The International Vincentian Family Office, responding to the requests of the Executive Committee, coordinates activities, provides information and offers formation experiences on the legacy and charism of St. Vincent de Paul to the various branches of the Vincentian Family around the world.
The Vincentian Family Office was established by the Vincentian Family Executive Committee in Philadelphia on the Feast of Pentecost, 2015. As the administrative arm of the Vincentian Family Executive Committee, the Office accompanies the Vincentian Family in its development and growth of our shared Vincentian Charism
In 2017 we celebrated the 400th anniversary of the Vincentian charism. We looked back with gratitude and awe at all that God has accomplished during the past four centuries, through the thousands of faithful followers of St. Vincent and St. Louise. The highlight of the year of celebration was the Vincentian Family Symposium held in Rome in October 2017. Here the overwhelming spirit was of joy at sharing a universal charism and belonging to an international movement – the Vincentian Family. The globalization of charity was evident!
The Symposium was also an impetus propelling us into the future – so that the continuity of the charism can remain unbroken. It is our task to continue to build up the energy and zeal that characterized St. Vincent and to do it in our time and for our circumstances. One way, which captured the imagination of many young people, was ‘Finding Vince 400’ – a Festival of film and the arts – held in Castel Gandolfo in October 2018, on the theme of ‘globalizing charity’. You can find the incredible entries that were submitted and so much more at VinFlix.net.
“Finding Vince 400” attracted young people and the energy they bring. It was important on build concretely on that energy. This was the goal of the January 2020 gathering of the international leaders of the Vincentian Family Movement – Superiors General and International Presidents – in Rome. Of our 161 branches, 100 were present, focused on “moving forward together” over the next 5 years. Following input, group work and plenary sessions, three major themes were confirmed as priorities: formation, communication, and charity.
Communication inevitably involves commitment to more effective use of social media, within FamVin and beyond. This priority has been boosted in a way we could never have imagined in early 2020, because of the restrictions imposed in response to the pandemic of Covid19 which resulted in a worldwide increase in the use of technology, and especially the newest meeting forum, Zoom!
Formation includes the leaders’ request for a new emphasis on Vincentian Spirituality, focused on Vincentians as Mystics of Charity, and better integrating that spirituality into our work on collaboration and systemic change. An online meeting of Vincentian Family leaders in September 2021, which emphasized Vincent’s mysticism, further responded to that call.
The third theme confirmed at the gathering in Rome was ‘charity’ – currently concretized by the Famvin Homeless Alliance and its 13 Houses Campaign.
The Vincentian Family Office team continues to personally meet with the 161 Superiors General and International Presidents of the Branches of the Family. In addition, we continue the process of organizing Vincentian Family National Councils in all the 161 countries where the Vincentian Family is present. These larger efforts at networking have already borne fruit, even in a rudimentary way, as we witnessed our response to the explosion in Beirut, the typhoon in the Philippines, and the war in Ukraine.
The Office is continuing to respond to the expressed needs which surfaced in both 2017 and 2020 through the work of task forces on the creation of a culture of vocations in our Family, a soon to be published online Vincentian Retreat, and our work on a Vincentian Prayer Book celebrating all the Saints and Blesseds of our Family, as well the foundations of all our Branches. The creation of new lay “Confraternities” especially throughout Latin America is another creative expression of the Charism. In Europe and North America, we are also seeing the creation of new Vincentian Foundations focused on continuing the work of the Charism in areas where congregations are coming to completion.
The Vincentian Family Executive Committee meets again in November 2022 in the United States. At that time, final plans will be made for the next international meeting of Branch leaders in Rome in December 2023. We are excited to continue to deepen our understanding of what it means for us to be a Movement in the spirit of St. Vincent and all the Founders who have been inspired by him. May God continue to bless the good work begun in His name.