Reflections on Mission in our Current Times
“Every good work…we do is a grain of seed for eternal life.” – St. Elizabeth Seton ¹
“The review and possible revision of DePaul University’s Mission Statement is happening at an unprecedented time that combines many different aspects related to the Vincentian mission.
The Covid-19 pandemic has unveiled that our social fabric is broken, as illustrated by a healthcare system that excludes most people in the world. The labor system has been exposed by the scale of unemployment and the sheer number of workers lacking rights, protection, or insurance. Our political system has also been exposed. Individual good and personal gain dominate political agendas, and political will has been compromised by business interests and corruption. What has been lost is the common good, which is needed now more than ever.
The recent killing of George Floyd and the national and global unrest that followed is alerting us that large portions of society are long tired of racism, exclusion, and discrimination. In the wake of these crises comes an outcry for systemic change and transformation.
From the perspective of our Vincentian mission we want to be a part of this call to action, this movement. DePaul’s mission must never be separated from the needs of the world. The Seeds of the Mission Campaign seeks to embrace this movement for justice that current events are inspiring. We expect the Seeds of the Mission campaign to lift up stories of mission-in-action and demonstrate how people make an impact at DePaul, in our city, across our nation, and throughout our world.” – Fr. Memo Campuzano, C.M.
What is the Seeds of the Mission Campaign?
“Nature makes trees put down deep roots before having them bear fruit, and even this is done gradually.” -Vincent de Paul ²
The Seeds of the Mission Campaign invites our DePaul community to witness, uphold, and celebrate DePaul’s mission-in-action as a tool for revising the university mission statement. A seed is a symbol of hope, something we need now more than ever. Rooted in the Vincentian practice of valuing experience, the Seeds of the Mission Campaign will gather stories of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners living the DePaul mission.
We recognize and celebrate the many diverse, creative, and deeply rooted seeds already answering the Vincentian question, “What Must Be Done?” Listening to and amplifying Seeds of the Mission stories helps us to understand who we have been, and who we are now, so that we may transform into who we are called to be in the twenty-first century.
Gathering Seeds of the Mission Stories
Over the course of the summer, the Division of Mission and Ministry will gather Seeds of the Mission stories. The process of revising a mission statement is about more than changing words on paper. It is about fostering ownership of the mission and taking action to live it out. To better do so, we need to hear your stories!
As we come to the end of an historic and unprecedented quarter, take some time to reflect on the Seeds of the Mission within your DePaul communities, both now and in the past. What stories do we need to tell to honor and celebrate all we have lived through together? We encourage DePaul students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners to participate. The following questions are meant to be guides, but if you find yourself reflecting on the Seeds of the Mission in a different way, please share that as well:
- Who do you see living the DePaul mission?
- During your time at DePaul, what creative ways have you answered the Vincentian question, “What must be done?”
- Where have you witnessed creative, transformative, or inventive love, solidarity, and education?
- Whose actions planted seeds of hope in the difficult soil of confusion, pain, and transition?
Over the next couple of months the Division of Mission and Ministry hopes to find ways to share these stories.
- – 10.2, Maxims, Collected Writings, Elizabeth Bayley Seton, 3a:488.
- – 1796, To Charles Ozenne, Superior, In Warsaw, 13 November 1654, CCD, 5:219.