Lawful Assembly Podcast – Episode 21: Pondering Anew


This is an interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin, an Adjunct Faculty member of the DePaul University’s College of Law, Refugee and Forced Migrations Studies Program and the Grace School of Applied Diplomacy.  The podcast opens the new year with a request to consider how our biblical and national founding narratives offer us an opportunity to reconsider how we as individuals and a nation should respond to asylum seekers fleeing danger in their homelands.

The biblical narrative stories can be found in Matthew 1-2 and Luke 2:1-19.

The TRAC data base from Syracuse University provided the information on the 22,068 individuals in detention.  See: https://trac.syr.edu/immigration/detentionstats/pop_agen_table.html

The American Immigration Council’s report on individuals in detention and the number of unaccompanied minors in detention can be found at: “Rising Border Encounters in 2021: An Overview and Analysis” See: https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/rising-border-encounters-in-2021

The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights provided the number of over 70,000 individuals trapped in Mexico under the MPP, the stories of the children cited in the podcast, as well as additional stories of children trapped in dangerous situations under these policies.  See:  https://www.theyoungcenter.org/mpp-harms-children

The National Immigrant Justice Center documents that thousands more have been denied the opportunity to apply for asylum by the continued implementation of the Title 42 program and expansion of the MPP program. “NIJC Condemns The Biden Administration for Reinstating The Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).  See: https://immigrantjustice.org/press-releases/nijc-condemns-biden-administration-reinstating-migrant-protection-protocols-mpp (October 15, 2021).

Marilynne Robinson, in her essay in “Old Souls, New World,” discusses the democratic principles fostered by many of the Puritans coming to New England in What Are We Doing Here? Essays, (NY, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2018), 274, 291-92.

The Walter Brueggemann quote can be found in his book, The Land: Place as Gift, Promise and Challenge in Biblical Faith (Minneapolis, Fortress Press, 2002), 10, as cited in Craig B. Mousin, “Constantine’s Legacy: Preserving Empire While Undermining International Law,” 389: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3960335

Rev. Ted Conklin’s full poem, “Displaced Person” was cited in an Advent meditation by the Rev. Thomas N. Mousin, “Keeping Advent, Saturday, December 11, 2021” at:  https://thomasmousin.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Keeping-Advent-December-11-2021.pdf

The full poem of Rev. Dr. Howard Thurman’s, “The Work of Christmas Begins” can be found at:  https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/now-the-work-of-christmas-begins/

ACTION STEP

Ponder anew how we can offer hospitality to those seeking safety in this new year and then follow Rev. Drs. King and Thurman: go forth to “find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner.”  We will be providing additional information on other action steps in subsequent podcasts.

An Invitation to Prayer

As the Division of Mission and Ministry (DMM) seeks to support all members of the DePaul community in their spiritual well-being, the division is preparing to offer monthly prayers for the community. The DMM Pastoral Care Team recognizes that as we continue to live in times of uncertainty and constant transition in the face of the pandemic, the prayer and spiritual needs of our community might look different now than they have in the past and they certainly are different for each person.

Living into DePaul’s commitment to personalism, DMM has developed a brief survey that we encourage students, faculty, and staff to complete. With your input, the DMM Pastoral Care Team will strive to develop regular and meaningful prayer moments for our community.

Please take a few moments to take the 2-minute survey so that DMM might better understand what types of prayer experiences would be life-giving and accessible during these times. If you would like to be entered for a drawing to receive a gift card upon completing the survey, please include your name and email address. We deeply appreciate your time and look forward to sharing prayerful moments with the entire community.

 

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “We are on the move now… Our God is marching on”


“Today I want to say to the people of America and the nations of the world, that we are not about to turn around. We are on the move now…. Let us march on segregated schools until every vestige of segregated and inferior education becomes a thing of the past, and Negroes and whites study side-by-side in the socially-healing context of the classroom.”
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. March 25, 1965[1]

The words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose memory we celebrate in the coming week, are an eloquent reminder for all races and ethnicities that dreams have not been defeated. This is not a post-utopian era. Utopias are alive in the hearts of all who struggle to build true democracies in which all people, especially the “most abandoned” (as Vincent de Paul called them), can finally live with dignity. The memory of Dr. King should always awaken a belief that a better world is still possible.

History is a continuum—in the utopia of yesterday, the reality of today was incubated, just as new realities will breathe from the utopias of today. The utopia of one century often becomes a simple fact of the next century. Utopian vision is the beginning of all true progress and the design of a better future. I believe it’s not too late to make real Dr. King’s utopia of a just world in which people of all cultures and races are treated equally and given the same opportunities to flourish.

In our encounters within the Vincentian Family, we constantly realize that our creativity is not exhausted and that we are still too far away from the realization of a world in which all forms of life are respected and protected. We must ensure ‘the most abandoned,’ as Vincent called them, are taken care of, and provided with everything they need to live with dignity.

In a 1965 sermon, Dr. King explained that the “majestic words” of the Declaration of Independence, “all [people] are created equal,” were the foundation of the Civil Rights Movement.[2] He did not see that document as a lie but as an unfulfilled promise, “raised to cosmic proportions,” that the movement was now struggling to realize. When we see the unbearable suffering of so many people in the United States, especially so many people of African descent, we understand the current challenges of the movement Dr. King championed.

DePaul University is built on top of this same foundation, this universal truth. Vincentian understanding recognizes the dignity of every human story, and especially those persons that are broken because of systemic injustice, structural poverty, inequity, exclusion, or social and racial discrimination. We recognize the essential equity among all human beings of so many diverse backgrounds.

In many places of the world, I have seen a growing movement of intersectional liberation and social transformation. We, the Vincentian Family, are bearers of just part of this seed of life that has been entrusted to all races, religions, cultures, social classes, and nations of the earth. This seed is hidden in the heart of the Vincentian charism, a charism that belongs to the reign of God and his justice. It is deeply connected with all the other seeds entrusted to humanity to make dignified life on our planet possible and sustainable. The vitality and relevance of the Vincentian spirit can only be guaranteed if a connection with this universal movement is kept alive.

The Vincentian charism is pro-cultural. We are at the crossroads of history alongside the excluded of the earth, and of the earth itself, and our horizon is the same that the universal movement of justice and peace envisions: “a new heaven and a new earth”![3] The systemic racial justice of Dr. King’s utopia is a Vincentian issue that we embrace from our own convictions and for our vocation. His dream is not strange to us. Our Vincentian sociology, theology, and anthropology naturally bring us to this cause. We are on the move, marching with God for a world free of hate. DePaul should be a school where the equitable new world is designed, where students of all racial identities and diverse cultural backgrounds come together “side-by-side in the socially-healing context of the classroom” as Dr. King envisioned in 1965. That is the dream.

In 2022, the memory of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. can give us all the elements we need to understand that the emancipatory movement is urgent today and needs support from every angle. It is deeply connected with all social and environmental movements of liberation and transformation.

We are on the move, we cannot stop marching, and we won’t turn around now! We will continue resisting the hegemonic ego- and capital-centric narratives that are destroying our planet, making life unsustainable, and oppressing human beings. It is an urgent necessity that all human, social, and environmental movements of systemic change work together side by side to be effective. As Dr. King said, “The battle is in our hands. And we can answer with creative nonviolence the call to higher ground to which the new directions of our struggle summons us. The road ahead is not altogether a smooth one. There are no broad highways that lead us easily and inevitably to quick solutions. But we must keep going.”[4]


Reflection by: Guillermo Campuzano, C.M., Vice President, Division of Mission and Ministry

[1] Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Our God is Marching On,” speech, March 25, 1965, Montgomery, AL, transcript, https://‌kinginstitute.‌stanford.‌‌edu/‌our-god-marching.

[2] Ibid.

[3] For biblical examples, see, e.g., Isaiah 65:17-19, 2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 21:1, and Isaiah 66:22.

[4] Ibid.

Be a Community Builder in 2022!

“What a blessing to be a member of a Community because each individual shares in the good that is done by all!” — Vincent de Paul[1]

When we pause to consider all that the world needs as we begin the year 2022, many would agree that, among other things, we certainly could use more people who are motivated and able to act as community builders. This holds true not only for broader society and in our neighborhoods and families, but also within our DePaul community. The challenges of the past 20+ months of the pandemic, including our increasingly virtual and remote existence, have frayed the relational fabric of our communal life. If we at DePaul are to continue as a “community gathered together for the sake of the mission,” then we need community builders to help weave together new bonds of connection that ultimately benefit us all.

Among your New Year’s resolutions, I invite you to ask yourself: What can I do in the days and year ahead to build or rebuild relationships, bridges, bonds, shared memories and experiences, shared understanding, a greater sense of belonging, and a common purpose among my DePaul colleagues?

A strong sense of community among us creates a healthier and more vibrant workplace and an educational environment that better serves students. In our broader society and in our neighborhoods and families, a little bit of intentionality in connecting with others and weaving relational bonds improves the quality of life for all.

Vincent de Paul recognized that the mission he envisioned was only possible through a community. It was not something he could do on his own. The same is true of the Vincentian mission we envision at DePaul—and perhaps also of the big-picture vision you have for your own life and work. We need others to join us, support us, and challenge us in positive ways if we are to succeed. This is made possible largely through and because of the relationships we have taken the time to cultivate and sustain.

Make it your New Year’s resolution to be a community builder in some concrete ways. Here are ten suggestions. Just pick one and do it, or come up with your own!

  1. Serve as a hospitable, cheerful, welcoming host to a newcomer or simply to people who have been away for a while and whom you haven’t had the chance to see in person.
  2. Affirm or give thanks to a colleague for something they have done or just because of who they are and what they mean to you.
  3. Connect to other people across departments/divisions/silos during or through meetings, a coffee or lunch gathering, a handwritten card, or a simple phone call or email offering a random hello or “thinking of you.”
  4. Make note of the significant life events of others and follow up with them later to see how they went.
  5. If you are feeling irritated or out of sorts, make a commitment to hold your tongue and consider possible constructive solutions and words first, rather than bitter or harmful ones.
  6. Make more of a conscious effort to stop what you are doing and truly listen when interacting with a colleague or neighbor.
  7. Follow through on an idea that emerges for you regarding how you might show compassion and care toward another.
  8. Just simply show up for the life events, programs, presentations, or celebrations that are important to others and for which your presence would be a show of support.
  9. Find ways to share fun and laughter with friends and colleagues.
  10. Read and share a meaningful quote, article, or book with another person.

None of these alone will “build community” once and for all. They are clearly not shared as a panacea or solution to some of the complex societal and institutional challenges and structural problems that we face collectively. However, if we follow these ideas, they will put us all in a better position to work together to do “what must be done.”


Reflection by: Mark Laboe, Associate VP, Division of Mission and Ministry

[1] Conference 1, “Explanation of the Regulations,” July 31, 1634, CCD, 9:2. Available at https://via.library.depaul.edu/vincentian_ebooks/34/.

Across the Divides: How the Dialogue of Life Can Enrich All

Mission and Ministry’s Abdul-Malik Ryan published an op-ed in Visible Magazine talking about his work as a Muslim Chaplin here at DePaul. Below is an excerpt from the article:

The world needs spaces where people who are different can live together and form deep relationships. They need to be with not just with people who are superficially different but meaningfully different, over things that matter to all.

As the Director of the Interfaith Youth Core Eboo Patel puts it, “Diversity is not just the differences we like.”

At my university, students call their community, “umma” meaning “whole community” in Arabic. The intention is to live up to the ideal that all are welcome here — across political, ethnic, sectarian and all other differences not to debate and struggle for control, but to live together and know each other as human persons, beyond labels and disagreements.

There are benefits to groups and associations of people passionately dedicated to a certain perspective, to advancing a certain cause. Such groups and such spaces are necessary and powerful. This is evident in progressive movements such as #MeToo for the empowerment of women or in defense of the rights of Palestinians and in conservative religious revivals.

Read the article in it’s entirety here.

Vincentian Studies Institute Revises Additional Texts of Vincent de Paul

DePaul University continues its support of Vincentian scholarship with a new revision of our four volumes of additional, mainly unpublished texts by and about Saint Vincent de Paul. This revision includes multiple new documents added across all four volumes along with corrections and updates to the existing texts. The translator and editor is John E. Rybolt, C.M. The books supplement the fourteen volumes of Correspondence, Conferences, and Documents, published by Pierre Coste, C.M., over a century ago.

These fully searchable, free to download pdf e-Books total more than 4,500 pages of letters, conferences, and documents in their original languages of French, Latin, and Italian, followed by an English translation.

These texts represent an open-ended collection, allowing for additional texts to be added as they come to light, as well as corrections and updates. We welcome suggestions and input from the reading public.

Click through to access each new volume of the collection:

Correspondence: CCD Additional Texts

Conferences: CCD Additional Texts

Documents, part one: CCD Additional Texts

Documents, part two: CCD Additional Texts

It is hoped that these new texts will further our understanding and appreciation of the great saint of charity, Vincent de Paul.

New Issue of Vincentian Heritage Available for Download

The DePaul University Vincentian Studies Institute is pleased to announce the publication of our newest peer-reviewed e-book edition of Vincentian Heritage (Volume 36, Number 1).

Of note, this edition features articles on the lives of François Lallier and Emmanuel Bailly, co-founders with Frédéric Ozanam of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. It also includes a fascinating translation of the newly discovered “Rule for the Hospital of Nom de Jésus,” offering commentary on its historical context and on the caregiving provided there by the Daughters of Charity. Finally, the book concludes with a lavishly illustrated art and architectural study of the history of the Chapelle des Lazaristes, the Congregation of the Mission’s motherhouse church in Paris.

  • “François Lallier (1814–1886): ‘One of the Pillars of the Building Started’” by Raymond Sickinger, Ph.D.
  • “Emmanuel Bailly: The Advisor and Friend of Christian Youth” by Ralph Middlecamp.
  • “‘So that they may be able to live and die as good Christians’: The Early History of the Nom de Jésus Hospital in Catholic Reformation Paris” by Alison Forrestal, Ph.D.
  • “The Chapelle des Lazaristes and Reliquary Shrine of St. Vincent de Paul, 1850 to 1860: An Exposé of Competing Aesthetic Schemes & Their Resolutions in the Alliance des Arts” by Simone Zurawski, Ph.D.

To download the complete book for iPad or PC, please click here: Full Book Download

Individual .pdfs for each article are also available for download here: Article Downloads & Repository

 

Saint Nicholas, Wonder-working, and Mischievous Joy

I never celebrated—or even knew about—Saint Nicholas Day until I met my wife, but it is now one of my favorite holiday traditions. Observed more widely in Europe, especially Eastern Europe, December 6 is the day that Saint Nicholas comes to give presents—or coal—to the hopeful who put their boots outside. Don’t worry, you still have time to put yours out for tonight!

The celebration originated in the feast day of Saint Nicholas of Myra—a fourth-century bishop nicknamed the Wonder-worker who was known for secret charity to those shunned by “reputable society” (such as prostitutes, thieves, and sailors), and for helping those experiencing poverty, especially young women. But the day’s traditions, and the figure at the heart of it, soon gained an imaginative life of its own outside of the ecclesiastical calendar.

The myths surrounding this secret gift-giver adapted to different cultures and found new faces over the centuries (transforming from the dark-skinned Saint Nicholas to the rosy-cheeked Santa Claus and Father Christmas). However, two core elements remained: selfless compassion, and acts that bring about an almost mischievous, joyful surprise. The original stories surrounding Saint Nicholas are full of these. In one, he secretly tossed bags of gold into a house of an impoverished family over three consecutive nights to help their three daughters (the bags of gold are now represented by the oranges that sometimes fill Christmas stockings). In another story, a terrible storm was sure to destroy the ship on which he traveled and drown all the sailors. In an unexpected turn of events, he rebuked the waves, and all lived to see the shore. In yet another story, three innocent men were about to be executed, but he appeared, pushed the executioner’s blade away, and chastised a juror who had been bribed. What all these stories have in common for me is the power of unexpected wonder and joy—imagine waking up and finding your life utterly transformed with a bag of gold. Imagine the waves crashing—or the executioner’s blade swinging—only to stop, and you realize that your life is saved.

For me, Saint Nicholas Day is a reminder to bring some of that inspirational wonder-working and playful compassion to my daily life and interactions. While our dear Saint Vincent lived more than a millennia after Saint Nicholas, you can see something Vincentian about Saint Nicholas’s attention to the poor and helping the hungry, even if his efforts lacked our namesake’s organizational prowess (and critical collaboration with Saint Louise). Our mission—much like Saint Nick’s—is vital and needed in our world. But we need joyful sustenance to carry it forward and not be overcome by the waves and storms of the times.

What are some ways that you can bring playful, supportive, unexpected joy to your colleagues?[i]

Reflection by: Alex Perry, Program Manager, Division of Mission and Ministry

[i] Vincent said, “Another effect of charity is to rejoice with those who rejoice. It causes us to enter into their joy. Our Lord intended by His teachings to unite us in one mind and in joy as well as in sorrow; it’s His desire that we share one another’s feelings.” Conference 207, “Charity (Common Rules, Chap. II, Art. 12),” 30 May 1659, CCD, 12:222. Available at: https://‌via.library.depaul.edu/‌vincentian_ebooks/‌36/.

Reminder: We will be hosting (virtually and in-person) a festive Day with Vincent on December 15 titled “Inspired by Joy.” Fill your reservoir before the holiday break with a morning retreat grounded in our mission and focused on reconnecting to what brings you joy. You can register and learn more here: https://december-day-with-vincent.eventbrite.com

 

 

Do You Feel Lucky to Be at DePaul?

No words can express my gratitude for the many benefits and favors we constantly receive…

– Saint Vincent de Paul[1]

Recently, I enjoyed gathering with a group of newly arrived DePaul international students. Over lunch at the Student Center in Lincoln Park, we chatted about various things like their impressions of American food, the changeable weather in Chicago, and the best ways to get to the Loop Campus. I asked them what they planned to study, and they asked me about my role at the university. At a certain point in the conversation, I paused and then asked each of them what I hoped was not too personal a question: how do you feel about being at DePaul University? It seemed to me they took a moment before responding, but when they did, all gave the exact same answer. They felt lucky.

I don’t know what I expected them to answer, but I did not expect that. I then asked why they felt lucky, and a range of responses came pouring out: their residence hall rooms are beautiful; the people are so nice; all of their friends from home would like to study in the United States; and, they will have so many opportunities as a result of being here. As they shared their reasons, I could not help joining in their spirit and feeling excited for them.

That conversation has stayed with me. Especially the part about feeling lucky. Since that chat, I turned the tables and asked myself the very question I asked the students. How do I feel about being at DePaul? Do I, too, feel lucky to be here? Whatever responses I come up with usually resemble something like a math equation with variables and constants, factors and expressions, positives, and negatives. Yet the result is always the same. Yes, I do. I do feel lucky to be here.

I am conscious I have privileges others do not have. I am aware DePaul’s path has not been entirely smooth and more bumps surely lie ahead. I know that neither I, nor this place, are perfect.[2] I am also mindful that work must be done to build bridges between faculty, staff, students, and other stakeholders so that DePaul will have a more just and sustainable future. But, overall, when I consider my job, the people who make up our community, and the mission and purpose of DePaul, I feel grateful. And, like those students, I feel something I might even call “lucky,” or hopeful, or maybe it’s simply faith in the future.

How do you feel about being at DePaul? What are things that make you feel grateful to be here? How might you be able to share these with others?


Reflection by: Tom Judge, Assistant Director and Chaplain, Faculty and Staff Engagement, Division of Mission and Ministry

[1] Letter 1787, “To Étienne Blatiron, Superior, in Genoa,” 23 October 1654, CCD, 5:205. Available at: https://via.library.depaul.edu/vincentian_ebooks/30/.

[2] As Vincent de Paul said, “Wherever we go, we always take ourselves and our imperfections with us.”Letter 2123, “To Brother Pierre Leclerc, in Agen,” 1656, CCD, 6:69. Available at: https://via.library.depaul.edu/vincentian_ebooks/31/.

Lawful Assembly Podcast: As Maine Goes, So Goes the Nation

This is an interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin, an Adjunct Faculty member of the DePaul University’s College of Law, Refugee and Forced Migrations Studies Program and the Grace School of Applied Diplomacy.  The podcast celebrates the cooperative work of Somali refugee farmers in Maine and elsewhere demonstrating the talents and gifts they bring to our nation.  The podcast also urges listeners to email their congressional Representative to vote for the Afghan Adjustment Act.

ACTION STEP:  We provide two links to offer background information and to email your congressional Representative to vote for the Afghan Adjustment Act.

  1. Refugee One recommends this link to email your Representative in support of the Afghan Adjustment Act:        https://humanrightsfirst.quorum.us/campaign/36088/

If you would like additional information about the proposed Act or the work of Refugee One, visit Refugee One’s website at: https://www.refugeeone.org/afghanistan.html

  1. The Pennsylvania Council of Churches also provides background information and a link to send an email to your Representative at: https://pachurchesadvocacy.org/pass-afghan-adjustment-act/

The information on Little Juba and the Agrarian Trust came from two articles.  Initially, this podcast was inspired by Katy Kelleher’s article, “Maine’s Somali Bantus Are Reenvisioning American Farming,” Down East:  https://downeast.com/features/maines-somali-bantus-are-reenvisioning-american-farming/  The article contains the specific information on percentage of farmland owned by white famers and non-white farmers, information on the Somali produce grown at Little Juba, and the Agrarian Trust.
The quote from the Somali farmer and the quote on percentage of farm ownership by white persons can be found in the story on the Somali refugees at Little Juba by Audrea Lim, “‘We’re trying to re-create the lives we had’: the Somali migrants who became Maine farmers,” The Guardian,February 25, 2021: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/25/somali-farmers-maine

For more information on the Agrarian Trust, see:  https://agrariantrust.org

Information on Portland, Maine’s services and hospitality to asylum seekers and refugees comes from Eric Russell, “We bring our dreams with us.  All of us,” Portland Press Herald, November 14, 2021:  https://www.pressherald.com/2021/11/14/we-bring-our-dreams-with-us-all-of-us/

The Center for American Progress Report contains the information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the quote on immigrants breathing “fresh life” into rural areas as well as the information about Arcola, Illinois including the statistics on the Hispanic population of Arcola.  It also provides the statistics regarding United States rural population from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:  “Revival and Opportunity, Immigrants in Rural American,” September 2, 2018:  https://www.americanprogress.org/article/revival-and-opportunity/

Information on the New Roots community farms sponsored by the International Rescue Committee can be found in “How refugee farmers are confronting food insecurity in the U.S.” October 14, 2021: https://www.rescue.org/article/how-refugee-farmers-are-confronting-food-insecurity-us