Finding the Roses Amidst the Thorns

“Courage then, my dear Sisters! Let us serve with hearts filled with the pure love of God which enables us always to love the roses amidst the thorns.” (L.426, To the Sisters of the Hospital of Angers, Spiritual Writings, 36.)

These words from Louise really strike me as we live in a time of great uncertainty wherein the thorns seem to far outweigh the roses—a time when the new normal is remote learning, working from home, and social distancing, among other things.

I imagine a member of Louise’s community writing back, with maybe a bit of exasperation: “Where, dear Louise, are the roses in these unusual and challenging circumstances?” Why? Because they, too, lived in a time of upheaval and challenge. I think I imagine this particular response because it has been hard for me to see the roses amid so many thorns embodied by the difficulties our health care workers are facing, the suffering of those directly impacted by the virus, the many numbers of people losing their jobs, and the distance I’m experiencing from family, friends, and the DePaul community.

But there are roses, and I’m working to remember that, to find them, and to share them with others as well. The roses are in the daily chats I have on Microsoft Teams and on Zoom with dear colleagues and friends. The roses are in the text chains that make me laugh with friends and with siblings. The roses are in all the ways I see people reaching out to those in need during this difficult time.

Where are you seeing the roses amidst the thorns these days in the DePaul community, among your family and friends, and in your local communities?

Reflection by:

Katie Sullivan, Ministry Coordinator for Vincentian Service & Formation, Division of Mission and Ministry

Vincentian Service Day  

May 2, 2020

The Division of Mission and Ministry is working hard to help others see the roses amid all the thorns. One of the ways we are doing that is by planning and collaborating to ensure that one of DePaul’s longest standing traditions, Vincentian Service Day, still happens. VSD, traditionally the first Saturday in May, is going to look different this year.

This time we are planning a day for our global DePaul community to participate remotely in the Vincentian tradition of responding to the needs of people around the world. It will undoubtedly look extremely different than how we might typically have imagined it, but we believe it can still be effective and rewarding.

Everyone in the DePaul community is invited to service at all times—not just on VSD—but we hope that as many of you as possible will participate on Saturday, May 2nd, so that we can all join together and be roses for each other, for our communities, and even for ourselves.

Registration details for Vincentian Service Day will be announced university-wide in mid-April. For more information, visit or email

One thought on “Finding the Roses Amidst the Thorns

  1. Beautiful reflection, Katie. It helped to ground me this morning. Thank you.–Gabriella

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