Episode 26: Streamline Rule Precludes a Complete Record


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 examines the federal government’s request for comments on a proposed Interim Final Rule involving adjudication of asylum applications.  It argues that the expedited deadlines and streamlining procedures will prevent asylum applicants from developing a complete record in support of their claims and may make it almost impossible for asylum seekers to obtain legal representation.  The Action Step below lists a link to the Interim Final Rule and the link to upload your comments.  The Resources list several different links to understand the problems with the Interim Final Rule and different templates to assist you draft your comments.

ACTION STEP
You are invited to submit comments with your personal critiques of elements of the law.

Please note, once you click on this link, you will find a “Commentator’s Checklist” at the top of the page which provides helpful guidelines in preparing your comment.  Comments must be filed before midnight, Eastern Daylight Savings time, on Tuesday, May 31.
The full proposed Interim Final Rule

The quote in the podcast from the proposed IFR regarding soliciting public opinion can be found at 87 Fed. Reg. at 18081.  The quote regarding the Immigration Judge receiving a full record can be found at 87 Fed. Reg. at 18098-99.  The quote regarding the basic purpose of the IFR can be found at 87 Fed. Reg. at 18143).

RESOURCES
The National Immigrant Justice Center submitted its comments previously.  You may review their suggestions to provide you with examples of areas of concern.  NIJC invites you to use their comments as a template, but it is important that you provide your own words and ideas with your comments.
NIJC has a shorter summary.
NIJC has also prepared a flow chart to demonstrate the complexity of the proposed rule.
Human Rights first has also provided a summary of its concerns and suggested alternatives.
If you want to prepare comments based on the two critiques in our podcast, you may follow this template below.  You can prepare your letter and upload it at the link provided above:
Submitted via https://www.regulations.gov

Rená Cutlip-Mason
Chief, Division of Humanitarian Affairs
Office of Policy and Strategy
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Department of Homeland Security
5900 Capital Gateway Drive
Camp Springs, MD 20588-0009
Lauren Alder Reid
Assistant Director, Office of Policy
Executive Office for Immigration Review
5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 1800
Falls Church, VA 22041

Re: Procedures for Credible Fear Screening and Consideration of Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and Convention Against Torture Protection Claims by Asylum Officers (03/29/2021)

Dear Chief Cutlip-Mason & Assistant Director Reid,

Provide an introductory paragraph of your interest in commenting and explain your expertise and experience in assisting asylum seekers either individually or your faith-based or community-based organization. 

Determine what parts of the IFR you oppose.  The two we discuss in the podcast might include language similar to the following:

  1.  The Interim Final Rule proposed deadlines and a streamlined process that will prevent asylum seekers from obtaining legal representation or develop a full record documenting their claim.

Provide your examples of how the expedited deadlines will hinder your work.

  1. The Interim Final Rule’s proposed deadlines and streamlined process will prevent many asylum seekers from ever obtaining employment authorization, thus further weakening their ability to pursue all the remedies United States law may make available.

You may share your experiences documenting the importance of employment authorization in ensuring that our legal process works.

The quote from the Purpose of the Refugee Act of 1980.
The quote from the Preamble of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

We welcome your inquiries or suggestions for future podcasts.  If you would like to ask more questions about our podcasts or comment, email us at: mission.depaul@gmail.com

Living into Who We are Called to Be

Sunrise over the Lincoln Park Campus, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)

“… a great good is worth being long desired.”[1]—Vincent de Paul

During my twenty-three years of working at DePaul, I have often found myself wondering what Vincent and Louise would think were they to wander on campus or take a stroll down the streets of Chicago today. Would they recognize that the seeds they planted in France more than 400 years ago have been lovingly tended and are currently flourishing in this twenty-first-century city? Would the fruits of their labor be evident in our contemporary context?

While I cannot answer such questions with any degree of certainty, I will hazard a guess. I imagine Vincent might turn to Louise and ask her to describe exactly what she was seeing and hearing as they observed the daily comings and goings on DePaul’s campus. Then, perhaps after a bit of a pause and a deep, prolonged sigh (after all, Vincent was known for his deliberative nature), Vincent might poignantly ask Louise to describe who or what was missing from the present picture and what such an absence might suggest: “What are the gaps that need to be addressed to provide quality education in the twenty-first century, Louise? How does a Vincentian university continue to make education accessible for all, particularly for those communities who are underserved and underrepresented, when the cost of education is already prohibitive for so many? What must be done, Louise, and how might we at DePaul do it?”

For her part, Louise would surely acknowledge the heaviness of her friend’s questions and, with him, refute the notion of any easy answers. However, being the intuitive person that she was, Louise might also inquire about Vincent’s feelings in finding the mission so changed yet so familiar in retaining the rich core wisdom from which it originated. Perhaps, to give context to her questions, Louise might point to the ways in which DePaul continues to support the integral development of the human person through its commitment to excellence in teaching and its preparation of graduates to be agents for positive change in our world.

To make her case, Louise could cite compelling research to support her thesis. For example, she might direct Vincent’s attention to some of the online pedagogical approaches that were developed in a nanosecond when COVID first hit, which continue to advance and inform asynchronous teaching today. Or she might ask students if she and Vincent could engage with them in a community service experience and participate in one of the impassioned reflections afterward, during which time they wrestle to make meaning of societal inequities, strive to identify root causes, and begin to ask how they might work toward systemic change. If she were feeling particularly courageous, Louise might even venture with Vincent into a faculty or staff meeting to discover how Vincentian personalism and professionalism still guide how colleagues care for each other, even when differences of opinion occur, or challenges seemingly provide only roadblocks ahead. No matter where she looked, Louise would surely find plenty of evidence of the university’s commitment to compassionately uphold the dignity of all members of its diverse, multifaith and inclusive community.

And then, of course, there are DePaul’s wonderful students and the rich cast of characters who work there and commit themselves each day to incarnate the best in us. I doubt that Louise would have to search far to find that the seeds of the mission continue to flourish. As she presented these examples to Vincent, I do tend to wonder if she might do so with a knowing look and a spiritual high five.

So, now it’s your turn. What do you think? Were Vincent and Louise to visit DePaul’s campus today, what evidence “of a great good … being long desired” might they find?

If gaps exist between who we, as a university, aspire to be and your own lived experience, what invitation do you personally hear about closing those gaps to enable us to more fully embrace who we are called to be?


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

[1] Letter 1489, “To Claude Dufour, in Sedan,” April 24, 1652, CCD, 4:363. See: https://‌via.‌library.‌depaul.‌edu/‌vincentian_ebooks/29/.

 

Job Crafting

Hands holding a hammer and chisel, depicting a sculptor at work

Recently, I rediscovered some previous research I had done about a relatively new concept known as job crafting.[1] This idea is highly relevant for our current realities in the world of work, including the challenge of finding work-life balance and infusing our work with a sense of meaning. Job crafting may be needed more than ever after these pandemic years and the concurrent shifting nature of the workplace.

In brief, the idea is that we can almost always find certain concrete ways to redesign and/or reimagine our work to make it more personally meaningful. Such redesigning or reimagining might be related to changing what you do or to reprioritizing how you spend your time, to the extent you have the power to do so. However, job crafting focuses more heavily on other aspects of work that are more likely to be in our control and that can make a significant difference in our ability to find meaning in our jobs. This might include how we go about our work, our workplace relationships, and how we think about our work. Making small changes to the tasks we perform and the way we go about them, as well as to our workplace relationships and to the way in which we cognitively frame or imagine our work can improve job satisfaction, motivation, performance, and well-being in the workplace.

Revisiting this idea of job crafting also drew me to some advice from our beloved Vincent de Paul. He told those in the Congregation of the Mission to reframe their busy lives in a way that gives their activities a deeper sense of purpose:

“But, Monsieur, there are so many things to do, so many house duties, so many ministries in town and country; there’s work everywhere; must we, then, leave all that to think only of God?” No, but we have to sanctify those activities by seeking God in them, and do them in order to find [God] in them rather than to see that they get done [Emphasis added].[2]

Vincent’s advice invites a certain intentionality, depth, and meaning to simple everyday duties by framing them as opportunities to find God, rather than just as tasks to get done. His words help to sanctify the ordinary, as he invites his followers to enter into a way of thinking about their work that can change it from burdensome drudgery to purposeful opportunity.

The idea of job crafting as well as Vincent’s words invite us to renew our understanding of our work in order to move beyond a focus only on the completion of tasks and responsibilities. Instead, we should consider the way in which we go about our work, the quality and depth of our presence and relationships with others in the workplace, and the vision that guides us in doing all we do.

An often-shared piece of folk wisdom tells the story of three bricklayers engaged in the same work. When asked what they were doing, the first person said they were laying bricks. The second said they were putting up a wall. But the third said they were building a cathedral. I believe this third bricklayer’s sense of perspective beyond the task at hand almost certainly resonates with finding satisfaction by understanding the bigger picture.

How are you going about—and thinking about—your work these days? How might it connect to your deeper sense of purpose or vocation, whether through (a) the way in which you do your work; (b) the way you relate with people in the workplace; or (c) the way in which you envision your work?

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

[1] For more on the idea of job crafting, see: J. M. Berg, J. E. Dutton, and A. Wrzesniewski, “Job Crafting and Meaningful Work” in B. J. Dik, Z. S. Byrne, and M. F. Steger, eds., Purpose and Meaning in the Workplace (Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2013), 81–104; and a YouTube Video about Job Crafting by Amy Wrzesniewski, Yale University: https://‌www.‌youtube.‌com/‌watch?‌v=_‌WEArwy316c.

[2] Conference 198, “Seeking the Kingdom of God (Common Rules of the Congregation of the Mission, Chap. II, Art. 2),” February 21, 1659, CCD, 12:111–12. Available at: https://‌via.‌library.‌depaul.‌edu/‌vincentian_‌‌ebooks/36/.

 

Lawful Assembly 25: Stop the Pretense That It is Just About Public Health


SHOW NOTES

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 examines the “Public Health and Border Security Act of 2022” and critiques the intent of the proposal.  It argues that the implementation of Title 42 procedures in denying asylum seekers entrance to the United States masquerades as public health and violates domestic law.

ACTION STEP

1.    Church World Service:  This link provides a sample communication with your elected Senators and Representative to “Urge Congress to Reject Anti-Asylum Policies and Invest in Humane Welcome”:

https://cwsglobal.org/action-alerts/urgent-action-urge-congress-to-reject-anti-asylum-policies-and-invest-in-humane-welcome/

  1. The Welcome With Dignity Coalition offers you this sample script to call your elected representatives today: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_pv0jLpHxLp2EF6bGOITzXKDCjhYdJmIjGuR_g1OClc/edit

Resources:

The quote from Monette Zard can be found in “Epidemiologists and Public Health Experts Implore Biden Administration to End Title 42 and Restart Asylum” at: https://www.publichealth.columbia.edu/research/program-forced-migration-and-health/press-release-epidemiologists-and-public-health-experts-implore-biden-administration-end-title-42

The National Immigrant Justice Center offers an explanation of why Title 42 must be eliminated and offers several action steps: “Exploiting the Pandemic To Expel Asylum Seekers: An FAQ On Why Title 42 Expulsions Must End at: https://immigrantjustice.org/staff/blog/exploiting-pandemic-expel-asylum-seekers-faq-why-title-42-expulsions-must-end

The Interfaith Immigration Coalition provides you with a toolkit to take action at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_pv0jLpHxLp2EF6bGOITzXKDCjhYdJmIjGuR_g1OClc/edit

The Welcome With Dignity offers a: “Title 42 Must Go Social Media Toolkit” at:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BNntgTQd427bBHM9SjDVs9UKNYWgfyUk-4uctCmnEBA/edit

The budget amounts comparing enforcement expenditures to resettlement efforts came from:  Todd Miller, “More Than a Wall: Corporate Profiteering and the Militarization of U.S. Borders,” Transnational Institute (TNI), September 16, 2019 at https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/more_than_a_wall_-_executive_summary.pdf

We welcome your inquiries or suggestions for future podcasts.  If you would like to ask more questions about our podcasts or comment, email us at: mission.depaul@gmail.com

Finding Hope and Healing by Providing It

Do not be upset if things are not as you would want them to be for a long time to come. Do the little you can very peacefully and calmly so as to allow room for the guidance of God in your lives. Do not worry about the rest. — Louise de Marillac[1]

Sometimes—oftentimes, lately—the world can feel overwhelming, and to be honest, a little bleak. Even as there is a collective momentum to try to shift toward a sense of recovery and healing, it can feel a bit like catching your breath before the next wave hits. It also matters where you are standing … and if you have the privilege of a space for healing.

There are the wars and their spiraling horrors in Ukraine and Yemen; a pandemic that marches on, sometimes slowing, sometimes quickening, with death and long-term illness in its wake; a political and civil maelstrom that churns and darkens, sure to break during the summer and fall; growing economic and racial inequalities that continue to metastasize unabetted; and looming ahead and upon us, a climate crisis, the effects of which we are already experiencing.

Where is justice? Where is hope? Where is healing?

These are some of the same realities—and questions!—that Vincent de Paul’s longtime partner in helping the poor, Louise de Marillac, faced. Saint Louise—whose Feast Day we celebrate this week—lived in a time of plague (check), war (check), violent political upheaval, and gross inequality (check, and check). I’ll be the first to admit that my image of saints (even though I’m not Catholic myself) tends to be through the distorted rosy lens of beatification. That is, these saintly figures surely floated above and beyond their historical context, transcendent in their ethereal embodiments of our greatest ideals. The truth is, they were just like us, living (sometimes intentionally) in the mud, dirt, and trauma of their days.

Where is justice? Where is hope? Where is healing? For Saint Louise—whose direct actions, ideas, and collaboration with Vincent formed what we now think of as Vincentianism—it was not enough to just bear witness to the trauma of the day. These questions were at the forefront of Saint Louise’s mind, keeping her awake. But these were not idle thoughts or mere academic questions. They were quite literal. She sought justice; she sought hope. She sought healing. And when she could not find them, she provided them. For others, for herself.

Her personal life was not without sorrow and hardship. Born of out of wedlock, a child of a single-parent home, she experienced her father’s death at age twelve and was rejected from the cloistered life she deeply desired at age fifteen. She was no stranger to childhood trauma. After marrying, she raised a special-needs son, but soon her husband died. Depression followed her, as did guilt. Widowed, and recognizing that she had a calling deep in her core, she met an irascible priest named Vincent. She initially found him repugnant. However, though they did not get along at first, their mission and purpose in life sang in harmony. Their commitment to the poor and vulnerable, to those who bore individual and systemic trauma, drove them both onward. Though her depression and sadness were never gone, they actively worked together to alleviate the suffering of others, and in so doing found hope, justice, and healing. They created a tradition that has spread from Paris to the world.

We’re now part of their story, her story, the next chapter in a four-century long tale. As we celebrate Louise de Marillac this week, celebrate your own part of her legacy. We can make things better, if we act out of that same engaged compassion that Saint Louise modeled so beautifully.

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

About Louise Week:

In honor of Saint Louise de Marillac’s Feast Day on May 9th, the Division of Mission and Ministry invites DePaul students, faculty, and staff to celebrate Louise Week 2022.

Louise de Marillac lived in a time of great upheaval and crisis. She, along with a growing number of female collaborators, provided shoulders that helped bear the weight of a country racked by war, entrenched in political upheaval, overwhelmed by the plague, and struck by hunger. The shadows of her own life’s story were filled with grief and loss and provided a vehicle for transformation that led to creating new pathways for women. Her story reminds us of the possibility of light transcending darkness.

Connecting to Louise’s story and tying it to the present can encourage us in times of suffering and uncertainty. As we seek healing from the impacts of living through a pandemic for the last two years, Louise’s example calls us to community, healing, and rekindling joy.

Join us May 9–13 to pause, connect, and celebrate St. Louise’s legacy alive today at DePaul. Just as she 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.

Curious to learn more about Louise’s personal journey? Check out this virtual six-day pilgrimage created last year that follows her footsteps across Paris.


[1] Letter 519, “To Sister Anne Hardemont (at Ussel),” (1658), Spiritual Writings of Louise de Marillac, 614–15. See: https://via.library.depaul.edu/ldm/.

Louise Week 2022

In honor of Saint Louise de Marillac’s Feast Day on May 9th, the Division of Mission and Ministry invites DePaul students, faculty, and staff to celebrate Louise Week 2022.  

Louise de Marillac lived in a time of great upheaval and crisis. She along with numerous female contemporaries provided shoulders that bore the weight of a country racked by war, entrenched in political upheaval, overwhelmed by the plague, and struck by hunger. The shadows of her own life’s story were filled with grief and loss and provided a vehicle for transformation that led to creating new pathways for women. Her story reminds us of the possibility of light transcending darkness.  

Connecting to Louise’s story and tying it to the present can encourage us in times of suffering and uncertainty. As we seek healing from the impacts of living through a pandemic for the last two years, Louise’s example calls us to community, healing, and rekindling joy.  

Join us May 9-13 to pause, connect, and celebrate St. Louise’s legacy alive today at DePaul. Just as she 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.  

Curious to learn more about Louise’s personal journey? Check out this virtual six-day pilgrimage created last year that follows her footsteps across Paris. 

Louise Week 2022 Events:


Louise Week Mass
Monday, May 9 (Noon)
Loop Miraculous Medal Chapel and LPC St. Louise de Marillac Chapel

Celebrate the Feast Day with a celebratory Mass at 12 pm at both campuses. Everyone is welcome! 

Louise Feast Day Lunch
Monday, May 9 (12:45pm – 2:00pm)
Loop 11th Floor Terrace, LPC Student Center 104

Celebrate the Feast Day with a celebratory lunch at 12:45 pm. Everyone is welcome! 

  • In the Loop, join us on the 11th floor terrace in the DePaul Center. RSVP here for the Loop lunch: https://louise-feast-lunch-2022.eventbrite.com 
  • For the lunch in Lincoln Park, no need to register, just come to Catholic Campus Ministry (Student Center – Suite 104). 

Food For Thought
Monday, May 9, (11:30am – 12:30pm)
LPC Student Center 314A

Join CCM’s Food for Thought and Meet Me at the Mission for lunch and a meaningful conversation about St. Louise de Marillac’s living legacy. 

RSVP

HPW – Wellness Wednesday
Wednesday, May 11, (12:00pm – 12:30pm or 4:00pm – 4:30pm)
Arts & Letters Hall 204

Join us for our signature Wellness Wednesday series! Our peer health educators will feature a different topic that aims to promote wellness and encourage you to take care yourself and others. During Louise week, Mission and Ministry will join us to talk about healthy boundary setting.

RSVP

Cafecito con Tepeyac 
Thursday, May 12, (3:00pm – 4:00pm)
LPC Student Center 325

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

RSVP

Catholic Women’s Group 
Friday, May 13, (1:00pm – 2:00pm)
LPC Student Center Suite 104

Join us for a conversation about women’s leadership in the Catholic Church. 

RSVP

DWN Louise de Marillac Spirit & Mentorship Awards 
Friday, May 13, (3:00pm)
Zoom

This year, the DePaul Women’s Network is honoring mentors. The awards will be held online on May 13th at 3pm and will feature interactive opportunities to share mentorship strategies, celebrate our mentors and mentees, and hear about the impact that a good mentor has on members of our community. As part of our celebration, we will also be raffling off ten $50 GrubHub certificates! Join us for an afternoon hour full of community, conversations and inspiration from the people living Louise’s legacy! 

RSVP

Healing is a Journey


“Healing is a journey.” This is one of the many nuggets of wisdom shared during a recent Mission and Ministry Women’s Power program that featured Sr. Helen Prejean[1] in conversation with students, faculty, and staff. The event was titled Trauma, Hope, and Healing, and prompted participants to acknowledge that we are in the midst of trauma and grief, struggling through a pandemic and living in a warring world. Equally important, the conversation made space to learn from each other as we seek paths toward healing and hope for all of humanity and for us as individuals.

“Healing is a journey.” These words also reflect the work of Saint Vincent and Saint Louise. As these two courageous leaders ministered to the marginalized, they provided ongoing accompaniment to those they encountered. They acknowledged the need for healing, and they brought hope through their words and deeds, returning time and again to homes and prisons, to streets and churches, offering ongoing support and caring.

Each of us has been affected to varying degrees by the realities of our world and each of us need support and caring. As we continue to muddle through the pandemic and strive to return to “normalcy,” we should remember that our own personal healing from the trauma of these past years (and even beyond) is an ongoing process. We would serve one another well by recognizing that each of us is healing in our own way and at our own pace. As pointed out in the Women’s Power conversation, expectations that we simply slip back into pre-pandemic life and work are impossible for some and unrealistic for all. We have all been affected by the waves of trauma of the past few years, and we are all on a journey—each of us in our own way—of healing and hope.

As we continue to walk through these difficult and tumultuous times, may we be filled with hope and embrace a path toward healing. May we give ourselves room and grace for these personal journeys. And may we offer grace and understanding to others in their journeys.

View the video of Sr. Helen Prejean’s conversation on Trauma, Hope, and Healing.


Reflection by: Diane Dardón, ELCA, D. Min., Director, Pastoral Care and Religious Diversity, Division of Mission and Ministry

[1] Sr. Prejean is the author of Dead Man Walking (1994) and is an anti-death penalty advocate and activist. For more on her life and work see: https://www.sisterhelen.org/.

The Constancy of Community

Springtime in Chicago is a tricky season. One day the weather is warm, the sun comes out, and everyone goes outside; there is a sense that we are coming out of hibernation. Then there are the days when winter seems to be keeping Chicago firmly in its grasp, warmer weather feels a long way off, and it seems like maybe we should hibernate just a little bit longer. This springtime dance happens every year, but I feel more ready than ever for sunshine and flowers in bloom and going outside without multiple layers to keep me warm.

I think I am also feeling the need for sunshine and warmth because at the beginning of this month, I had to say goodbye to one of my dogs, Finley. She had been diagnosed with a tumor at the end of March 2021 and the prognosis was dire. The vet thought she probably only had days, maybe weeks, to live. Yet she defied the odds, shocking the vet, and me, by living one year and two days past her diagnosis.

In reflecting on the last year with Finny, as I usually called her, what is most clear to me is the constancy of support I had from my family, my friends, my DePaul University colleagues, and even the staff at our vet’s office. Sharing how she was doing became an almost daily part of some conversations, and I am so grateful for the ways in which people cared enough to check in, especially as our world continues to grapple with the massive grief caused by the pandemic. The constancy of community helped me get through Finny’s time in doggie hospice, which is how I often described the last year. Without community, I know that it would have been a much more difficult journey.

As my other dog and I adjust to Finny’s absence, I am acutely aware that there is no way around grief. Grief impacts all of us. I also know from past losses that finding ways to connect with others is one of the things that helps me navigate the grieving process. At this moment in my work at DePaul, I am planning for Vincentian Service Day 2022, which is set for Saturday, May 7, and will have in-person service opportunities for the first time since 2019. Preparing for this DePaul tradition is not without its difficulties, but the planning process helps me right now because it involves connecting with community partners, mentoring students on the Service Day Team, and inviting the DePaul community to a space where we can live our Vincentian mission. It is my hope that through the relationships that we are able to build and sustain together, our DePaul community may be a constant for our community partners and their needs.

Registration for Vincentian Service Day 2022 closes on Tuesday, May 3, at 11:59 PM. 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, Division of Mission and Ministry

The Sacred Dignity of all Persons

More than four hundred years ago in the small French town of Folleville, France, Saint Vincent de Paul had a transformative experience that he would later describe as the start of the Vincentian mission, which we continue to this day.[1] While serving as a tutor and spiritual director for the wealthy de Gondi family Vincent was called to the bedside of a dying peasant. The opportunity to facilitate the sacrament of confession and the profound positive effect it had on the man revealed much to Vincent about the conditions and human needs that were widespread in his time. When Madame de Gondi famously asked, “What must be done?” the mission had begun.

The Vincentian mission to honor the sacred dignity of every human being has taken many different shapes in many different environments over the last four hundred years. It is a living legacy that seeks to serve the same goals and purposes in ever-changing circumstances. DePaul University seeks primarily to advance the dignity of every person through higher education, but in doing so, we serve the whole person and the larger community. We find and serve not only the material needs of people but their spiritual needs as well. It is because of, not despite, our commitment to our Vincentian Catholic mission that we honor the spiritual needs of all in our community, inclusive of people of all faiths and none.

Much of our Christian community has just come to the end of the Lenten period with the celebration of Easter.[2] Our Jewish community has begun the observance of Passover. Our Muslim community is in the middle of the fasting month of Ramadan. Others observing sacred holidays during this season this year include the Sikh, Jain, and Baha’i communities. We remind ourselves of Dr. Esteban’s call in the fall tocreate an accepting and nurturing environment in which people of every faith are supported and nurtured.”[3] Just as our university closes for Good Friday to facilitate Christians’ observance, we encourage all members of the community to be flexible and accommodating so that people can engage in religious observances and spiritual growth. Doing so enriches and inspires the entire community, as our own Father Memo Campuzano beautifully shared last week.[4] The spirit of accommodation and the honoring of human dignity invites conversation among people about their needs, recognizing that not everyone is the same and all are equally precious. The staff of the Office of Religious Diversity and Pastoral Care is here to serve as a resource whenever we can be helpful in such dialogue.[5]

We invite all of our community to find, as Vincent did, life and beauty in honoring and facilitating the sacred traditions and spiritual needs of each other. Many of us are weighed down by the hardships or just the daily grind of life. We seek these special observances to provide joy and meaning to our lives, as individuals and as communities. Being able to facilitate these moments for others provides a special blessing of its own. The Prophet Muhammad[6] offered this beautiful prayer for those who would provide food for him when it came time to break the fast, “May those who are fasting break their fast with you, may the righteous eat your food, and may the angels pray for you!”[7]


Reflection by:    Abdul-Malik Ryan, Assistant Director, Religious Diversity and Pastoral Care

[1] Andrew Rea, “The 400th Anniversary of St. Vincent de Paul’s Sermon at Folleville,” DePaul University, January 25, 2017, https://news.library.depaul.press/full-text/2017/01/25/4809/.

[2] Orthodox Christians will observe Easter on April 24.

[3] A. Gabriel Esteban, “Religious Observances: Facilitating a Culture of Respect, Understanding and Civility,” DePaul University Newsline, August 31, 2021, https://resources.depaul.edu/newsline/sections/campus-and-community/‌Pages/‌Religious-observances-2021.aspx.

[4] Memo Campuzano, C.M., “Spiritual Times: Times When We Hope Together,” The Way of Wisdom (blog), DePaul University, April 8, 2022, https://blogs.depaul.edu/dmm/2022/04/08/spiritual-times-times-when-we-hope-together/.

[5] Contact information and a calendar of holidays and religiously significant events can be found here: https://offices.depaul.edu/mission-ministry/religious-spiritual-life/religious/Documents/2021-2022_‌Religious_‌Holidays_Calendar.pdf.

[6] Peace and blessings be upon him and all of the prophets and sacred teachers and guides.

[7] Hadith reported by Abu Dawud.

Spiritual Times: Times When We Hope Together

The prudent [person] acts in the way [they] should, when [they] should,

and for the purpose [they] should.[1]

In the coming days, followers of the Abrahamic traditions will enter an intense spiritual time. Ramadan has begun for Muslims and will continue into May, and this week sees the start of both the Jewish Passover and the Christian Holy Week in preparation for Easter Sunday.

At this holy moment, I would like to talk about spiritual people, spiritual times, and spiritual wisdom in service to humanity, providing a constant reminder of something that is bigger than we are. Both religious and nonreligious people find a sense of something greater in community, or in humanity, or in the universe. Some may find this sense through love and compassion. For all of us, there is a place of connection beyond ourselves, beyond our own small egos. The celebration of mystery, and of the mystery of God for theists, is only possible if we individually and collectively dare to fully embrace our own mystery of connection to something greater.

Spiritual times are times for hope and trust, not for magical thinking. These are times to wonder and ponder, times for amazement and openness to surprise. For Christians, the time of the resurrection is a time to overcome our doubts and to end our exhaustion, our divisions, and our fears. This is done by committing to an abundant life, a life of love, joy, peace, and kindness, so that all might live with dignity.

For those celebrating this holy month, our faith gives us an opportunity to go deeper into our inner sanctuary, that holy place inside each one of us. This is the place where we feel connected to something greater and where we make sense of life, that place we call home.

Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac served humanity by caring for the most abandoned. Their life’s work was rooted in a profound sense of the mystery of God. They surrendered before this mystery. They trusted.  Nothing of their lives and commitments can be explained if it is not connected to this experience of mystery, to their sense of spirituality, and their sense of transcendence and trust in Providence. Vincent often articulated his trust in Providence in terms such as these: “Grace has its moments,” “The things of God come about by themselves and […] wisdom consists in following Providence step by step,”[2] and “Allow yourself to be guided, and rest assured that God will be the one who guides you; but where? To the freedom of His children, to a superabundance of consolations, to great progress in virtue, and to your eternal happiness.”[3]

During this month, when billions of people celebrate their faith and stories of mystery and how they are called to be and connect in the world, I invite you to consider your own mystery. How does your grounding in something outside yourself give you strength and inspire you to care for others and our “common home”? I ask that you connect with the inner meaning of your life as you consider the larger social purpose of your existence, your work, your relationships, and the ways in which you contribute to the common good.

Saint Vincent never stopped recommending that his community—and we are his community today—pray for what is essential: hope. Asking for hope in Vincent’s Christian heart is asking for “the justice of God”; If we ask for that, “the rest of what we need will be given to us.”[4]

Justice, compassion, and solidarity can restore hope at all levels! May we all commit with pragmatic, realistic hope, a hope that is found in everything we say and do. This hope is a real source of joy and community, a joy of celebration and connection, committing with our faith or with our convictions during these spiritual times.

May DePaul be a community in which we all can struggle for and build hope together while resisting prophecies and actions rooted in destruction, division, and dissolution. May the celebrations of these holy days help us to keep our hope alive and to commit our entire selves to make our collective hope a reality, as Vincent always did with hope for the communities he served. We hope, we care, we struggle together because we are DePaul, a community of many faiths and abundant commitment to something greater.


Reflection by: Fr. Memo Campuzano, C.M., Vice President for Mission and Ministry

[1] Conference 35, “Prudence,” n.d., CCD, 11:42. Available at: https://‌via.‌library.‌depaul.‌edu/‌vincentian_ebooks/‌37/.

[2] Letter 704, “To Bernard Codoing, Superior, in Rome,” March 16, 1644, CCD, 2:499; and letter 720, “To Bernard Codoing, Superior, in Rome,” August 6, 1644, CCD, 2:521. Available at: https://‌via.‌library.‌depaul.‌edu/‌vincentian_ebooks/27/.

[3] Letter 2854, “To a Brother of the Mission,” May 28, 1659, CCD, 7:589–90. Available at: https://‌via.‌library.‌‌depaul.‌edu/‌‌vincentian_ebooks/32/.

[4] Matthew 6:33.