In his lifetime Frédéric Ozanam neither heard nor uttered the phrases “systemic change” or “systemic thinking.” Yet an incident in his life illustrates a compelling argument that he was committed to helping people move from poverty to a sustainable life, a key element in changing systems that entrap people in poverty.
Real change starts with recognizing that we are part of the systems we seek to change. The fear and distrust we seek to remedy also exist within us—as do the anger, sorrow, doubt, and frustration. Our actions will not become more effective until we shift the nature of the awareness and thinking behind the actions.
Vincent never dreamt of the systemic change he set in motion
A Latin proverb warns us “The power of habit is great.” We also know this from our spiritual formation. Wise spiritual directors counsel us to pray daily, to make it a habit, and our life will always have a solid foundation. Of course St. Vincent goes even further when he says a person of prayer […]
Why? and Why not? Two short questions. But they are challenging questions. Questions that lead to systemic change. It is said that Steve Jobs favorite questions were Why? and Why not? These questions help us understand Vincent… and Louise and Frederic, and so many other Vincentians… who have brought about systemic change. First, let’s look […]
Frequent visitors of this site are deeply committed to helping those who suffer poverty and are committed to a systemic change approach that goes beyond handouts. At the same time it might be that despite good will, not all have personal experience of what it is like to feel ground down in a system. Poverty is a […]
Eucharist challenges us to recognize and confront the structures of sin. It prepares us for a mission to transform the world.
VinFormation offers this 67 second video insight into the concept of systemic change as breaking the cycles of poverty.
A group of women aim to break the cycle of incarceration in families in the U.S., caring for those who were formerly imprisoned much as St. Vincent and his collaborators were motivated by charity to care for the galley slaves in the 17th century.
The connection between empathy and our efforts at fostering and enabling systemic change.
A recent U.S.A. news headline: “Poor seem far down list on candidates’ agendas.” No real surprise there! In the last presidential campaign in the United States, neither President Obama nor Mr. Romney ever mentioned people living in poverty in major campaign addresses nor in their debates as they emphasized their plans for the middle class. […]
Father Gregory Gay, CM, former Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity, was recently interviewed by the news agency Rome Reports, offering a reflection on how we as Vincentians understand charity from the charism of St. Vincent de Paul, and how we are acting at the root of the […]
Prayer and Action go together for Vincentians. There cannot be one without the other. “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient…” Abraham Lincoln. Doesn’t our work with the impoverished at times […]
Have you ever thought of friendship as a key to systemic change in our approach to poverty? If you lost everything, how long would it take you to get something to eat, find a place to stay, and a get some work? Tough situation? Yes! But nothing compared to the isolation of having no friends. […]
I wonder how many homilies over the years have urged us to be like the Good Samaritan! Young people making a pilgrimage to Krakow this month are a “summons” to the entire Church to ditch the “bad systems” which encourage a merciless heart, Archbishop Mark Coleridge said. Commissioning more 70 pilgrims at a Mass at […]
“A process for Christian Life, a practical way to respond lovingly to the God who first loved us.” You may have heard the expression “a Matthew 25 Christian,” referring to someone who emphasizes the Last Judgment in her approach to the faith. This approach takes the end point, final judgement, as the starting point and […]
“Whatever else our God does, the first outburst is always compassion” Those striking words were penned by a theologian in the 14th century. Compassion: perhaps no other word goes more directly to the heart of the Gospel message, because it goes to the heart of God’s own identity. “You may call God love, you may […]
A Vincentian Reflection on Listening and Systemic Change Someone actively engaged in ministry told me recently that he ran into a person from his former place of service, who thanked him profusely for helping her with a problem years ago. The minister was uncomfortable, remembering that he actually was able to do very little to […]
We have a great heritage. Sharing that heritage can help the systemic change process and the process of collaboration within the Family. Two men born in April, with feast days in September, but otherwise very different individuals in significant ways. How did two such different men become recognized as apostles of the poor? One was […]
The culture of poverty, characterized by feelings of marginalism, dependence and exclusion, originates within the family, starting in childhood. Social and behavioral sciences recognize “poverty stress” beginning at a very young age. For almost nine years, Dan Torrington, as a member of “Voice of the poor – Western region” (the advocacy branch of the Society of Saint […]
Uncomfortable with systemic change? It is no secret that many people are uncomfortable with systemic change. It seems to be so hard to get a handle on. On the other hand there are others who are comfortable with what they think is systemic change. Actually what they are comfortable with is simply a new label for […]
In his weekly column to the members of the Vincent de Paul Society, CEO Dave Barringer has a habit of asking important questions. This week is no exception. The question he asks is something that all branches on the Vincentian Family can ask. Do we sometimes not see unintended consequences of our efforts to serve those in need. […]By John Freund, CM on October 20, 2015 in Collaboration, International Association of Charities – Ladies of Charity, News, Systemic change
The latest edition of the Ladies of Charity USA Servicette is attached. It features a wonderful article on Vincentian collaboration. LCUSA President Mary Ann Dantuono reflects on how Collaboration and systemic change are important. She writes… The elements of collaboration are key to understanding what is being asked of us in this special year. First, in […]
(The development professional were certain that indoor water faucets would aid development but )….had development professionals not instantly assumed that walking to a well was a burden, they might have realized that the water faucets installed inside houses in a remote African village were cutting into women’s sacred time. Women in that particular area considered […]
True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”By John Freund, CM on October 17, 2014 in Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Systemic change, Vincentian Family
“What is your Church doing now for those who are poor?” Frederic Ozanam and the Society of St. Vincent dePaul has been answering that question for almost 200 years.
Why is a Systemic Change mentality important? This is a question asked by Fr. Robert Maloney, CM in a Presentation offered on VinFormation.By John Freund, CM on July 8, 2014 in Justice and Peace, Poverty: Analysis and Responses, Systemic change
By identifying and bringing attention to those issues that are critical to those living in poverty and to the structures, societal and legislative, that cause and perpetuate poverty, VOP Vincentians can help communities and elected representatives to develop strategies and tactics that will provide the most effective and efficient mean to reduce or eliminate poverty.
“There is no greater burden than carrying an untold story.” Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
The National Office of the SVDP draws attention to an excerpt of National Board of Director’s Stategic Goal Leader 4, Ray Sickinger’s contribution to the publication Vincentian Heritage: FREDERIC OZANAM: SYSTEMIC THINKING AND SYSTEMIC CHANGE A number of biographies document the true story of how the young Frederic Ozanam visited a beleaguered Parisian woman with five children […]
VinFormation is happy to present the video version of the well-received presentation by Fr.”Memo” Campuzano, CM at the meeting of the Vincentian Family in Indianapolis. Once on this page you can choose from either the Video, the Powerpoint or a simple audio recording.
One of the more powerful moments of the Vincentian Family Gathering was closing prayer service. Prayer – SUNDAY – (Powerpoint) VFG Morning Prayer Sunday, October 27, 2013 Call to Prayer: Jeremiah 6:16 Leader: Yahweh says this: “Stand at the crossroads and look. Enquire about the ancient paths: which was the good way? Take it and you shall […]
Fr. Guillermo “Memo” Campuzano, CM reflects on Spirituality and Systemic Change