each and every Vincentian to nurture the “moral duty to care for the Vincentian Family” wherever Conferences are present and to take care of the younger Vincentian members, providing them with support, organizational projects and programs that are geared toward them, seeking creative ways to form them, to invest in their future and to provided them with the opportunity to participate in the decision making process on a national level.
Moreover, the upcoming presidential elections at the Council General are therein addressed, and ideal conditions are put forward by Renato Lima. The candidate, among other attributes, should lead a Vincentian life, be charismatic and kind, have managerial skills, and speak several languages.
Finally, it is worth highlighting the commitment made by the President General and his team, who are working hard so that the Church can declare Antoine-Frédéric Ozanam, our main founder, a saint, and the initiatives launched by this Presidency to make the history and origins of our institution known, like the themed years dedicated to each of the co-founders of the SSVP (2022 is devoted to Le Taillandier).
In his final message, the President General stresses that, with God’s help, the Society has expanded and grown throughout its history, always with a defined goal: “the holiness of its members and standing beside those who suffer”.
The Circular Letter is recommended reading during meetings at the Conferences and Councils. Due to its length, it should be read in sections at each meeting.