Considering our changing reality at DePaul and throughout the world, we are called to adapt and change with it. While not always an easy task, it is necessary to adjust our approach to our work or studies as circumstances change.
The image that accompanies this reflection is of Vincent sending forth Philippe Le Vacher to Algiers to continue an ongoing ministry to prisoners. Around 1652, Vincent wrote Philippe with some encouragement and advice concerning his ministry. In this letter Vincent advised his confrere to use a different approach, and said “it is not light they need but strength, and strength permeates through the external balm of words and good example.”1 Vincent suggested that Philippe not preach to the prisoners as he would the people in a countryside parish, but that he adjust his method and message in light of the realities of the population he served. Further, Vincent emphasized speaking kindly and performing good deeds. He believed that treating these prisoners humanely and building relationships was the key to supporting them in their challenges.
As our personal and professional lives continue to be disrupted, how are you adapting and adjusting to our evolving reality? If Vincent de Paul were writing a letter to you today, what advice would he give you on how to change your current messaging and behaviors to better serve students, colleagues, or others in our community who need support? How can you continue to put relationships at the center of your life as you adapt to new circumstances?
1) 1297, To Philippe Le Vacher, In Algiers, , CCD, 4:127.
Michael Van Dorpe, Division of Mission & Ministry