Service Beyond DePaul & Intentional Community
The Catholic tradition is rooted in the practice of sacramentality, the understanding that the gifts and graces we receive throughout life are meant to be shared. As a Vincentian university, DePaul strives to inspire students to use their gift of education to live a life of service to others, regardless of the academic field or career choice. Post-graduate volunteer programs are one way that DePaul graduates live this call to service. Rooted in intentional community, faith, service, and social justice post-graduate volunteer programs bring to life the Vincentian way for young adults today.
Living in intentional community is deeply rooted in our Vincentian tradition. When Louise de Marillac founded the Daughters of Charity she formed a community out of the poorest of the poor, creating home for them. She actually invited young peasant women into her personal space. She saw their potential, taught them to read and write, and equipped them to make change in their communities. This kind of hospitality for a noble woman was unprecedented during her time, breaking social class barriers and opening new opportunities for women.
Louise had the deep intuition from the start that living together in community was the way forward to sustaining a life of service to others. Even in her last will and spiritual testament she reminds the Daughters of Charity to “live together in great union and cordiality.” She tells her sisters often to “encourage one another.” The word encourage comes from the Old French encoragier—“make strong, hearten.” It means “to inspire with courage, spirit, hope.” Louise knew what she was asking her community to do was not easy and that they would need each other and courage in their hearts. Time and time again you see in her letters to the Daughters of Charity Louise helping them navigate the joys and struggles of living in community with others.
When young adults have the opportunity to serve and live in intentional community, they experience this rich tradition and learn a countercultural way to exist in our society. It invites them to see beyond individualism and begin to realize our interconnectedness. They also grow in concrete skills of conflict resolution and dialogue as they navigate the realities of living with other humans! This transformative formation gives them tools to continue living another way beyond their year of service.
DePaul hosts an annual Post-Graduate Volunteer Fair for students interested in exploring this opportunity after graduation. In partnership with the Catholic Volunteer Network (CVN), this year’s fair will take place virtually on Monday, November 9 from 4:30-7:30pm and Tuesday, November 10 from 11:30am-2:30pm. Students can RSVP on DeHub here and sign onto the fair here. For more information about post-graduate volunteer opportunities, visit the CVN website.