Robert Maloney, CM inaugurates a new series of weekly features on Systemic Change in North America with his reflections on the pilot training program held in Belleville, Il. last November. Among the points he highlighted was the active involvement of the leadership of the the various branches of the Vincentian Family. He writes…

1.       I thought that the meeting in Belleville was wonderful.  I sensed lots of enthusiasm and energy in the participants.  The preparatory commission did a great job in organizing the presentations and the dynamics.

2.       I have taken part in similar systemic change workshops in various countries on the different continents:  Mexico, Brazil, Cameroon, Thailand, and now the United States.  Three things struck me about the meeting in the USA:

A.      The leadership of the various branches of the Vincentian Family was present and took part actively.  That was often not the case in other countries.

B.      Beforehand, the preparatory commission gathered together a number of systemic change projects that were already taking place in the United States.  They came up with about 40 and presented 11 or 12 of these in small workshops during the session.  These were very well chosen.  I found the workshops quite interesting.

C.      At the end of the meeting, there was a strong emphasis on the need for follow-up in the various regions of the USA. I sensed that many left the meeting convinced that they should do something further about systemic change when they returned home.

3.   I’m happy to report that just yesterday, here in Philadelphia, we had a meeting of the “Belleville Group” of the Philadelphia area.  We began to focus on what might be done to help bring about systemic change in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia.  There was lots of enthusiasm around the table.  We have already scheduled a follow-up meeting to which others in the Germantown area will be invited, so that the starting point for any future project will emerge from people who know the local reality.


Many participants at the workshop moved beyond seeing systemic change as something else to add to already overburdened people to realizing that  a systemic change  thrust is learning how to look at what we are already doing in a new way. It is not in the first place about creating new projects. What do you think? Join the conversation by clicking on the Comment link associated with the subject of this post.

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