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

 

What are Your Gifts?

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

When considering the continued vibrancy and sustainability of DePaul’s mission—especially in the context of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday— I like to think of the image of a potluck dinner in which each member of a family or community brings their special dish to the common table. Almost miraculously, a feast of widely varied food results, and there is always more than enough for everyone to leave satisfied. The legendary children’s story, “Stone Soup,” echoes a similar wisdom.

As we approach Thanksgiving, we are naturally encouraged to reflect on the place of gratitude in our lives. Especially during a difficult time, making space to feel and express gratitude is beneficial to our psyche, to our relationships, and to our overall feeling of well-being. We feel more wind at our backs in recognizing the many gifts we have received, especially those not of our own making that came to us through the generosity of others or through the surprising and unmerited blessings of our lives.

The flip side of gratitude for gifts received is to share them generously with others. The flow of receiving and giving freely is one of the great spiritual insights at the heart of many religious traditions, including the Catholic Christianity which formed Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac and so many of our beloved Vincentian saints of history and contemporary companions on the journey. Simply put, this insight is the ongoing invitation to receive graciously and then to share generously from what we receive.

One way to imagine the spiritual transformation of Vincent de Paul is to note that once he realized the calling to devote his energy and commitment to serve society’s poor, it became clear to him that this mission was well beyond what he was capable of doing on his own. He understood that only a community of people formed and gathered for this shared mission could accomplish such a massive undertaking. Framed in this way, the emergent mission of Vincent de Paul carries with it an important truth of the Vincentian spirit and one that he carried forth in his work and ministry for the remainder of his life. That is, the effectiveness and sustainability of this mission he envisioned was dependent on how a community could be effectively formed, motivated, and guided to contribute toward achieving it together, collaboratively. This truth becomes a helpful lens through which to interpret much of Vincent de Paul’s life and ministry and the Vincentian tradition that followed.

At DePaul, we are fond of calling ourselves “a community gathered together for the sake of the mission,” a modern translation of the name Vincent de Paul gave to the religious community he founded, the Congregation of the Mission. One of Vincent’s important insights was that this mission can be effective and sustained only when the gifts present in individuals who make up the community are shared freely and generously in its service.

As you reflect on the many gifts present in your own life during this Thanksgiving season, pause also to recognize the gifts, talents, and resources that you have to offer to others. Begin with what has been given to you in your life and has helped to shape the person you have become, but consider also what you, in turn, can generously share with others in the communities of which you are a part, including our DePaul University community. Only through such sharing will our common mission flourish.

This Thanksgiving season may an abundance of gifts flow freely both into your life and outward from you into the different communities of which you are a part!

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


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

 

Inspired by Joy:  A Day with Vincent Program (Wednesday, December 15th)

“We must be full reservoirs in order to let our water spill out without becoming empty, and we must possess the spirit with which we want them to be animated, for no one can give what he does not have.” Vincent de Paul

Fill your reservoir before the holiday break with a morning retreat grounded in our Vincentian mission and interfaith wisdom. Reconnect with what brings you joy…the greatest gift you can offer to those around you!

You can participate in two ways:

  • Join us in person: 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, including breakfast, lunch, and some fun surprises (LP Student Center 314)
  • Join us virtually:  9:30-11:00 am (Zoom)

Register now at: https://december-day-with-vincent.eventbrite.com

 

Both/And: Vincentian Personalism and Professionalism

The great genius and the challenge of the Vincentian way lies in simultaneously bringing together a keen attention and care for the dignity and uniqueness of each person, particularly those who are marginalized, with a zeal to do good well: that is, to improve systems that are ineffective and to innovate thoughtfully and creatively to best meet current needs. In the Vincentian tradition, the ongoing question—What must be done?—requires the integration of the affective and relational dimensions of our humanity with the effective, pragmatic, and systemic dimensions of the social challenges that we face. This both/and approach was at the source of Vincent’s transformative, generative, and long-lasting mission, which continues today through our work at DePaul University as well as in the work of those who serve in the larger Vincentian family.

When we reflect on the fruitful tension or balance between these two equally important characteristics of our Vincentian mission—whether these are seen as personalism and professionalism, affective and effective, interpersonal and systemic, or charity and justice—and the particular problems we face in our work or in broader society, we see how often one is favored or valued over the other. We may find, quite frankly, that it is much easier to sustain a driving focus on excellent performance and achievement at the expense of compassionate care and attention to the unique circumstances of each individual. On the other hand, it may be simpler to be permissive, flexible, and accommodating without regard for maintaining high standards of consistent quality and excellence. At a university like DePaul, the tendency to collapse the creative tension between these two characteristics in favor of one or the other may happen in the workplace, the classroom, the boardroom, or the playing field. Discerning the best approach in any given situation requires careful thought, a discerning heart, courageous patience, and the wisdom of experience, which is so often gained by drawing on the insight and support of others.

Maintaining an integral approach, bringing in both “sides” of this Vincentian way, is not easy. Perhaps this is why Vincent and Louise and those who followed them made a habit of regular meditation and prayer and lived and served within a community of belonging and accountability as they sought to fulfill the mission entrusted to them. When facing complex problems or social issues, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions or clear roadmaps that can steer us around the collective care needed to balance Vincentian personalism and professionalism. Vincent would tell us that “wisdom consists in following Providence step by step.”[1]

In what ways do you attend both to Vincentian personalism and professionalism at the same time in your individual and collective work at DePaul? What are the habits or strategies that you and your team have found to do so?                     

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


[1] Letter 270, To Bernard Codoing, Superior, in Rome, 6 August 1644, CCD, 2:521. Available at: https://via.library.depaul.edu/vincentian_ebooks/27/.

 

Join us for these upcoming programs focused on bringing together Vincentian personalism and professionalism:

Vincentian Mission and Management: Walking the Talk   

Thursday, November 11th, 3:00 – 4:30 pm

Virtual Event

Register Here

Our cherished Vincentian mission at DePaul is made real in the daily actions implemented, decisions made and relationships formed by those who make up the university community – and that especially includes those who manage other people and play a distinct role in helping to establish and maintain the working environment and culture enabling all to flourish. This program is designed specifically for managers at DePaul to gather with other managers who regularly ask themselves how our Vincentian mission can inform and guide them in what they do and balance Vincentian personalism and professionalism. After some introductory comments and ideas shared by experienced managers and Mission Ambassadors, Darryl Arrington and Hiwote Tamrat, there will be an opportunity to raise questions and glean from the wisdom of those gathered. Based on interest, we will consider future ways to provide ongoing support to managers around the practice of mission integration in their daily work as managers at DePaul.

—–

Sustaining the Mission

November 16, 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm

Virtual event.

This virtual workshop from Mission and Ministry is focused on the practice of “mission integration,” that is, ways of applying DePaul’s Vincentian mission to one’s daily life and work at DePaul. Participants will be invited to reflect on how they might be agents or leaders for mission in their areas of responsibility and influence.

Registration: Sustaining the Mission Fall Quarter 2021

Ted Lasso, the Mission, and relying on stories to share the load.

In the depths of the pandemic last year, my family, friends, and even work colleagues began sharing recommendations for which show to binge watch next. I’m sure we weren’t alone. This probably started because retelling stories of our daily lives was bleak and became an exercise in recycled trauma, whatever our vocation. We weren’t seeing each other, scattered as we were across the country and world, or even next door, so TV shows became our lingua franca and way of being with one another.

Some of the shows were old standbys that had long since aired, so the spark of rediscovery and most importantly—knowing what came next—helped ease the overwhelming anxiety that permeated every other aspect of our lives. Even if we had seen the episode or heard the jokes before, there was something reassuring about that familiarity. Other shows were new (to us) and exploring their undiscovered countries felt like a joint expedition. Whether the series was just released, like The Flight Attendant or Loki, or was just finishing, like Schitt’s Creek or Killing Eve, we foraged streaming services looking for the next story to share.

With hindsight, a particular kind of humor ran through most of the series we collectively watched—a humor that borrowed a “dash of vinegar” [1] with its gentleness, a comic sense that didn’t flinch from the sadness and tragedy of the world, but that found a way to acknowledge sorrow and still laugh, and in so doing provide relief from its weight. Everything in our lives pushed us towards loneliness and individual sorrow, but through sharing these stories, we found ways to collectively persevere through humor. It made all the difference.

I’ll end with a quote from one of our favorite new shows, Ted Lasso, about an (American) football coach from Kansas who gets hired to lead a premier league (European) football team in England. On the surface, the series seems to be a celebration of joy and positivity (the eponymous Ted is unrelentingly optimistic, after all). Underneath, however, it is a show not about happiness alone, but how to cope with grief, together.

In a memorable scene (no spoilers), from the wonderfully titled episode The Hope That Kills You, Ted professes: “I promise you there is something worse out there than being sad, and that’s being alone and being sad. Ain’t no one in this room alone.” [2]

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

When things seem bleak and most sobering—what are ways that we can authentically find and share joy with one another? How can we find ways to make each other laugh, even while acknowledging the pain all around us? When pursuing our collective Vincentian mission, how do we make sure that we are taking care of each other along the way, so that our “immortified moods” [3] do not overtake both ourselves and our community?


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

  1. [I]f the gentleness of your spirit needs a dash of vinegar, borrow a little from Our Lord’s spirit. O Mademoiselle, how well He knew how to find a bittersweet remark when it is needed!
    Vincent de Paul (Volume: 1 | Page#: 383) To Saint Louise, 1 November, 1637
  2. “I promise you there is something worse out there than being sad, and that’s being alone and being sad. Ain’t no one in this room alone.”
    Ted Lasso, “The Hope that Kills You” Season 1, Episode 10, airdate October 2020
  3. We must hold as an irrefutable maxim that the difficulties we have with our neighbor arise more from our immortified moods than from anything else.”
    Vincent de Paul (Volume: 1 | Page#: 597) To Nicolas Durot, in Toulouse, December 1639

Episode 19: Expedite at What Cost?

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 requests listeners to file comments opposing DHS and DOJ proposed regulations governing Credible Fear Screening by Asylum Officers.

ACTION STEP: You can file comments opposing part of or all of the proposed regulations before 11:59 p.m. EDT, Tuesday October 19.  CLINIC, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., has provided a sample template that provides instructions and helpful arguments to prepare and then submit your comments.  https://uchastings.app.box.com/s/qxj0pz0e7ehn8a1yontxz7gwvddad3ng

If you are unable to meet this Tuesday’s deadline, please consider corresponding with the White House and your Senators and Representative to oppose these proposed regulations.  The template offers sample language you might find helpful in communicating with elected representatives.

These proposed regulations, in the alleged name of effectiveness, efficiency, and streamlining, may preclude many deserving asylum seekers from obtaining a full and fair hearing before an Immigration Judge, and therefore, be denied asylum and other remedies.  DHS and DOJ have invited members of the public to comment on the proposals.  The template above offers a relatively simple way to respond.  The template provides significant information and resources on the failings of the proposed regulations.  You can submit your comments and also view the proposed regulations and explanation at:  https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/08/20/2021-17779/procedures-for-credible-fear-screening-and-consideration-of-asylum-withholding-of-removal-and-cat#open-comment

You may find more information on the proposed regulations in a summary by the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at:   https://uchastings.app.box.com/s/651zlybechnqq4ktk5rllihkybih9mx0

Jeffrey Chase’s quote comes from his blog, “The Need for Full-Fledged Asylum Hearings,” October 6, 2021 at: https://www.jeffreyschase.com/blog/2021/10/6/the-need-for-full-fledged-asylum-hearings

The $15 million-dollar contract with the GEO Group is cited in Rafael Bernal, “US Faces Daunting Task in Relationship with Haiti,” October 10, 2021 at:

https://thehill.com/latino/576036-us-faces-daunting-task-in-relationship-with-haiti

More information on how private for-profit detention corporations undermine our nation’s commitment to access to attorneys, due process, and commitments made to asylum seekers can be found at:    Statement of the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security Hearing Subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation & Operations Oversight of ICE Detention Facilities: Examining ICE Contractors’ Response to COVID-19 July 13, 2020, https://immigrantjustice.org/sites/default/files/content-type/commentary-item/documents/2020-07/NIJCStatement_HouseHomelandSecurityCommitteeHearing_2020-07-13.pdf

More information on tent courts and the difficulty attorneys face in meeting with clients to prepare cases can be found at, Mousin, Craig B., Health Inequity and Tent Court Injustice (February 1, 2021). AMA J Ethics. 2021;23(2):E132-139, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3777549

 

Sharing Our Trials as Well as Our Joys

“I received your letter yesterday; as always, it gave me fresh reasons for praising God. Still, it troubled me a little because, from what you tell me in your last letter, it seems to me you are suffering from something, although you did not state this clearly. Please share with me, Monsieur, your trials as well as your joys.”[1]

Moses (Peace be upon Him) is one of the most important figures in all three Abrahamic traditions,[2] and historically in American culture.[3] The Qur’an devotes more time to the life of Moses[4] than to any other person. In the Qur’anic telling, when Moses flees Egypt and the Pharaoh he arrives in Midian in a desperate situation. He hasn’t had anything to eat other than leaves, is physically drained and exhausted, and he remains deeply fearful that there are powerful forces seeking to capture and punish him. He is separated from all that was once dear and familiar. Moses comes across a large group of men watering their animals at a well, but his attention is drawn to two women who are said to be holding back theirs. Moses approaches them and asks “what is the matter?”[5] After they explain that their father is old and can’t come to the well, and that the men will not let them water their animals, Moses assists them and waters their animals himself. Moses then leaves to rest and pray to God, but this is the beginning of an unexpected blessing that will radically shift the course of his future.

Many of us have experienced, especially in times of loss, anxiety, or other suffering, the blessing of having someone listen to our story or to our feelings. In some cases they may be able to assist us in material ways. At other times, perhaps they can only accompany us in our grief or hardship. Either way, it often feels that sharing our burdens lessens them. This is what profoundly struck me in the excerpt above: “Please share with me Monsieur, your trials as well as your joys.” As Marilynne Robinson says in Gilead, “There’s a lot under the surface of life, everyone knows that.”[6] When we are able through words or actions, let those close to us know that they can share with us what is normally kept under the surface, their trials as well as their joys. This can be a powerful step towards creating real community. We strive to make DePaul more than just a workplace. We strive to create a community joined together for the sake of mission. Let us ask ourselves how we can be open to those around us, whether it be students we serve, those we supervise, or the fellow employees we encounter and work alongside.

There are many ways people respond to the brokenness of our world. One of the most memorable characters in literature is found in Charles Dickens’ Bleak House. Mrs. Jellyby fills her every moment with “work” towards an idealistic project in Africa, which she thinks will do enormous social good. Yet this project never comes to fruition. All the while she is ignoring the sufferings of those close to her, including her husband and her own children. In truly listening to the trials and joys of others, that which is under the surface, we begin to discern how we can best respond to those challenges that are within our sphere of influence. We see changes that can be made and realities that can be faced together.

For Reflection: Is there someone in your life with whom you can truly share your trials as well as your joys? Are there people for whom you provide that deep listening? What are some of the reasons we may be reluctant to share with others, or open ourselves to others sharing with us? How can we overcome these barriers to deeper community?

Reflection by: Abdul-Malik Ryan, Muslim Chaplain and Assistant Director of Religious Diversity and Pastoral Care, Division of Mission and Ministry

See also our past Mission Monday reflection “Being Fully Present” by Emily Lahood-Olsen, based on a quotation from Saint Louise de Marillac: https://blogs.depaul.edu/dmm/2019/10/21/being-fully-present/

We remind all of you that one of the ways you are invited to share with the DePaul community, whether sharing news of weddings, births, adoptions, or bereavements in your immediate family, is through the Newsline Family Events column: https://resources.depaul.edu/newsline/contact/Pages/life-events.aspx

You are also invited to share any requests for prayer with the Division of Mission and Ministry at: https://offices.depaul.edu/mission-ministry/religious-spiritual-life/Pages/Prayer-Requests.aspx


[1] Letter 1823, To Charles Ozenne, Superior, In Warsaw, 1 January 1655, CCD, 5:255.

[2] Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. As I remarked in a recent interfaith dialogue event about Moses, perhaps they could just as accurately (if not more so) be referred to as the three Mosaic faiths or traditions.

[3] Moses serves as one of the most popular superhero archetypes in popular culture and historically has been a touchstone for all Americans regardless of their political beliefs.

[4] In Arabic, Musa.

[5] Qur’an 28:22-24.

[6] Marilynne Robinson, Gilead (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004), p. 6.

DePaul… let’s be courageous!

Recently, due to a series of unique and unforeseen events, I received a surprising invitation. I was asked to stand-in as the “coach” for two DePaul student athletes competing at a tennis tournament in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. What exactly were my qualifications for this role? Really, none at all… except for a relationship with DePaul Athletics, an amateur’s keen interest in the sport, and an open schedule and a valid driver’s license! Despite the spark of enthusiasm I immediately felt, given my lack of formal credentials it isn’t surprising I had reservations about this undertaking.

But looking back, I am so glad I did not give into my anxieties and decline the invitation. For if I had, I would have missed a truly memorable and enriching experience. The joy of connecting with students, the growth that results from new challenges, the fulfillment that comes from contributing to a greater good… none of these would have occurred in quite the same way if I hadn’t been open to opportunity.

As I reflect on our Vincentian Family’s 400-year history “gathered for the sake of the mission,” I know Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Frédéric Ozanam and others must have experienced fear and hesitation as they made decisions and took actions significantly greater than the one I described above. They made decisions involving risks and rewards, with outcomes that were uncertain. Understanding the challenges ahead, towards the end of his life Vincent de Paul exhorted his community members to, “Go, learn how to free yourself and to be open to God’s Will; let that be your lesson.”[1] Vincent must have believed that the best decisions are the ones made from faith, love, and freedom.

All of us at DePaul make choices every day for ourselves, others, and our institution. As we scan our horizon of opportunities and search our hearts for guidance, are we open to the invitations that excite us and hold out the promise of life? In those moments of surprise or hesitation, perhaps we at DePaul can remember these words of Vincent: “Let’s be courageous! Let’s go wherever God may call us… let’s not fear anything.”[2]

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

Are there invitations presenting themselves right now that spark excitement in you? What would it look like if you said “yes” to those invitations?

What might you do in your life that would enable you to become more open to life-giving opportunities? What might make you more open to the will of God?


[1] Conference 205, Indifference (Common Rules, Chap. II, Art. 10), 16 May 1659, CCD, 12:197.

[2] Conference 135, Repetition of Prayer, 22 August 1655. Ibid., 11:265.

 

Written by: Tom Judge, Division of Mission and Ministry

Lawful Assembly Episode 18: Fear of Freedom


This is an interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin, an Adjunct Faculty member of the DePaul University College of Law and the Grace School of Applied Diplomacy.  The podcast contends that United States discrimination against Haitians over the last two centuries has created a moral obligation to Haiti and its residents.  Most recently, efforts to swiftly deport Haitians, contrary to the Refugee Act’s non-return requirement, reveals how efforts to restrict Haitian asylum-seekers over the last forty years has contributed to the continual denigration of asylum protections under the Refuge Act of 1980.

ACTION STEP:  The United Church of Christ offers you a way to promptly inform your representatives that deportations to Haiti must cease at:  https://p2a.co/MnT2c4m

A petition to stop Haitian deportations:

https://actionnetwork.org/forms/sign-the-petition-demand-that-the-biden-administration-halt-all-deportations-to-haiti?source=2021EndDeportationstoHaiti_NIJC&referrer=group-national-immigrant-justice-center&eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=daa3e06b-7fb9-41d5-90db-1f488e4d0344&sl_tc=button

For additional information on the history of United States responses to Haiti and Haitian asylum seekers, Azadeh Erfani of  the National Immigrant Justice Center’s writes:  “President Biden, It is Past Time to Protect Haitian Asylum Seekers, at:  https://immigrantjustice.org/staff/blog/president-biden-it-past-time-protect-haitian-asylum-seekers

An American Immigration Council report on Haiti can be found at: Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, “Del Rio Migrant Camp Shows How Biden Administration Is Not Living Up to Its Promises” at:

https://immigrationimpact.com/2021/09/21/haitian-migrant-camp-biden-promises/#.YVSS8S1h1fE

See also, Raymond Joseph, former envoy of Haiti to Washington, “Haiti Cries Out: Where is President Biden, as My Countrymen Swelter Under a Bridge in Texas,” https://www.nysun.com/foreign/haiti-cries-out-where-is-president-biden-as-my/91660/

Former Justice Harry A. Blackmun’s quote from his dissent is at page 208 in Sale v. Haitian Centers Council, 509 U.S. 155, (1993).  His other quotes in the podcast are from his law review article, “The Supreme Court and the Law of Nations,” 104 Yale L.J. 39, 44 (1994). (https://www.jstor.org/stable/796983).

Professor Peniel Joseph’s quote can be found at: “This Is the Story of Haiti That Matters Most,” (August 20, 2021) at: https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/20/opinions/haiti-earthquake-flooding-assassination-revolution-joseph/index.html

Professor Annette Gordon-Reed’s quote can be found at:  “We Owe Haiti A Debt We Can’t Repay,” (July 21, 2021) at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/21/opinion/haiti-us-history.html

Saint Vincent de Paul: From Memory to Commitment

Vincent de Paul’s spirituality is not a spirituality of the academy but of life. Johann Baptist Metz, a German theologian, was the first one to talk about “the spirituality of open eyes.” According to him, “the experience of God biblically inspired is not a perception uniquely related to oneself but rather a perception vividly intensified by the pain and suffering of others.”[1] This is the spirituality of Saint Vincent de Paul whose memory we are celebrating today. Vincent was a man of faith whose eyes were wide open.

Looking was what saved him. When Vincent decided to open his eyes, his humanity and the purpose of his life were redefined. This progressive conversion of our founder gradually defined his spiritual maturity. “The poor, who do not know where to go or what to do, who are suffering already and who increase daily, are my burden and my sorrow.”[2] His many experiences with the poor shook him with great force, opened his eyes, and molded his spirituality. They led him to read history as a mediation of God continually revealing His will to us.

A prominent turn in contemporary theology has involved the call for a renewed relationship between Christian spirituality, sociopolitical factors, and environmental concerns. At DePaul University we feel that this is a challenge we cannot avoid. Our understanding of Catholic and Vincentian traditions must be informed by opening our eyes to the societal challenges made plain in our university Mission Statement. Catholic Higher Education is being invited from the heart of the Catholic Church to become an effective tool for social transformation, social mobility, sustainability, nonviolence, racial equity, and justice.[3]

“Since its founding in 1898, DePaul University has remained dedicated to making education accessible to all, with special attention to including underserved and underrepresented communities.”[4] Our continuous commitment is grounded in our understanding of the Vincentian Spirit, and on facing the challenges and opportunities of our contemporary world. Education is a human right currently denied to most members of our human family. It is a fundamental resource necessary for individuals and communities to thrive. Access to education and equity is an ongoing struggle, recently made evident by our concerns, our fears, and our prayers for the women of Afghanistan.

Today, I invite the DePaul community to celebrate Saint Vincent de Paul by continuing our move from memory to commitment. To embrace a spirituality of open eyes, as Vincent did, we need to dare to see, to hear, and to boldly interpret the signs of the times. This must be done personally, communally, and socially. In listening to the cries of our earth itself and the cries from across our planet of all those suffering exclusion and discrimination, we should understand that God is calling us.

HAPPY FEAST DAY DEAR DEPAUL COMMUNITY!

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

Please join DePaul colleagues for the Annual Vincentian Feast Day Mass and Lunch at both campuses today, Monday September 27th at 12 Noon, in the Miraculous Medal Chapel (Loop – 1st floor Lewis building) and the St. Louise de Marillac Chapel (LPC 1st floor Student Center). Lunch to follow masses at both campuses. All are welcome!


[1] Matthew T. Eggemeier, “A Mysticism of Open Eyes: Compassion for a Suffering World and the Askesis of Contemplative Prayer,” Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality 12:1 (2012): 43-62. See: researchgate.net.

[2] Letter 1143, To Rene Almeras, Superior, In Rome, 8 October 1649, CCD, 3:492.

[3] Francis, Global Compact on Education, 15 October 2020. See: vatican.va.

[4] DePaul University Mission Statement, March 2021. See: mission statement.