Freedom Dreaming: Reimagining Justice Systems, Centering Humanity

Resources, News, Events and Happenings related to the integration of DePaul’s Vincentian mission into the ongoing life and work of the university community.

Mission Monday

Understanding the Vincentian Heart

How does your life experience and DePaul’s Vincentian mission enable you to Explore Your Purpose?

…read more

 

Mission-Related Events and Happenings This Week

Freedom Dreaming: Reimagining Justice Systems, Centering Humanity

Join anti-death penalty advocate and activist Sr. Helen Prejean for a dialogue about imagination as a tool for individual and collective liberation. Panelists will explore “freedom dreaming,” an invitation to radically reimagine a justice system that prioritizes human beings over systems of oppression.

RSVP Here

 

Lunch with Vincent: A Conversation with Maureen McGonagle

DePaul faculty and staff are invited to join Mission and Ministry and Maureen McGonagle, a veteran university leader, for our inaugural Spring Quarter Lunch with Vincent. Maureen, with 25 years of experience directing The Ray Meyer Fitness and Recreation Center, will delve into the distinction between “values” and “virtues” and discover ways to embody them both more deeply.

Register Here

 

Vincentian Service Day 2024

Vincentian Service Day 2024 is Saturday, May 4. Join the DePaul community for this annual University tradition celebrating our Vincentian mission. All students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to register! You can register on the VSD website either as an individual or as a group (of at least 10 people). If you have questions or would like a member of the Service Day Team to speak to your department or a student group, please reach out to serviceday@depaul.edu. #DePaulVSD

 

Help with the VSD Morning Program!

Can’t commit to spending the whole day but still want to be part of Vincentian Service Day? The Service Day Team in the Division of Mission and Ministry would love your help with the Vincentian Service Day morning program. We need volunteers to help direct VSD participants, assist with bus instructions, pass out t-shirts, and many other things. If you can help on Saturday, May 4th from 7:30AM-10AM at the Lincoln Park campus, please email Katie Sullivan (ksulli47@depaul.edu). Thank you!

 

Unity in Action: Celebrating St. Vincent at the Vinny Games

Join us for the 2024 Vinny Games, co-sponsored by the Ray! Each year, the Vinny Games foster a sense of community engagement and teamwork through spirited competition. The Vinny Games serve as a tribute to St. Vincent DePaul’s legacy of togetherness and action for a common, noble cause. Please join!  For more information, please email Tom Judge at tjudge@depaul.edu.

 

Louise Week 2024

In honor of Saint Louise de Marillac’s Feast Day on May 9th, the Division of Mission and Ministry invites the DePaul community to celebrate Louise Week from May 4-10. For more information about the week’s events, check out the Louise Week event lineup here: 

Louise Week 2024 Events

 

 

 

 

Bereavement Notices

Remembering Jen Sweet

Jen Sweet, a former employee of DePaul, passed away on April 6 after fighting cancer for 16 years. Before leaving DePaul for her medical treatment, Jen had served as the director of assessment at the Center for Teaching and Learning. A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, April 24 at 10 am at Faupel Funeral Home, New Port Richey, Florida.

DePaul University Bereavement Notices will now be found here.

Louise Week 2024

In honor of Saint Louise de Marillac’s Feast Day on May 9th, the Division of Mission and Ministry invites the DePaul community to celebrate Louise Week from May 4-10.   

As a DePaul community, our strategic planning context is inviting us to dream, design, and innovate – and Saint Louise provides us a unique example of Vincentian leadership. Her life was a demonstration of love in action through her innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. She along with her female contemporaries provided the shoulders that bore the weight of crisis that they experienced in a country racked by war, entrenched in political upheaval, overwhelmed by the plague, and struck by hunger. In community, these women collaborated across difference, uplifted the gifts in those they served and created new pathways forward to respond to those on the margins. Her story reminds us of the possibility of transforming systems and lives.  

We kick off Louise Week 2024 with Vincentian Service Day on May 4th followed by a week of celebration. Just as Saint Louise was sustained by the generosity and goodness of those around her, may we too take the time to pause, uplift, and celebrate with gratitude those who sustain our journey and inspire us.  

Finally, this year there is a distinctive way for all to honor Saint Louise’s life and legacy: give a Shared Coin to a student, faculty, or staff you have witnessed living DePaul’s mission. In honor of the 400th anniversary of St. Louise de Marillac’s Lumiere moment, this year’s Shared Coin quote is: 

“Encourage one another and may your mutual good example speak louder than any words can.”  

– St. Louise de Marillac 

For more information about the Shared Coin Tradition, including how to pick up a coin, check out the website at: go.depaul.edu/sharedcoin.

Join us!


Vincentian Service Day

Date: Saturday, May 4 | Location: LPC – Cacciatore Stadium | Time: 8:30 am

Started in 1998, Vincentian Service Day is a DePaul tradition where students, staff, faculty, and alumni come together to participate in a day of service with community partners in Chicago. 

Serviceday.depaul.edu

 

DAB Tie Dye Tuesday 

Date: Tuesday, May 7 | Location: LPC – Quad | Time: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Join DAB for a fun afternoon making special Louise & Friends Tie Dye T-shirts! Don’t miss this chance to learn about the legacy of St. Louise de Marillac and other powerful women in DePaul’s history!

 

Catholic Charities Tuesday Night Supper

Date: Tuesday, May 7 | Location: 721 N. LaSalle St. | Time: 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm

Join the Meet Me at the Mission and DCSA in serving the Catholic Charities Tuesday Night Supper at 721 N. LaSalle St. Participants will help to prep and serve a hot meal to guests who may be experiencing homelessness or are recently arrived migrant families. Come ready for a meaningful Vincentian service experience to learn about the legacy of the Daughters of Charity in Chicago.  

Meet in the Interfaith Sacred Space, 1st Floor of the Student Center across from Suite 104, between 3:30-3:45 to take the train together to the location downtown. RSVP required due to limited space.  

DeHub Link: https://cglink.me/2cC/r384449

 

Lunch with Louise (For Faculty & Staff)

Date: Wednesday, May 8 | Location: Loop – 11th Floor DePaul Center, The DePaul Club | Time: 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Join DAB for a fun afternoon making special Louise & Friends Tie Dye T-shirts! Don’t miss this chance to learn about the legacy of St. Louise de Marillac and other powerful women in DePaul’s history!

 

Catholic Community Night 

Date: Wednesday, May 8 | Location: LPC – Student Center Suite 104 | Time: 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Join CCM’s Catholic Community Night!

 

Louise Feast Day Mass & Lunch

Date: Thursday, May 9 | Location: LPC – St. Louise de Marillac Chapel & LPC Student Center 104, Loop – Chapel on 1st floor of Lewis Center & The DePaul Club 11018 | Time: Mass – 12:00 pm, Lunch – 12:45 pm 

 Celebrate the Feast Day with a celebratory lunch at 12:45pm. Everyone is welcome! For the Lincoln Park Campus, come to Catholic Campus Ministry (Student Center 104). In the Loop, join us in the DePaul Club on the 11th floor of the DePaul Center. 

 

Loop Louise & Friends Celebration 

Date: Thursday, May 9 | Location: DePaul Center 11th Floor Gallery & Terrace | Time: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Join the Office of Student Involvement and Mission and Ministry to celebrate the feast of St. Louise de Marillac. Stop by for a snack, learn about the legacy of Louise and other powerful women in DePaul’s history and get your free Louise & Friends t-shirt  

DeHub Link: https://cglink.me/2cC/r386614 

 

Cafecito con Tepeyac

Date: Thursday, May 9 | Location: LPC – Student Center Suite 380 | Time: 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Join us for a conversation about women’s leadership, the legacy of St. Louise de Marillac and community with Latinx students. Cafecito and a snack will be provided!

DeHub Link: https://cglink.me/2cC/r386859

 

Dinner with Daughters

Date: Thursday, May 9 | Location: Sanctuary Hall, 2347 N. Kenmore Ave | Time: 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Have you ever met a Daughter of Charity? Join Meet Me at the Mission and Residence Education & Housing for dinner and conversation to celebrate the Feast of St. Lousie de Marillac. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear these amazing women share their story of how they continue to live the legacy of St. Louise de Marillac today.  

DeHub Link: https://cglink.me/2cC/r386738 

Understanding the Vincentian Heart

Some years ago, colleagues from Mission and Ministry and many other areas developed an initiative called Explore Your Purpose at DePaul University (EYP). This initiative is for all members of the university community to foster their sense of personal meaning and social purpose as part of the educational environment at DePaul.[1] While I wasn’t part of the initial group that created EYP, I participated in ongoing conversations on how to engage students, faculty, and staff around its four Enduring Understandings and have used its resources with students.

Each winter quarter, during a retreat with scholars in the Division of Mission and Ministry, I ask students to contemplate their DePaul experience. Using the lens of these Enduring Understandings, and depending on their class year, they might ponder living a meaningful life, discerning vocation, understanding the Vincentian heart, or sustaining the journey.[2]

This past January, I asked some DMM colleagues to join me and share a story or experience from their life in conjunction with one of the Enduring Understandings. My hope was that our sharing would help the students to feel more comfortable with the topics and lead them to deeper reflection during this part of the retreat. I spoke about understanding the Vincentian heart and shared, briefly, my experience as a student at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, when the then-worst high school shooting in U.S. history happened, and how that day shaped and formed me and led me to my path at DePaul.

I told them that as I struggled to process the complex emotions involved in experiencing significant trauma, I discovered the joy in helping others as so many had helped my community. I spoke about how, in my current role, I get to connect service-minded students to experiences that help their communities. In other words, I have the opportunity to walk with students as they work to understand their Vincentian hearts, spending time with them on their journeys and witnessing the amazing ways they look at the world and say, “I think we can do better.”

The astute reader of this blog might recall that I wrote on this very topic for a Mission Monday entry a few years ago. You might wonder why I’m bringing it up again. This event is an integral part of who I am, and it’s important not to forget this tragedy. As I write this reflection, the twenty-fifth anniversary of that tragic day is still a week away. When you read this, that day will have just gone by. I haven’t always been able to share about this part of my story, but I’ve learned there is a certain power that comes in naming that I lived through this experience and that it has shaped me—positively and negatively. I’ve also learned that it’s important for me personally to name that I am a survivor of gun violence. Sharing about this part of myself in a public setting isn’t easy for me, but when I do so, I am sharing from a specific understanding of my Vincentian heart.

My Vincentian heart is continuously being molded by all aspects of my life. Every year it is impacted by the students on the Vincentian Service Day Team in the Division of Mission and Ministry and the amazing work they do on this event. I’m not sure the students would articulate their work in this way, but they demonstrate an understanding of their Vincentian hearts every time they plan the DePaul tradition that is Vincentian Service Day (VSD). From the way they brainstorm about engaging more members of the DePaul community in VSD, to the ways they interact with community partners and DePaul partners during the planning process, to the way they interact with each other, they work with a sense of thoughtfulness and intentionality. They continually push me, and each other, to create a VSD that is representative of our Vincentian mission. In working on this tradition for the DePaul community, they create a space where everyone who participates can connect to understanding their Vincentian hearts through an experience of service.

Who or what has shaped and molded your Vincentian heart?

I invite you to join the DePaul community for Vincentian Service Day on Saturday, May 4. Registration closes on Wednesday May 1 at 11:59 AM. For more information about participating in VSD, visit: http://serviceday.depaul.edu; or email: serviceday@depaul.edu.


Reflection by: Katie Sullivan, Program Manager, Vincentian Service and Formation Office, Division of Mission and Ministry

[1] For more, see: Explore Your Purpose at DePaul.

[2] For more, see: Explore Your Purpose at DePaul University: Enduring Understandings and Learning Outcomes.

Loop Mass & Lunch

Resources, News, Events and Happenings related to the integration of DePaul’s Vincentian mission into the ongoing life and work of the university community.

Mission Monday

Organizational Renewal and Collective Cultivation

What cultivates the change that cures?

…read more

 

 

Mission-Related Events and Happenings This Week

Mass and Lunch for Faculty and Staff

As we begin the Spring Quarter, the Division of Mission and Ministry invites Catholic faculty and staff at DePaul to attend mass with us and then be our guests for lunch. Through participating in the mass and enjoying a meal together, we wish to foster community and nurture our spirituality. We hope you will join us for this time of prayer, celebration, and friendship. (Faculty and staff of all faiths are welcome!)

Loop RSVP

 

Lunch with Vincent: A Conversation with Maureen McGonagle

DePaul faculty and staff are invited to join Mission and Ministry and Maureen McGonagle, a veteran university leader, for our inaugural Spring Quarter Lunch with Vincent. Maureen, with 25 years of experience directing The Ray Meyer Fitness and Recreation Center, will delve into the distinction between “values” and “virtues” and discover ways to embody them both more deeply.

Register Here

 

Unity in Action: Celebrating St. Vincent at the Vinny Games

Join us for the 2024 Vinny Games, co-sponsored by the Ray! Each year, the Vinny Games foster a sense of community engagement and teamwork through spirited competition. The Vinny Games serve as a tribute to St. Vincent DePaul’s legacy of togetherness and action for a common, noble cause. Please join!  For more information, please email Tom Judge at tjudge@depaul.edu.

 

Bereavement Notices

Remembering Jen Sweet

Jen Sweet, a former employee of DePaul, passed away on April 6 after fighting cancer for 16 years. Before leaving DePaul for her medical treatment, Jen had served as the director of assessment at the Center for Teaching and Learning. A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, April 24 at 10 am at Faupel Funeral Home, New Port Richey, Florida.

DePaul University Bereavement Notices will now be found here.

Organizational Renewal and Collective Cultivation

When I left home for college, I had not yet come to appreciate the changing seasons of my rural Connecticut childhood. It would be decades before I was again able to experience a four-season climate. After twenty-plus years in Florida and stops in Texas and California, my partner and I arrived in Pennsylvania, where we were greeted by long winters and the life-affirming color of flowering plants and trees upon the arrival of spring: forsythia, tulips, crocuses, magnolias, and daffodils. By the time we moved to Chicago (and DePaul) in 2012, we had grown quite fond of the changing seasons. Planning and cultivating a garden meant a commitment to hard work, communication, patience, and reward.

We seek such meaning in our lives. And it is sometimes our setbacks—in relationships, in health, in our careers—that call out for renewal. However one finds a source for renewal, one hopes for a spark that might revitalize. When that spark ignites, it can feel like Wordsworth’s daffodils, “fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”[1] Whether embodied by the Easter holiday or the seemingly sudden appearance of brightly colored flowers, spring signals new beginnings, hope, and renewal.

Here we are again in the midst of change. I refer not just to the arrival of spring but also the significant work going on right now on this campus to implement Designing DePaul. I was fortunate to be in the audience for President Manuel’s inauguration speech in November 2022, when he previewed the work that so many in the DePaul community have contributed to. He emboldened those of us in attendance when he said, “We must live up to Saint Vincent and Saint Louise’s standards by being people of action and reflection—not only seeing the dignity of each individual, but also seeing their potential and creating the change that cures.”[2] The change that cures. As a health communication researcher, I am entranced by the word “cure.” Etymologically, the verb form of “cure” stems from the Latin curare, which means “to take care of.” In this sense, we also cure food for preservation. The noun form—cura—is drawn from the same Latin root and is both “a means of healing” and, when accented, “a parish priest in France” and “one responsible for the care of souls”—curé.

As Designing DePaul matures from vision to implementation, our community will recognize how the learning organization is one that is always open to possibility and continuous change. Systems strive for, but never achieve, equilibrium. The change that cures is an organizational mindset that encourages its stakeholders to respond to—indeed, to preserve—the inevitability of perpetual change.

How can we become a community that learns and grows together?

As faculty and staff at DePaul University, we embrace the duty of care we have for our students in fulfillment of our Vincentian mission. In the College of Communication, a small group of us has developed a course, Communication Fundamentals for College Success, to help students become more engaged in their learning, develop a growth mindset, and identify campus resources that can aid them. This collective effort was inspired by significant changes we recognized in our students as they emerged from two years of less-than-ideal learning environments during the pandemic. As committed faculty, we recognized a need, worked together, and made something new for the benefit of our students as well as for each other in our small learning collective.

In her Spiritual Writings, Saint Louise remarks on the work involved in establishing the Daughters of Charity and, in so doing, offers a philosophy for all collaborative work. She writes, “I must make good use of the advice which has been given to me concerning the distinctions which appear among persons working together for the same goal, who have similar and nearly equal responsibilities for its outcome.”[3] Margaret Posig draws connections between Saint Vincent’s change efforts and those of John Kotter, an organizational change scholar. As Posig explains, Saint Vincent and Saint Louise communicated their vision via storytelling in letters, newspapers, and brief memos—all the means of connection at their disposal.[4] Margaret Kelly notes the energy Saint Louise exerted in maintaining her correspondence with Saint Vincent as well as recording her private thoughts.[5] In her writing, she expresses joy and devotion but also her uncertainty, apprehension, and confusion. Arguably, Saint Louise was successful because she embraced humility and patience.[6] Deep learning emerges from an almost childlike curiosity of what can happen when we are both motivated for change—for renewal—and humbled by how much we can learn together.

Questions for Reflection:

To revitalize our work in service of the Vincentian mission and Designing DePaul, how can we inspire conversations that acknowledge both uncertainty and joy? In our various enterprises both within and beyond our professional units, how can we encourage curiosity and humility in the service of change that cures?

“Saint Vincent de Paul as a Leader of Change: The Key Roles of A higher” by Margaret Posig Ph.D.


Reflection by: Jay Baglia, Associate Professor, Health Communication, College of Communication

[1] William Wordsworth, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” Poetry Foundation, accessed April 11, 2024, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45521/i-wandered-lonely-as-a-cloud.

[2] Rob Manuel, “Inauguration 2022,” DePaul University, November 11, 2022, https://‌offices.‌depaul.‌edu/‌president/‌notes-from-rob/2022-2023/Pages/inauguration-2022.aspx.

[3] Document A. 12, “(Renunciation of Self),” (c. 1633) in Louise Sullivan, D.C., ed. and trans., Spiritual Writings of Louise de Marillac: Correspondence and Thoughts (New York: New City Press, 1991). Available at: https://via.library.depaul.edu/ldm/.

[4] See Margaret Posig, PhD, “Saint Vincent de Paul as a Leader of Change: The Key Roles of A higher Purpose and Empowerment,” Vincentian Heritage 26:1 (2005), pp. 27-41, at: https://‌‌via.library.depaul.edu/vhj/vol26/iss1/4.

[5] Margaret J. Kelly, D.C., “The Relationship of Saint Vincent and Saint Louise from Her Perspective,” Vincentian Heritage 11:1 (1990), pp. 77-114, at: https://via.library.depaul.edu/vhj/vol11/iss1/6.

[6] Louise Sullivan, D.C., “Louise de Marillac: A Spiritual Portrait,” in Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac: Rules, Conferences, and Writings, ed. F. Ryan and J. Rybolt (New York: Paulist Press, 1995), 39-64.

Bereavement Notice – Jen Sweet

Jen Sweet, a former employee of DePaul, passed away on April 6 after fighting cancer for 16 years. Before leaving DePaul for her medical treatment, Jen had served as the director of assessment at the Center for Teaching and Learning. While helping schools and colleges with accreditation related assessment reports, she inspired many faculty and staff with her unbeatable spirit and commitment to work and life.

A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, April 24 at 10 am at Faupel Funeral Home, New Port Richey, Florida.

Jennifer M. Sweet Obituary 2024 – Faupel Funeral Home & Crematory

Mass & Lunch for Faculty & Staff

Resources, News, Events and Happenings related to the integration of DePaul’s Vincentian mission into the ongoing life and work of the university community.

Mission Monday

Showing up in a Time of Digital Distance

When did you last let your heart speak?

…read more

 

 

Mission-Related Events and Happenings This Week

Mass and Lunch for Faculty and Staff

As we begin the Spring Quarter, the Division of Mission and Ministry invites Catholic faculty and staff at DePaul to attend mass with us and then be our guests for lunch. Through participating in the mass and enjoying a meal together, we wish to foster community and nurture our spirituality. We hope you will join us for this time of prayer, celebration, and friendship. (Faculty and staff of all faiths are welcome!)

Lincoln Park RSVP

Loop RSVP

 

 

Lunch with Vincent: A Conversation with Maureen McGonagle

DePaul faculty and staff are invited to join Mission and Ministry and Maureen McGonagle, a veteran university leader, for our inaugural Spring Quarter Lunch with Vincent. Maureen, with 25 years of experience directing The Ray Meyer Fitness and Recreation Center, will delve into the distinction between “values” and “virtues” and discover ways to embody them both more deeply.

Register Here

 

Unity in Action: Celebrating St. Vincent at the Vinny Games

Join us for the 2024 Vinny Games, co-sponsored by the Ray! Each year, the Vinny Games foster a sense of community engagement and teamwork through spirited competition. The Vinny Games serve as a tribute to St. Vincent DePaul’s legacy of togetherness and action for a common, noble cause. Please join!  For more information, please email Tom Judge at tjudge@depaul.edu.

Showing up in a Time of Digital Distance

As has been the case during many former Lenten seasons, this year several groups of DePaul faculty and staff met on Zoom during a six-week period to participate in faith-sharing groups. Even though many of the group members had never before met, their time invited them to get to know colleagues on a much deeper level than activities of the workplace typically allow. During these sessions, we shared about the events of our lives in light of our faith commitments, and we prayed together as a community gathered together for the sake of a rich mission. While we may have started out as strangers, we soon became spiritual companions who travelled together on a unique journey, opening up about our lives and supporting each other during an intimate and sacred moment in time.

In many ways, this simple commitment to meet together and to share honestly aligned with the invocation of Saint Vincent, centuries before, to model truthful simplicity. Writing to a fellow priest, Vincent had implored, “Have the simplicity of a dove. This means giving a straightforward opinion about things in the way we honestly see them, without needless reservations. It also means doing things without any double-dealing or manipulation, our intention being focused solely on God.”[1] After all, “everyone loves simple, candid people, who don’t use subtleties or tricks, who are straightforward and speak sincerely, with the result that whatever they say comes from their heart.… they’re respected … esteemed by all.[2]

Last week’s Mission Monday invited us to reflect on our human need to be in community and to feel cared for in good times and in bad. As I reflect upon what happened for me this Lenten season, our faith-sharing groups made manifest the best of “Take Care DePaul.” We showed up for one another. We listened and supported each other. At times, we gently challenged each other. We shared our truths, and we made meaning together. We trusted one another. And, if members couldn’t attend, we prayed for them and for the larger DePaul community. It was a form of spiritual accompaniment, a way of reminding each other that we matter, and the events of our lives matter. In a world that is so often defined by digital distance, this weekly coming together reminded us that we were not alone.

At its best, DePaul is a community that cares, and caring for the other is an integral part of working at a Vincentian university. Moreover, it is part of what it means to be human and is essential for human flourishing.

There are many experiences that may represent for us the best of DePaul. In the midst of the winter quarter, these groups were just one small manifestation of such an experience. They offered an opportunity to come together and listen to each other in a supportive environment of peers. This meant that for just a brief moment in time, we were able to share what was in our hearts and feel heard. It offered an opportunity to care and, in a spirit of mutuality, to experience being cared for by trusted peers. Engaging in such meaningful experiences has the potential to remind us that another world is possible, a world that is more caring and compassionate, in which all may thrive.

Reflection Questions

How might you/we create more experiences with colleagues that allow for deeper interpersonal sharing, support, and connection?

Think of a moment when you felt you were particularly well cared for at DePaul. Who showed up for you at that time? How have you paid this moment forward? What did that feel like?

Recall a time when you spoke the truth in the face of your own fears. What do you remember of this moment? What did you learn from it?


Reflection by: Siobhan O’Donoghue, PhD, Director of Faculty and Staff Engagement, Division of Mission and Ministry

[1] Constitutions and Statutes of the Congregation of the Mission, English trans. (Rome: General Curia of the Congregation of the Mission, 1989), 109.

[2] Pierre Coste, C.M., ed., Vincent de Paul: Correspondence, Conferences, Documents, ed. and trans. Jacqueline Kilar, D.C. et al., 14 vols. (New York: New City Press, 1985-2008), 12:142.

Vincentian Heritage Journal Vol. 37, No. 2: Exploring Vincentian Formation

Resources, News, Events and Happenings related to the integration of DePaul’s Vincentian mission into the ongoing life and work of the university community.

Mission Monday

What Must Be Done to Renew the DePaul Community?

Our human need to be in community and relationships, to feel that we are cared for and valued, in good times and in bad, is basic and intrinsic. It is also essential to our university’s mission…read more

 

 

Mission-Related Events and Happenings This Week

Vincentian Heritage Journal

The DePaul University Vincentian Studies Institute is pleased to announce the publication of our newest peer-reviewed e-book edition of Vincentian Heritage, Volume 37, Number 2. This edition explores the many facets of Vincentian formation.

Learn More

 

 

Lunch with Vincent: A Conversation with Maureen McGonagle

DePaul faculty and staff are invited to join Mission and Ministry and Maureen McGonagle, a veteran university leader, for our inaugural Spring Quarter Lunch with Vincent. Maureen, with 25 years of experience directing The Ray Meyer Fitness and Recreation Center, will delve into the distinction between “values” and “virtues” and discover ways to embody them both more deeply.

Register Here

 

Spring: DePaul’s Season of Religious Observances

Spring on our campus is a time of religious celebrations, honoring traditions like Passover, Holi, Holy Week, and Ramadan. Join us as we embrace diversity and unity in this season of spiritual reflection.

Learn More

 

What Must Be Done to Renew the DePaul Community?

This past Saturday evening, millions of Christians around the world attended the Easter Vigil, the most important liturgy (or religious worship) of the year. With dramatic use of fire and water, prayer and readings, song and silence, the Easter Vigil celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and welcomes new members into the Christian faith. A peak moment that combines these elements during the Vigil is the rite of baptism for adults being initiated into the Church. After months of preparation, those seeking baptism are brought before the assembly. They are invited to renounce sin and profess their faith and then are immersed in the holy waters of baptism, symbolizing cleansing and new life.

Just before this solemn ritual takes place, there is a moment during which the priest leads the worshippers in a unique prayer called the Litany of the Saints. With roots dating back to the founding of Christianity, the Litany of the Saints invokes the aid of those who came before us—angels, saints, and martyrs—to pray for and watch over those of us who are gathered. We are joined with this Communion of Saints through prayer and shared faith. We are in spiritual relationship with them as they give us support and guidance to continue our journeys of faith. The Litany of the Saints is a timeless reminder of our desire for community and connection. It encapsulates the human need for relationships, spiritual and otherwise, that provide care and witness in our lives.

Our need to be in community and relationships, to feel that we are cared for and valued, in good times and in bad, is basic and intrinsic. It is part of what motivates people to join faith communities, as witnessed at the Easter Vigil. Our churches, mosques, synagogues, and other social organizations help meet this need for community. So, too, do our schools, workplaces, and communities. At the most fundamental level, our families and friends are witnesses to our lives whose love and acceptance is enduring, even during periods of struggle and disappointment. As shown throughout human history and within our own personal experience, relationships matter. When healthy relationships abound in our lives, we flourish. When they are lacking, we decline.

This belief in the power of relationships is one that no less a person than the surgeon general of the United States, Dr. Vivek Murthy, endorses. Last year, Murthy issued an advisory calling for all Americans to pay attention to the urgent public health issues of loneliness and isolation that he asserted has reached epidemic levels.[1] In part the result of decades of slowly declining social connectedness as well as the isolating impact of the Covid pandemic, Murthy found that Americans spend more time on the internet and less time with others. They feel less connected with their communities and more alone than ever before. In direct terms, the surgeon general wrote of the importance of rebuilding trust, empathy, and a sense of belonging to help nurture social connections in the face of this growing feeling of isolation.

Despite the vast difference in circumstances between their time and ours, Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac understood this basic human need for community and a feeling of connection. At the heart of the service to which Vincent and Louise gave their lives was devotion to those who were abandoned by others,[2] who were the least visible and most marginalized in society. At the same time, in forming faith-based organizations of service such as the Congregation of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity, Vincent and Louise placed great importance on their followers living in community and serving shoulder to shoulder with each other. They saw these community relationships as providing both an edifying[3] as well as practical[4] benefit for the men and women who were the first Vincentian Family members.

Today, DePaul University members are just as in need of relationships and communities as were those early followers of Vincent and Louise. That need is even more apparent as our university community has been subjected to the same forces of changing social norms and the damages of Covid that have caused the broader social disconnect identified by the surgeon general. These realities present DePaul with challenges as great as those our university faces in the areas of enrollment, retention, consolidation, budgeting, and the like.

But, as in most things at DePaul, our strengths and advantages provide us with an abundance of resources needed to overcome these issues. First among our assets is our Vincentian, Catholic mission, which values the human being and the common good above all else. If all parts of the university reflect on how they are best guided to live by our mission, we will have ample protection against the forces that lead to disconnect. In addition, we have a history of being a strong and supportive community whose members have always been grateful to be in relationship with one another and to call DePaul home. Taken together, if today’s generation of talented students, staff, and faculty recognize and agree on the basic challenges that exist to our communities and relationships and then commit to operating within their spheres of influence to make a difference, we will succeed at renewing a vibrant, joy-filled, and supportive community at DePaul.

What might our committed response to these challenges look like? As a first step, it could simply be reaching out to a friend or colleague and scheduling a time to be together. Beyond that, you could join a group or go to an event that might allow you to develop your skills and meet new friends. At higher levels, university resources of money, energy, and attention could go toward supporting opportunities for community and relationship building so that members feel heard, valued, and supported. There are probably many other ways—modest or grand—that our DePaul community can reinvigorate our sense of belonging and connection and put the forces that contribute to loneliness at bay. It gives me, and I hope it gives you, real hope to imagine these possibilities!

Questions for Reflection:

How are you feeling about your relationships and community connections at DePaul? Who are people you can turn to when sharing a joy or a sorrow? Do you fill that role for others? How might you cultivate these relationships if they seem lacking?

Why not commit to doing something to help strengthen the bonds of community at DePaul? Could you reach out to a colleague and schedule a check-in? Attend an event or join an organization? Does anything else come to mind?

The Division of Mission and Ministry’s Faculty and Staff Engagement team would be delighted to visit with faculty and staff at DePaul at any time.


Reflection by: Tom Judge, Assistant Director and Chaplain, Faculty and Staff Engagement, Division of Mission and Ministry

[1] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation: The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on the Healing Effects of Social Connection and Community,” 2023, at: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/surgeon-general-social-connection-advisory.pdf.

[2] Conference 164, “Love for the Poor,” January 1657, CCD 11:349: “Come then, my dear confreres, let us devote ourselves with renewed love to serve persons who are poor, and even to seek out those who are the poorest and most abandoned.” Available at: https://‌via.‌library.‌depaul.‌edu/‌vincentian_‌ebooks/‌37/.

[3] Conference 1, “Explanation of the Regulations,” July 31, 1634, CCD, 9:2: “What a blessing to be a member of a Community because each individual shares in the good that is done by all!” Available at: https://‌via.‌library.‌depaul.‌edu/‌‌‌vincentian_ebooks/34/.

[4] Letter 1857, “To Charles Ozenne, Superior, in Warsaw,” April 2, 1655, CCD, 5:349: “The … question is whether you can go alone to visit the sick in the parish. O Jesus, Monsieur, you must be very careful not to go alone! When the Son of God determined that the Apostles should go two by two, He doubtless foresaw the great evils of going alone. Now, who would want to depart from the custom He introduced among His own men and which is that of the Company, which, after His example, acts in this way?” Available at: https://via.library.depaul.edu/vincentian_ebooks/30/.