One hundred twelve members of the Vincentian Family gathered outside St. Louis for four days devoted to “training the trainers” to foster collaborative development of projects fostering a systemic change approach in our service with people who live in poverty.

“A hand up rather than just a hand out” in many ways summarizes this “forgotten truth” about the way our founders instinctively went beyond immediate needs to long-range solutions.

The International Commission for Fostering Systemic Change has already conducted four such continental workshop – Brazil, Mexico, Cameroon and Bangkok. Next year workshops will be held in various language segments in Europe.

An excellent cross section of the leadership of the various branches of the Vincentian Family attended with the designated “trainers” who will be expected to foster collaborative systemic change projects.

The Vincentian Family Collaborators were asked to serve as the local planning committee. This group had previously organized  workshops for the Vincentian Family in St. Louis, Princeton, San Francisco, New Orleans and Detroit. Most recently they developed the first ever meeting of the Family in cyberspace with over 500 people attending in 25 locations in Canada and the United States. The theme of this event was also systemic change.

Former Superior General Robert Maloney and the members of the International Commission were joined by Fr. Gregory Gay, CM, current Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission  and the Daughters of Charity. In addition to presentations by the members of the International Commission  people who are already engaged in trailblazing systemic change type projects in the US  offered presentations geared to understanding deeper underlying concepts and how these are already being implemented in North America.

The energy was palpable during these days. Structures are being developed to foster practical next steps.

Stay tuned to which will present a 20 part series sharing the insights and challengess of these days.

The VinFormation segment of FAMVIN will also serve as a resource for those interested in learning more about systemic change from a Vincentian perspective.

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