Commission for Promoting Systemic Change
Strategies for helping the poor emerge from poverty

Five Reflections for the Vincentian Family – September 27, 2007
Recommended by the international heads of the Vincentian Family
gathered for their annual meeting in Rome

1. The great example: Chatillon-les-Dombes
2. Vincent and Systemic Change
3. The person of the Poor and transformation
4. Vincentian Political engagement
5. To be a prophetic member of the Vincentian Family

For introductory material

“What we have heard and seen and touched with our hands –
we announce to you” (1 John 1:1-4)

Introductory Notes and suggestions

The Participants

• These reflections are for the use of all members of the Vincentian Family.
• Each session will take approximately one hour, depending on the number of people in the group.
• The group may consist of a cross section of members from the different branches of the family, or specific conferences, communities or working groups within their own projects.
• The reflections may be scheduled at regular intervals or spread out over the year.

Before you begin

The Leader describes to the group the process which is going to take place. He or she:
• Provides a copy of the session for each member of the group for personal reflection.
• Stresses that sharing is not compulsory but encouraged, and mentions the need for
• Asks, or assigns, different members to read the different sections.

Song, Opening Prayer and quieting down period

The Leader invites the group to:
• Become relaxed and aware of God’s presence with us.
• Review the goal for the session.
• Sing the opening song, if desired.
• Say the opening prayer for systemic change which is the same for each session and is prayed by everyone together.

Scripture Reading
• This is read aloud by a member and sets the theme for the session


• This unpacks the theme further and provides background material
• It is read aloud, slowly and prayerfully, by one person or split between several members.
• Hearing different voices might allow different emphasis on words/phrases.

Individual Reflection

The Leader:
• Invites everyone to reflect quietly on the readings.
• Allows at least 3-5 minutes for silent, personal reflection time.
• Introduces the suggested Discussion Questions – these are only a guide.

Sharing and listening

The Leader invites members who wish to do so to share on the Discussion Questions or on how one of the readings struck them. Possibly not everyone will share, but time should be allowed for each person who wishes to share his/her thoughts.

Reflect together on your own service
• This allows practical application of the theme to members’ individual or shared work, mission or project.
• Further reflection material is provided, normally from our founders, which may be read aloud.
• The group may discuss opportunities for action and plan courses of action.

Sample Strategies

The group is invited to reflect on several strategies that the Commission for Promoting Systemic Change has identified as being crucial in systemic change projects.

Vincentian Family Prayer

Each session ends with the Vincentian Family Prayer, said together, thus uniting the group with its Vincentian brothers and sisters all over the world.