What are you doing with your life?

If you’re anything like me, this question will send you into an existential tailspin as you try to reconcile who you are right now with the image of who you want to become. The funny thing about life, though, is that no one tells you how tough things will feel when you don’t end up at a dream job or what to do when you don’t fulfill the image of who you thought you’d be. It can all feel like a maze as you try to sort out the best direction for your life. Believe it or not, this is the same labyrinth that Louise de Marillac found herself in too.

Louise is the saint of social work and her story tends to get wrapped up in a neat bow: she was a widow who found her sense of purpose by working alongside Vincent de Paul to co-found the Daughters of Charity. Her legacy lives on today and she’s admired for her persistence and commitment to serving others, but the truth of Louise’s story is that she struggled, hard, facing questions about purpose and self-doubt. In fact, when Louise was a young woman one rejection shaped the entire course of her life. Louise had her path and her plans set; she was going to finish her schooling and join a convent. It was, for all intents and purposes, her dream job. But once she got to the convent, she was turned away, and we have good reason to believe that she was discriminated against because she was born out of wedlock. This rejection set the ball rolling in the opposite direction of what Louise had hoped. Instead of becoming a nun, her only option was to get married and begin her life as a wife and mother.

So, that’s what she did. Soon enough, the challenges of motherhood and being a wife to an ailing husband began to add up, and Louise was at her breaking point. What’s really interesting, though, is that the most pivotal moment of her life was her breaking point. Just as Louise was at her wits’ end struggling to find a way to move forward with her life, she received a revelation within the hallowed walls of the Church of St. Nicolas de Champs on the feast of Pentecost. Overwhelmed with frustration, Louise prayed for a sign, any sign, that could give her a shot at a life of fulfillment, service, and purpose. She sat there and pleaded to God for guidance. Just when she thought all was lost, He answered her prayer. She envisioned a life in which she saw herself serving the poor and living in community with sisters. This flicker of hope became her “lumière”—her guiding light.

As she sat inside the church in Paris, her doubts became quieter. Louise was to stay married and await her chance to take vows of poverty. Little did she know that her lumière was foreshadowing a future as a Daughter of Charity. Louise saw an opportunity, and she was going to make it manifest if it was the last thing she did. Sometimes, all you need is permission to dream up a new life, filled with opportunities and invitations to take matters into your own hands, and this was Louise’s.

Louise’s story and her lumière moment remind me that we need to trust the timing of our lives and embrace the unexpected pivots. Louise’s lumière gave her just enough hope to keep going—to keep envisioning a new version of the woman she dreamed of becoming. She prayed and meditated on this vision and with hard work and patience, she manifested a life better than the one she had dreamed of as a young woman.

Sometimes, you just have to throw out the original plan because what awaits you is bigger than you could have possibly planned for. I think a lot about Louise’s life path and what might’ve happened had she been accepted into that convent on her first try. She probably would’ve lived a quiet, pious life cloistered in the convent. She probably would’ve found her way, but Louise was meant to stand out, and although it made her life tougher, it was the fact that she didn’t fit the mold that made her so extraordinary. In the end, what made the Daughters of Charity remarkable was that they didn’t live a cloistered life. They preached, “The streets are our chapel,” and it is that very philosophy that helped lay the groundwork for a lot of modern-day social work in American society. It’s because Louise was able to meet people where they were that she revolutionized the way that we form each other through service and community.

I can’t help but think that life is less about the plans we make and more about saying yes to the things we love and promising ourselves to find a way to persist when we’re forced to pivot. Louise did and so can we. It wasn’t easy, but at her core she knew she had this desire to serve and to contribute to something bigger than herself. So, she followed those instincts, and she kept saying yes to the opportunities that let her live out bits and pieces of her lifelong dream until finally, she was living out that dream in full swing. Louise didn’t leave that church and instantly become the servant leader, girl boss she envisioned in her lumière. But she did walk away with some hope and the belief that she’d one day get to where she wanted to be. Until then, she had to inch herself toward that goal in any way that she could. She didn’t give up in the face of rejection and what felt like a dead end in life.

It’s so easy to look at our lives or career paths that didn’t work out and think we’ve failed and that we’ll never rebound from a mistake, but Louise and I are here to tell you to keep going, keep dreaming, keep fighting for the person you hope to become one day because this is a fight that is always worth it.


1 L.519, To Sister Anne Hardemont, (1658), Spiritual Writings of Louise de Marillac, 614-615.

Written by: Gracie Covarrubios, Admission Counselor, Office of Undergraduate Admissions

For the entire Louise Week Lineup including our daily events and 6-day virtual pilgrimage visit:

Saint Louise and Motherhood

Homily for Sunday, May 9
Feast of St. Louise de Marillac and Mother’s Day
St. Vincent de Paul Parish

This year, Mother’s Day coincides with the Feast Day of Saint Louise de Marillac. In many ways, we have Louise to thank for our parish community. Without Louise, Vincent de Paul would not have made the impact he did during his life. Louise and Vincent worked side by side to serve the needs of those who were poor in seventeenth-century France, and Louise was a driving force in transforming the systems of charity that existed at the time. She and Vincent co-founded the Daughters of Charity, which was the first non-cloistered order of religious women. She was so effective and innovative in her work that she pioneered the field of social work and became the patron saint of social workers.

This is the version of Louise’s life that you might read on the back of her prayer card. It is neat, clean-cut, and orderly. And while it is all true, it is also incomplete. When Peter encounters Cornelius in the first reading today, he says, “Get up. I myself am also a human being.” Louise, like all of our other saints, was a human being—complex, messy, real.

In these unsettled, tumultuous times, Louise’s humanity—her struggles, her perseverance, her faith—speaks to us the most.

Louise’s world looked similar to ours today. She lived through an epidemic, war, and civil unrest, and she saw firsthand the effects of a massive wealth gap which kept the rich in power and oppressed those who were poor. The suffering that she saw on the streets of France shaped her into a compassionate, driven, and strategic agent of change.

Louise was also formed by her own suffering. She never knew her mother and was rejected by her father’s extended family. As a child, she knew how it felt to be other-ized and unseen. When she was unable to pursue her dream of taking vows with a cloistered order of religious sisters, Louise’s family arranged a marriage for her. She had a son whose special needs left her feeling helpless in a society that did not yet understand alternative developmental needs. She nursed her husband through a terminal illness and was widowed by the time she met Vincent.

Anxiety and grief left an imprint on Louise’s life, just as they have left imprints on our lives in the last year. What we are surviving together as a human family—a pandemic, our country’s continued, generations-long systemic racism, an environmental climate reckoning—shapes us each day. For some of us, grief has entered into our homes through the loss of a loved one and the inability to mourn in community. For some, anxiety builds with the touch of each door handle, the fear of going to work in-person, the worry of job security and putting food on the table. Louise’s own journey with mental health teaches us the importance of remaining grounded in ritual, faith, something that is bigger than ourselves. As a healer and herbalist, Louise reminds us to center holistic care in difficult times and to tend to our bodies, minds, and spirits.

Louise’s story reminds us that we are not alone.

For all of the mothers in the pews or joining us virtually today who have counted down the minutes until your kids’ bedtime only to flip the baby monitor on every 20 minutes to peek at their sleeping faces, who have stayed awake worrying about the social and physical effects the pandemic will have on your kiddos, who have felt totally touched out and just need to go to the bathroom alone, who have known boundless joy at your children’s laughter, silliness, and wonder—Louise was also a mother. She sees you even in those moments when you feel that your work, your worry, your needs are unseen. She shares your delight when tiny hands slip acorns into your coat pocket and a soft voice whispers in your ear, “love you sooooo much, mama.”

Some joining us today might feel conflicted or heavy-hearted during the Mother’s Day blessing at the end of mass. You may have a strained relationship with your mother or child. You may not feel called to motherhood. Your pregnancy may have taken you by surprise and come with fear or confusion. You may struggle with fertility or carry the lonely, silent grief of pregnancy loss. Louise knows how it feels to be angry with God and wonder why her plans for her own life were not God’s plans. She walks with you in your uncertainty, and she will continue to accompany you when the road ahead comes into clearer view.

From time to time, I engage in a spiritual practice wherein I read a traditional sacred text with the perspective of God as a woman, as a mother. On this day when we remember Louise, who re-shaped what it means to be a woman in our church, and celebrate all women who share motherly love with the world, I would like to share this spiritual practice with each of you.

From the Gospel according to John:
As the Mother loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you honor my wishes, you will remain in my love,
just as I have honored my Mother’s wishes
and remain in her love.
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my wish: love one another as I love you.


Written by: Emily LaHood-Olsen, Ministry Coordinator, Division of Mission and Ministry

For the entire Louise Week Lineup including our daily events and 6-day virtual pilgrimage visit:

International Symposium: Religious Orders, Public Health and Disease

In the current Covid-19 pandemic context, the symposium will consider how religious orders have played a key role in societies that had to deal with diseases that disrupted their lives or were part of their almost everyday life. Many paths will be explored to promote religious orders’ dynamic historiography by emphasizing a comparative and transnational approach to their history. The scope of the symposium will range from the Black Death to the present day. The symposium will take place through video-conference. 

This symposium is co-sponsored by the Vincentian Studies Institute and is organized by the Department of Catholic Studies, Emanuele Colombo, and the Dennis Holtschneider Chair, Matthieu Brejon de Lavergnée.

Click here to register for this event.

Registration ends May 18th.

Schedule:

Thursday, May 20, 2021
8:45-11:45 am, US Central Standard Time (CST)

  • Matthieu Brejon de Lavergnée (DePaul University),
    “We can only be saved together” (Pope Francis): What can we learn from Pandemics?
  • Karen Scott (DePaul University),
    “Se la mortalità v’è”: Catherine of Siena’s Advice to Dominican Preachers in Times of Plague
  • Emma Wall (Durham University),
    Disease Management in an International Context: The Venerable English College and the 1656– 57 Plague Epidemic in Rome
  • Mateusz Zimny (Pontifical University John Paul II, Krakow),
    The Order of the Holy Spirit de Saxia and its Hospital in Krakow
  • Emanuele Colombo (DePaul University),
    Mission at the Time of Cholera: Jesuits in Nineteenth-Century Italy

Friday, May 21, 2021
8:45-11:45 am, US Central Standard Time (CST)

  • Kristien Suenens (KADOC-KU Leuven),
    Sisters and the ‘Blue Death’: Female Religious and Cholera-Epidemics in Nineteenth-Century Belgium
  • Anne Jusseaume (Université d’Artois),
    Female Congregations and Nineteenth-Century Cholera in Paris
  • Thomas Rzeznik (Seton Hall University),
    The History of Community Medicine at St. Vincent’s Hospital (NYC)
  • Francis Davis (University of Oxford),
    Witches, Wise or Diseased: Aspects of Being ‘Vulnerable’ in Rwanda and Singapore

 

Louise Week 2021

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 2021. Louise de Marillac lived in a time of great upheaval and crisis. Her life, grief, and loss have the power to speak to us during our own difficult times. In this current moment of loss, fatigue, burn-out, and isolation, Louise exemplifies holistic wellness. She calls us to spirituality, connection, and community care. Louise Week will tap into Louise’s legacy as a leader, healer, and activist to ignite and empower faith-in-action.

Join us May 9-14 to pause, connect, play, and sharpen your social justice tool kit. Read along with daily blog reflections, complete a virtual six-day pilgrimage, and attend many other events created to help our community connect and refresh. 

Follow along on social media for daily reflection and invitations to virtual activities and events:  Facebook  or Instagram @mmatmdepaul

Daily Blog Reflections

Connect with Louise’s wisdom as we move through a series of daily reflections grounding us in a holistic approach to leadership and community care. The themes explored from Louise’s life will reveal themselves to be just as meaningful today as they were during 16th century France. In her role as a wife, mother, religious sister, and activist, Louise can teach us lessons of resilience, selfcare, systemic change, and creative organizing.

Follow along on social media for daily reflections:
Facebook  or Instagram @mmatmdepaul

-or-

Visit “The Way of Wisdom” blog for daily Louise Week 2021 reflections:
https://blogs.depaul.edu/dmm/tag/louiseweek  

Louise Virtual Pilgrimage

Learn about St. Louise de Marillac’s life through a virtual pilgrimage! For six days, we’ll take you on a journey to places that represent defining moments through an interactive map leading you to short videos curated by our pastoral, faculty and alumni team. 

The root of the word pilgrim means stranger. When it comes to making a pilgrimage of any kind, we can think of this root meaning in two ways. First, each of us can feel like a stranger when it comes to figuring out our faith life, especially during these pandemic times. Second, the saints we go to meet along the journey of our pilgrimage are strangers until we encounter them. Let us go together as pilgrims, maybe starting off as strangers and ending up as members of a faith community. Let’s take the first step and get to know Saint Louise de Marillac.” ~Fr. Christopher Robinson, CM

Grab your virtual passport and head over to our pilgrimage page every day from Sunday, May 9th to Friday, May 14th: go.depaul.edu/pilgrimage

Events

Feast Day Mass
Sunday, May 9 | 10 am, 5 pm, and 8 pm
St. Vincent de Paul Parish (in-person)
1010 W. Webster Ave.
Livestream on Instagram: @depaulccm

All are welcome to a special liturgy in honor of the Feast Day of St. Louise de Marillac. For in-person Mass at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, please register on our Facebook events page. Questions? Contact Matt Merkt: mmerkt@depaul.edu

Women’s Power: Waking Up to Justice
Panel with Sr. Helen Prejean & DePaul Student Advocates
Monday, May 10 | 6:00 7:30 pm
Register on DeHub: http://cglink.me/2cC/r13644

DePaul Community: Join us for a transformative conversation with anti-death penalty advocate and activist Sr. Helen Prejean as she shares how she discovered a path that centers human rights as an integral part of faith-in-action and responds to the question “What Must Be Done?” The conversation will be led by student leaders bringing unique perspectives on what it means to wake up to justice in response to our lives today. 

Get to Know a Daughter of Charity
Tuesday, May 11 | 10 am
Facebook Watch Party: @DPUStudentInvolvement

Students: You’re invited to a special interview with a Daughter of Charity, Sr. Angele Hinkley. She will share about the healing role of art in her work in prisons. This event is in partnership with the Mission and Ministry and the Office of Student Involvement. 

DePaul Women’s Network | High Tea with Louise
Tuesday, May 11th |  3:00 4:00 pm
Register on Eventbrite: bit.ly/LouiseHighTea

Faculty and Staff: Join the DePaul Women’s Network during our High Tea event for rejuvenating conversations, laughter and meditation. Take a break during your busy day and make space for self-care and connection with women across the university while sipping on some tea and learning about some of Louise’s favorite self-care routines, community reflections and more!

Lunch with Louise
Wednesday, May 12th | 12:00 1:00 pm
Register here: http://bit.ly/LunchwithLouise

Faculty and Staff:  You’re invited to a virtual “Lunch with Louise,” an adaption of our regular “Lunch with Vincent” bi-quarterly series in honor of Saint Louise de Marillac’s Feast Week! Our presenters will be Coya Paz Brownrigg from The Theatre School and Jackie Kelly-McHale from the School of Music. Themes will explore the intersection of the Arts, Diversity-Equity-Inclusion, and the Mission presented in a creative, conversational way. 

Wellness Wednesday with DePaul Health Promotion & Wellness
Wednesday, May 12 | 4:00 –  4:30 pm
Register on DeHub: http://cglink.me/2cC/r13044

Students: Join HPW and Meet Me at the Mission for a conversation sharing wisdom about Louise de Marillac’s relationship with herself and others related to the mind, body and spirit.  

Jeopardy Game Night
Wednesday, May 12 | 7:00 8:00 pm
Register on DeHub: http://cglink.me/2cC/r13795

Students: Join Louise Week partners for a night of trivia about fun categories like Louise, Disney movies, random animal facts, and more! 

Cafecito con Tepeyac with Community Peacemakers (CPM)
Thursday, May 13 | 3 4pm
Register on DeHub: http://cglink.me/2cC/r13032 

Students: Join Cafecito con Tepeyac and the Community Peacemakers for a restorative justice peace circle to honor Louise’s Lumiere experience and reflect on what grounds us in hope. Participants who attend will receive a Bright Endeavor’s candle with a quote by Louise provided by Meet Me at the Mission.

Virtual Dinner with the Daughters
Thursday, May 13 | 5 pm 
Join us on Zoom: bit.ly/vinfamchatsSQ

Students: Join Meet Me at the Mission, Vincentians in Action, Res Ed and Daughters of Charity from around the country for a virtual dinner and conversation about St. Louise de Marillac’s living legacy of community and systemic change. Participants who attend will receive Louise goodies in the mail provided by Meet Me at the Mission.

 

A Vincentian Call at this Moment

At this moment in time, the Division of Mission and Ministry recommits to the principle of justice. For the families and communities of all those directly impacted by systemic oppression, police brutality and the plethora of mass shootings and gun violence that have cut short the lives of many, we continue to grieve, to be outraged, to pray, and to act. In living out the Vincentian question, What must be done, we recommit ourselves to never ceasing in our struggle for justice. Our work is the work of connecting contemplation and action – centering marginalized voices and ennobling the dignity of all. Our Mission and Ministry staff continues to be here to listen, to believe, to accompany, and to walk together.

As well at this moment, we share a powerful result of communally connecting prayer and action. In February of this year, DePaul’s Division of Mission and Ministry along with our Muslim student group UMMA and the local nonprofit organization IMAN hosted a Virtual Fast-a-Thon, in which people were invited to experience fasting as a spiritual practice connected to building solidarity and working for social change. Our special guest was Cariol Horne, a former Buffalo (N.Y.) police officer who had been fired from her job after intervening to stop abuse by another officer in 2006. As a result of her firing, Cariol also was prevented from collecting her pension. Cariol has never stopped struggling for justice, both in her case and in the wider cause of preventing police abuse. Her case, and her struggle received renewed attention in the wake of the George Floyd case and other prominent cases which raised questions about why police officers didn’t intervene to stop abuse by other officers. In late 2020, Cariol’s Law was passed in the city of Buffalo to obligate officers to intervene to stop abuse and protect them from retaliation after doing so as well as other systemic police reforms which can serve as a model for other jurisdictions.

During Fast-a-Thon after reflecting on her own experience of fasting for the day of the event, Cariol was asked how she was able to persevere in her struggle for justice for so long. She spoke about her children and her community. She shared how deeply it affected her when she heard of others who had given up on constructive change and lashed out in ways that were destructive to others or to their own selves. She said she wished that they had known of her own campaign and that people like her were struggling and she was moved by the solidarity of others and the attention her case was finally getting. Last week, as the sacred fasting month of Ramadan began, we received the good news that Cariol had prevailed in her court case, that she would receive formal reinstatement and back pay that would allow her to receive her pension. (For more information on Cariol’s case and Cariol’s law visit cariolslaw.com).

We are called by our Vincentian Mission to connect contemplation and action – to be in solidarity with those who are marginalized, oppressed and suffering. We recognize the limitations of our own individual experiences and perspectives and experience the great wisdom and inspiration that are gained in encounter and solidarity across social divides. We strive to take part in efforts that sustain struggles against injustice and work constructively toward nonviolent systemic change. We firmly believe that all people of goodwill joining together in such efforts is the way forward, a path that is steep and difficult at times, but filled with beautiful rewards.

 


Photo: Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune

Lawful Assembly Podcast – Episode 13: A Call to Resettle Refugees

This is a podcast interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin, an Adjunct Faculty member at DePaul University’s College of Law and The Grace School of Applied Diplomacy. In February, President Biden announced that he would restore the United States partnership in refugee resettlement by inviting up to 125,000 refugees to our nation in the next fiscal year.  He also said he would increase the number of refugees previously designated for resettlement in this fiscal year.  The Presidential Determination increasing refugee resettlement in this fiscal year to 65,000 has not been yet signed.  One workable response to rebuilding would be to resettle refugees to reach those numbers.  In the midst of the turmoil, this would be one significant step to protect the vulnerable. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) Report on the few refugees resettled in 2021 can be found at: https://www.rescue.org/sites/default/files/document/5783/ircmid-yearrefugeeadmissionsreport-april2021.pdf

Chaplain Abdul-Malik Ryan’s article on Ramadan can be found at: https://blogs.depaul.edu/dmm/2021/04/12/ramadan-and-the-vincentian-question-guidance-and-inspiration-in-times-of-challenge/

For ideas on how to respond, IRC offers this action: https://act.rescue.org/xv4TiDR

HIAS offers these actions:  https://www.hias.org/get-involved/take-action

You can find information on the Illinois resettlement agencies and their work at:

https://rcusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2019IllinoisRCUSA.pdf

Chicago programs include:

The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago Refugee Resettlement Program: https://www.catholiccharities.net/GetHelp/OurServices/RefugeeResettlementServices.aspx

Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago: https://www.ecachicago.org/project/give-clean-water/

RefugeeOne: www.refugeeone.org

Heartland Human Care Services: www.heartlandalliance.org/program/rics

World Relief Chicagoland Refugee Resettlement: https://chicagoland.worldrelief.org/resettlement/

Lawful Assembly Episode 12: Shared Values

This is a podcast interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin, founder and former Director of the Midwest Immigrant Rights Center and an Adjunct Faculty member at DePaul University’s College of Law and The Grace School of Applied Diplomacy.  As the United States begins to reform immigration law in the midst of a multitude of developments at the nation’s borders, the podcast encourages us to respond to our shared values of living under the rule of law.  When our debate focuses on naming individuals as illegals prior to adjudication, it leads to gridlock.  By focusing on why we have established a refugee law and the importance of fair and just procedures, we may instead build upon those shared values.  The podcast also explains how criminal and civil law addresses those who seek to cross the border without authorization.

For information on the Border Patrol budget, see “The Cost of Immigration Enforcement and Border Security,” provided by the American Immigration Council at:  https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/research/the-cost-of-immigration-enforcement-and-border-security  (January 21, 2021).

For information on ways to address refugees at the border without simply relying on detention, see the report by the National Immigrant Justice Center, “A Better Way: Community-Based Programming As An Alternative To Immigrant Incarceration” at https://immigrantjustice.org/research-items/report-better-way-community-based-programming-alternative-immigrant-incarceration  (April 22,2019).

For more information and sources on the impact of the Title 42 regulation closing much of our border allegedly on public health concerns, see “Health Inequity and Tent Court Injustice,” at:  https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3777549

Subscribe to this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or Spotify.

Living the Golden Rule: An Interfaith Exploration

Entering the United Nations Secretariat Building in New York, one is greeted by a large Norman Rockwell mosaic depicting people of many ages, nationalities, religions, and cultures along with the words, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Rockwell’s piece is entitled, “Golden Rule,” and serves as a reminder that communities throughout the world articulate the importance of the Golden Rule in their teachings and practices. 

At DePaul, a centerpiece in the Lincoln Park Interfaith Sacred Space (located in the Student Center) is a wall filled with many world religious renditions of the Golden Rule. This wall not only highlights a universal connection between interfaith communities but also reminds us of the importance of mutual respect and caring.  

Throughout this quarter, DePaul’s Religious Diversity and Pastoral Care team will be highlighting a Golden Rule from a different faith or spiritual tradition each week. We will not only have an opportunity to recognize the universal wisdom in these golden nuggets, but we will also enter into an interfaith experience together.

As we begin our interfaith exploration of the Golden Rule, our Vincentian values encourage us to focus on the interfaith rules in a new way. As Vincentians we recognize and honor the dignity of all people, which means we do not impose ourselves upon others.  As Vincentians, we consider the rule that Rockwell so beautifully portrayed, pondering how we might do unto others as THEY would have us do unto them. 

Join us on a journey of engaging with the Golden Rule from many faith perspectives throughout the spring quarter! Follow along on our RDPC social channels (@depaulrdpc) for weekly posts on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. 

 

Peace and blessings, 

Rev. Dr. Diane Dardón
Director of the Office of Religious Diversity and Pastoral Care (RDPC) 

A Note from Fr. Memo Campuzano, C.M. on DePaul’s New Mission Statement

 

Sunrise over Saint Vincent’s Circle, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, on the Lincoln Park Campus. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)

After 35 years, DePaul University has fully revised its mission statement. Through a 10-month participatory, historically grounded, yet forward-thinking process, direct feedback was gathered from over 600 community members. The updated concise statement is relevant and apt for the DePaul we all know, and for the DePaul of which we dream.

On March 4th, the revised DePaul University Mission Statement and its supporting document were approved unanimously by the Board of Trustees. The approval process went faster than an expected May timeframe. I believe this demonstrates that the participatory nature of the mission statement review process worked as we had hoped. It proves the value of shared governance in helping us to define a mutual understanding of who we are and how we want to live out our common mission in this historic moment.

The review process was a beautiful, concrete expression of communal discernment. While many may not realize it, our approach of inclusive reflection and community articulation of common dreams and values is very much in the spirit of Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac. As this process has achieved with many other institutions of the worldwide Vincentian Family, it both captured and embodied the Vincentian spirit so valued at DePaul.

Invitations to review the mission statement went out on Newsline and social media, through Colleges, departments, student groups, and administrative offices, via SGA and Faculty and Staff Councils. We listened to many voices at over 70 Dialogues. Many were impassioned and advocated for mission-related ideas that they felt were most important. I can say with confidence that great care was given to revising the statement, down to negotiating the meaning and inclusion of individual words. For instance, including “environmental” justice for students and others fiercely dedicated to sustainability. Or, discussing the wording “with special attention to” as all are served and all have agency, yet we must recognize our Vincentian legacy of reaching out especially to those most in need who are not well-served by systems. It is my belief that every word of the statement has deep meaning and that each word illustrates the common themes of DePaul’s mission that emerged clearly from the audiences we relied upon for community input.

DePaul stakeholders agreed that we are Catholic, Vincentian, and anchored in the global city of Chicago, and that our university educates the whole person in a variety of ways that uphold human dignity. Review participants insisted that DePaul commit to addressing the great societal challenges of our day as both an educational institution connected to local and global communities, and through our graduates whom we hope will be change agents for greater good as well as successful in their professions. The umbrellas of Vincentian personalism and professionalism express the culture and approach at DePaul that many feel differentiate it from other institutions. As we served an immigrant population in the late 1800s, so do we continue to educate underserved and underrepresented communities today.

Other values and core commitments that commonly emerged through the review process are summarized in the statement’s supporting document, “Distinguishing Characteristics, Core Values, and Commitments.” I am hopeful this document will be referenced by link in every online presentation of the new DePaul Mission Statement and I encourage you to read it.

The participatory review process was itself an education for the DePaul community. Before preparing for a dialogue or taking our survey, many of the participants had never read the full four-page mission statement. Many had never meaningfully discussed with colleagues or fellow students what DePaul’s mission meant to them or how they believed it must be communicated to remain relevant and compelling. A nearly universal desire became apparent for a new concise mission statement that could be fully known, embraced, and integrated into life at DePaul. This was also recommended to the university during the last Higher Learning Commission accreditation process. I hope the new statement fulfills that wish.

In many ways the statement review process—comprised of a rigorous four-phase approach of historical review, capturing mission in action through Seeds of the Mission videos, over 70 mission statement dialogues and survey responses, and the Board survey—seems completed after a year. But the work of the new mission statement has just begun.

It is time to begin sharing the statement broadly on websites, in syllabi, and on signage where it can be easily seen. Departments and areas need to reflect on their own internal mission and vision statements, and on their website and marketing language. We must integrate the language and ideas of the new DePaul Mission Statement and “Distinguishing Characteristics, Core Values, and Commitments” into our work. We must all attend to the ideals of the statement as more than just words on paper, but as a mission for which we are gathered that provides a central focus for what we do.

Thank you to all who participated in the review process. And thanks to all who will be enlivened by the new statement, making decisions in using it as a guide, holding DePaul accountable for living it, and celebrating our common Vincentian spirit. Together, We Are DePaul.

Rev. Guillermo (Memo) Campuzano, CM
Vice President of Mission and Ministry


Watch the Video on the Review of DePaul’s Mission Statement

DePaul University Mission Statement
Adopted by the Board of Trustees on March 4, 2021

As an innovative Catholic, Vincentian university anchored in the global city of Chicago, DePaul supports the integral human development of its students. The university does so through its commitment to outstanding teaching, academic excellence, real world experience, community engagement, and systemic change. DePaul prepares graduates to be successful in their chosen fields and agents of transformation throughout their lives.

Guided by an ethic of Vincentian personalism and professionalism, DePaul compassionately upholds the dignity of all members of its diverse, multi-faith, and inclusive community. Through education and research, the university addresses the great questions of our day, promoting peaceful, just, and equitable solutions to social and environmental challenges. 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.

Read our Distinguishing Characteristics, Core Values, and Commitments…

Statement of Support for the LGBTQ Community

Given the context of the conversations occurring over the past week, I want you to know of the continued support for the LGBTQ community by myself and the Division of Mission and Ministry.

An essential principle of advocacy of the LGBTQ community, and one that we embrace together, is that love is love – and love is not a sin. It is a gift from God and an opportunity. Love is the way of human fulfillment and we pray that each person finds love in their own life.

In his encyclical, Fratelli Tutti: On Fraternity and Social Friendship, Pope Francis invites us to reflect on love and reminds us that our mission is not to impose doctrine, but to simply spread the love of God. To all people, without exception.  The Vincentian spirit calls us to love and ennoble the God-given dignity of all, and we will continue to follow that spirit in all that we do.

One of the ways we wish to publicly show our support is through the signing of a statement made by a group of Catholic Bishops affirming the LGBTQ community.  The statement declares that, “All people of goodwill should help, support, and defend LGBT youth; who attempt suicide at much higher rates than their straight counterparts; who are often homeless because of families who reject them; who are rejected, bullied and harassed; and who are the target of violent acts at alarming rates.” It tells LGBTQ community members “we stand with you and oppose any form of violence, bullying or harassment directed at you. Know that God created you, God loves you, and God is on your side.” DePaul University Mission and Ministry has added our name to the list of the statement signers: https://tylerclementi.org/catholicbishopsstatement/

For LGBTQ community members at DePaul and beyond, we see you, we love you, and we are with you.

Fr. Guillermo Campuzano, CM
Vice President, DePaul Division of Mission and Ministry