The Potential Already Present

There are times in life when we may struggle to see light in darkness or when we are overcome with doubt. Occasionally, it may seem that the entire world is going in the wrong direction, that hardship is around every corner, or that we may not make it through the present in one piece.

The Christian season of Advent, now upon us, invites us to see with hopeful eyes the presence of grace and the latent potential for goodness waiting to be actualized. Whether in our home lives, in our communities, in our workplace, or in the larger world, each moment offers us this opportunity.

What gets in the way of our realizing it?

I acknowledge many times my underlying feelings get in the way. Maybe I’m sad, irritated, or confused. Or it could be my habitually self-absorbed thought patterns get in the way and prevent me from seeing the opportunities before me.

If I pause to consider it, I know that my feelings at any moment in life are the result of many complex factors that are at once internal and external, objective and subjective, individual and communal, rational and intuitive. Feelings may be caused by what we see, but in every case, they are also likely to color the lens through which we see, and thus accentuate or distort certain aspects of our reality. Likewise, my thought patterns are likely to hold many preconceived expectations and biases that impact what I see as I face new situations and thus how I interpret them.

Thus, I consider the seasons of Advent and Christmas to be an annual gift that invites me into a beneficial communal practice of the Christian community. This annual practice helps to foster the emotional and spiritual readiness necessary to perceive and encounter all that is before us with hopeful expectation. Through story and ritual, this liturgical season reminds us that the present moment is always pregnant with emergent life and goodness.

I share these reflections in this space because they offer lessons for us that are helpful in the workplace, too. What gets in the way of your seeing? Seeing your co-worker with deep respect and care? Seeing past some of the prejudicial biases or defensive personal habits you have developed over time? Seeing with hope? Seeing the opportunity to accentuate or contribute to the goodness of our university community during your day? And what might help to restore you to seeing more clearly?

As we approach a time that may allow a bit more space for rest and rejuvenation from our regular work and life patterns, how might you ready or restore yourself to be able to see the new life that is emerging for you, within you, and around you? In your work situation, in your home life, or in your community, how might there be latent potential for goodness and new life?

Your answer to these questions may be exactly one of the gifts you are meant to receive this holiday season. May you recognize it, receive it, and give thanks for the way it calls you forward to new life and hope in the year ahead!


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

Finding Hope in Dark Times

French holy card which reads, “A good conscience is in unalterable joy and peace, even in the midst of adversities.”

“Another effect of charity is to rejoice with those who rejoice. It causes us to enter into their joy … to unite us in one mind and in joy as well as in sorrow.”[1] – Saint Vincent de Paul

I have a sense these days that folks are having a hard time feeling hopeful. I only need to glance at the front page of the newspaper to understand why. I gave up consuming too much news a while back. It wasn’t doing any good for my soul.

From the little I’ve read and heard, Saint Vincent de Paul seems to have been a joyful person. He, too, lived at a time when there was plenty to be worried about. Plagues ravaged Europe in Vincent’s day, institutional corruption ran deep, and the social order was profoundly unfair. The poor that he spent so many years serving bore the brunt of the suffering. He had beloved friends die young and violently. He took these losses hard. Yet he found a way to remain joyful. Vincent is certainly not the only person who has known loss all too well but remained hopeful, joyful, and grateful. What’s their secret?

Last month I was listening to a podcast on grief and loss created by Anderson Cooper called “All There Is.” One of the episodes is an extraordinary interview with Stephen Colbert. At age ten, Stephen lost his father and two teenage brothers in a plane crash. That is a defining experience in his life, obviously. Of course, he wishes that didn’t happen. Yet he will say he’s grateful for it. Stephen believes in his core that it is a gift to exist. He knows that existence comes with suffering; it’s unavoidable. He believes that if you’re grateful for your life, you have to be grateful for all of it. While he wishes that tragedy never happened, he knows that having experienced that unimaginable loss made him a more compassionate, more human person. He can’t help but acknowledge that it has helped him love others in a deeper way. In that sense, Stephen is grateful for the thing he most wishes didn’t happen. This tragedy did not keep Stephen from being a joyful, hopeful person. I think he’s on to something.

Later this month, I will be accompanying a group of students on a service immersion trip to El Salvador. From what I have read of the history of Central and South America, I have been impressed by how a suffering and oppressed people produced beautiful music and art that spoke not only to their resilience and courage but indeed to their joyfulness. On a recent trip to Ireland, I was again struck by how much beautiful poetry, as well as raucously fun music and dance, seems to come from those who suffer greatly. How do they do it? On the trip to El Salvador, my role is staff mentor. I think, however, that I have much more to learn than to impart.

I’m thinking Vincent’s secret might lie in his animating question: “What must be done?” Vincent, Louise, and those they served with didn’t just lament the suffering of others. They went and lived with those who were afflicted. They walked with them and shared in their lives. My guess is they hated the circumstances that resulted in such suffering. Like Stephen Colbert, however, they leaned into the reality of the thing they wished wasn’t so. In sharing in the suffering of others, they also shared in their joy.

I don’t pretend to know the answer to the question of how to remain hopeful in these dark times. But I suspect that running away from suffering isn’t the answer. Nor is reading about it and lamenting it. Maybe, paradoxically, going through it with others is a better strategy.

Reflection Question:

Ponder artworks, poems, movies, etc. that are sad or tragic while also being unbearably beautiful. How is it that those two things can coexist in your heart?


Reflection by: Rich Goode, Executive Director, Planned Giving | Advancement and External Relations

[1] Conference 207, Charity (Common Rules, Chap. II, Art. 12), 30 May 1659, CCD, 12:222. See: https:‌‌//‌‌via.library.depaul.edu/vincentian_ebooks/36/.

The Wisdom of the Seasons

“Let your leaves fall and return. Oh darling, the seasons are your friend.”

~ Sia

One of my favorite songs is “Death by Chocolate” by Sia. The lyrics offer reassurance that grief and despair are temporary. They also offer comfort, inviting us to imagine leaning on someone who is there to listen, provide a shoulder, and offer wisdom. “Lay your head in my hands… this is only for right now.… Let your leaves fall and return. Oh darling, the seasons are your friend.”

Sometimes when I experience feelings of being overwhelmed, or helpless, or hopeless, I often turn to the lessons of nature. We can all think of moments wherein we are lost in the enormity of nature. One of nature’s most beautiful and spectacular performances, for me, is the fall season with its bright colors of changing leaves across the blue skies. Fall reminds me that moving through something is possible, yet often not easy. Consider the brilliance in the trust leaves seem to have, bursting brightly at their best, then letting go, and falling. Only, then they return in spring, emerging stronger and greener for another season. I have found this recent fall season to be quite breathtaking and must remind myself to be present in the moment, knowing this stunning moment will soon pass. Embracing the seasons as a reminder of life’s challenges also emphasizes the value of leaning on community. When the world can feel fraught due to uncertainty or unsteadiness, I take solace in connecting within the DePaul community.

Following in the spirit of Saint Vincent de Paul, we choose to gather together for the sake of the mission. Vincent suggested that in order to do so we must learn to become “full reservoirs in order to let our water spill out without becoming empty, and we must possess the spirit with which we want (others) to be animated, for no one can give what (they do) not have.”[1]

By leaning on one another, may we grow in the capacity to maintain love, respect, and acceptance and find the way to hold onto hope in the changing seasons.

Reflection Questions:

  • What ways do you fill your reservoir?
  • What ways can you build in time as we near the end of the quarter to reconnect with colleagues who are a part of your support system?
  • What sources of wisdom do you draw on to gain greater perspective as you move through the changing seasons of life?

Reflection by: Ellen Fingado, Dean of Students

[1] Letter 1623, To a Seminary Director, CCD, 4:570, at: https://‌via.‌library.‌depaul.‌edu/‌vincentian_‌ebooks/‌29/.

 

Another World is Possible

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

Photo Credits: Ankhesenamun on Unsplash

Another World is Possible

Even amid feelings of despair, there is always a way toward a new reality where life can triumph and flourish. …read more

 

 

 

 

Mission-Related Events and Happenings This Week

DePaul Managers Forum

Join us for an “Open Space” experience with other DePaul managers (of pro staff) to focus on the topics and questions most important to you! Register here

Another World is Possible

Even amid feelings of despair, there is always a way toward a new reality where life can triumph and flourish.

I know that I am not alone in finding myself stuck in some confusion and despair over the troubling conflict in the Middle East. These events are a stark reminder of the pain and destruction that violence and injustice can breed. Most of us learn about the harsh realities there primarily through shocking videos and images, leading to feelings of powerlessness and anguish because we are oceans away. Yet it is important to be aware of these realities rather than to avoid them, and to center our compassion and concern on all the people impacted. It would be inhuman of us not to do so.

As a Catholic Christian, I am steeped in a narrative of resurrection and the eternal possibilities of life and light present in the face of darkness. I find hope in knowing that another world is possible other than one filled with violence and destruction. I have learned repeatedly in my life that in moments of despair and helplessness, we can always regain some sense of agency by beginning with the reality immediately before us, with the people around us, and with the vision of life that we believe we must help create, enable, and sustain. The road ahead can be long, hard, and complex. Yet if we are open to it and courageous enough to pursue it, it is always possible to work toward a justice and peace that enables all life to flourish, reflecting the creative dream and intention of our God.

I am certain that we, at DePaul, can create a kind of community that does not replicate the harm of the broader society. Because our walls are porous by design, we cannot help but be influenced in powerful ways by the injustices that surround us in our world. Yet, with careful intention, we also can work toward a different way of being together, one that accepts deep difference and conflict while being open to deeper understanding and change. We can model among us what we hope to create.

Vincent de Paul’s spirituality is what Catholic Christians speak of as “incarnational.” That is, Vincent believed that faith is ultimately made evident in concrete action. He spoke often of virtues, which are essentially the consistent embodiment of our aspirational values and ideals. In fact, this is what Vincent de Paul saw and most revered in the example of Jesus, who incarnated the presence and love of God. Vincent de Paul believed we are called to do the same. Furthermore, Vincent suggested, God supports and accompanies us in the process, helping us toward the realization of an integral human development and flourishing.

Inspired by our Vincentian mission, we always strive toward larger goals, such as the sustainability of our planet, an end to violence, and the alleviation of poverty and injustice. We act for systemic change that can make the flourishing of life possible for all, with particular attention to those who have been marginalized or abandoned. We work to bridge the gap between what is and what we dream of.

The way to that desired end may best be achieved by seeking to create locally the human community that we feel called to bring into being globally. If it is ever to come about, the larger change we seek must be accompanied by change within and among us.

Reflection questions:

What is the human community and the world you believe we are called to help bring into being here at DePaul? How can your actions reflect the end that we seek?


Reflection by: Mark Laboe, Associate VP for Mission and Ministry

Easter Season: A Culture of Nonviolence, Resilience and Communal Hope

With this reflection, we send Easter greetings to all the people connected to DePaul University, people of all religious traditions and none. We come together out of our shared need for meaning, peace, healing, and a space and time of rest for our restless hearts. I invite all of you to enter that place with us.

In the Christian world, Good Friday is full of a cry of suffering, pain, and abandonment: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). This is the cry of the anguish and desperation of the Christ on the cross.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” is the painful cry of too many today. When working at the United Nations, I became aware that this cry of anguish and pain of life in all its forms is caused by many different environmental and social realities: missing species, shrinking habitats, collapsed fisheries, bitter seas, soil erosion, plastic apocalypse, the mass-spreading of diseases, rising sea levels, environmental refugees, receding forests, melting glaciers, rising greenhouse gases, massive migrations of species trying to survive, more intense storms, endless winters, growing deserts, arctic meltdown, climate volatility, economic chaos, scandalous inequality, the spread of mental illnesses, inability or lack of interest in outlining an ethic for human-technological interaction, the festering wounds of racism and classism, misogyny and racial, gender, religious, economic hegemony, human trafficking and slavery, economic injustice, inequality and discrimination against minorities of various identities, violence, war, and toxic polarizing politics… and the list goes on.[1]

In this context, it seems appropriate to ask, Where is God? The feelings of abandonment and despair are not far from many of our minds and hearts, even if some may feel uncomfortable thinking this way. When Vincent heard this cry of the most abandoned, he dared to listen. He began a movement of resilient hope, nonviolence, and peace, transforming solidarity. He decided to follow the wisdom and direction of life, not death.

In the Vincentian movement, we are committed to telling people living in suffering and desperation that they are not alone and have not been abandoned and that God is with them. Often the only sign of God that feeds their hope is in the hands, the solidarity, and the compassion of a growing number of people of goodwill who continue to join the human march toward life, hope, reliance, justice, and peace.

We are not exempt from the consequences of the chaos of our interconnected, globalized world. Among us in our neighborhoods and our many communities of belonging here at DePaul University, if we are attentive, we can hear in the cry of vulnerable life a call for help too.

Concretely, during these challenging days, when in conversations and decision-making processes related to Designing DePaul and our projected budget gap, we must always be attentive to hear the cries for help of the most vulnerable members of our community. In this way, meaning, equity, and the sense of belonging will prevail, and we will continue to be rooted in the Vincentian spirit.

The Easter season is full again with good news: The Lord is risen, Alleluia! (Matthew 28:5–7).

According to the Christian scriptures, “very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, [women] went to the tomb when the sun had risen” (Mark 16:2). Amid the darkness, they set out on the road giving company to each other.

Because it is not yet dawn for so many peoples, these women of the morning are calling us to overcome all fear and to set our feet on the road together to witness and actively be part of the triumph of life over death. At every dawn in each corner of the world, millions of humans set out on the road and are the door to each grave; they are witnesses of life, light, and hope.

In the Christian tradition, when we are amid our pain, trials, and anguish, asking why God has forsaken us, God surprises us with a new presence, many times in little signs that we need to identify and translate. The resurrection of the Lord is not a magical experience but a lived reality in the communities that dare to make the call for mutual help and care central to their common survival.

In the Christian paschal mystery, the darkest part of the night is often shortly before the dawn. “The joy comes in the morning” (Ps. 30:5).  The joyful proclamation of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday assures us that the last word lies not with violence, injustice, and inhumanity but with God’s purpose of love, justice, and hope. This purpose runs like a thread throughout history and will find its ultimate fulfillment in the coming fullness of the Kin-dom, the common eschatological place where all cultures and religions and all species in our common home are going.

As a Vincentian, I am excited to be alive this Easter. I see a movement in the Catholic Church that is once again looking for a profound transformation. This Easter season invites us to live and generate a culture of renewal in the heart of the Church as we follow Jesus in our total commitment to the protection, care, and survival of life.

Pope Francis is inviting the Church to embrace the gospel of nonviolence as a concrete expression of our commitment to life in the context of the Easter celebrations of this year: “Living, speaking, and acting without violence is not giving up, it is not losing or giving up anything, but aspiring to everything.” May we spread this culture of nonviolence far and wide. May we all join the world in praying for such a nonviolent culture. May we move forward with great gratitude for this word calling us to the fullness of the nonviolent life “aspiring to everything.” (You can see the original press release here.)

Pope Francis knows that the gospel of nonviolence has not always characterized Christianity. Christians have often been a significant obstacle to God. As a part of our commitment to live as resurrected people, we need to ask for forgiveness for the “holy wars,” the inquisition, for blessing guns and bombs, for attempting to justify and participating in the torture and enslavement of human beings, for holding signs that say that God hates people of various minorities, for starting violent apocalyptic militias, for blowing up abortion clinics, for turning a blind eye to poverty and exclusion, and for the sexual abuse of children by priests and religious. These things, and many others, are not the Christianity of Jesus Christ who publicly forgave his killers. They are a Christianity that has become unrecognizably ill and that does not reflect the paschal mystery in which violence, abuse, exclusion, injustice, and death are defeated.


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

[1] In this list I am using the language I read and heard in United Nations documents, meetings, and conferences.

How might the DePaul community be a living sign of hope through our life and work together in the coming year?

Christians around the world currently move through the season of Advent, the four weeks of joyful anticipation leading up to the celebration of Christmas Day (December 25), which commemorates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth over 2,000 years ago. At the popular level, the Christmas holiday is now perhaps more associated with the figure of Santa Claus and commercialized through the associated ritual of giving gifts, such that the profound meaning of this holy day for Christians often fades to the background.

As a remembrance of the Christian belief in the incarnation of God in human history, Christmas has stood the test of time as an eternal source of resilient hope for many around the world and across many cultures. Coming in the midst of the darkness of the winter season in the northern hemisphere, and always in the face of society’s violence and injustice, Christmas enters again each year as a reason for, and as a symbol of, hope and possibility. Says the Gospel of John: “The light has entered into the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”

For Christians, the Christmas holiday reminds us that there is always room for hope because of the in breaking of God’s grace into human life, with which we are invited to join and participate. As the words of author, theologian, and civil rights leader Howard Thurman remind us, this hope of the Christmas season truly begins when made visible through our actions.

 

The Work of Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among others,
To make music in the heart.

Howard Thurman
The Mood of Christmas and Other Celebrations[1]

As we soon enter a time of holiday break from our work routines, may we enjoy the rest and time with loved ones that often accompanies this season, and prepare for the continued work ahead in 2023.

Reflection Questions:

  • How will you make hope active and real in the weeks and year ahead?
  • How might the DePaul community be a living sign of hope through our life and work together in the coming year?

Reflection by: Mark Laboe, Assoc. VP, Mission and Ministry

[1] Howard Thurman, The Mood of Christmas and Other Celebrations (Friends United Press, 1985), 127 pp.

The Power of the Good

“The cause of love is esteem for the good in the thing loved.”[1]

Do you ever wonder if you are a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty kind of person? Before you answer this question, pause for a moment and ask yourself how others might describe you these past two years as you have weathered the impact of the global pandemic and myriad other life stressors. What would they say? This may be a more revealing exercise than merely our own self-appraisal.

If you are anything like me, at times in these past couple of years, my ability to find hope in the world has certainly been tested. It’s hard to remain hopeful in tomorrow when yet another news report bellows that a new strain of the virus is traversing borders faster than a tweet can pop into your feed. Or when we learn that global warming’s intensity is surpassing rates never before imagined as our planet is ravaged by all kinds of atmospheric pollutants. Or when senseless violence continues to lay bare unjust and broken societal systems that we ourselves have created and continue to maintain. In the face of such alarming realities, our belief in the goodness of humanity and our capacity for hope can be severely diminished. At moments such as these, what enables you to stay in touch with the best in life and continue to trust that goodness will win out, despite the foreboding shadows? What gives you the hope and compassion to believe that “right relationship” can be restored and is eternally possible?

I believe that Louise de Marillac and Vincent de Paul must have struggled with similar questions. After all, they spent most of their lives enduring tumultuous wars and endless battles. They also witnessed dire poverty and harsh human suffering. What kept them hopeful and allowed them not to give up on humanity?

For Louise and Vincent, it was their enduring faith in a loving God that enabled them to never lose sight of the good. Undeniably, their belief in such goodness was made real through their interactions with the community around them and reinforced by the power of the ministry in which they engaged, primarily with those on the margins of society. Indeed, no matter if they were ministering to the haughtiest of aristocrats or the lowliest of paupers, Louise and Vincent chose to believe in the power of goodness to prevail and the potential of hearts to be moved. Their lived reality was thus a living testament to the capacity of the human person to choose to respond with love.

  • As you contemplate how full or empty your glass is today, who or what has given you the ability to replenish your supplies when life gets hard, and the clouds seem particularly ominous?
  • In our particular context at DePaul, what gives you the sustenance to keep believing in the best of the mission when decisions may seem out of step with your aspirations?
  • Where do you find the ability to go on believing when the terrain gets tough and you lose sight of the way out of the woods?
  • What enables you to choose to love and find hope in the good of our world today?

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

[1] A.29, “(On Charity),” Spiritual Writings of Louise de Marillac, 710. Available at: https://‌‌via.‌library.‌depaul.edu/‌ldm/.

 

Thanks to God We are Alive!

As we joyfully embrace the many seasonal, religious, and spiritual celebrations of this beautiful time I would like to share with you a Christian/Vincentian perspective of Easter. This day of life, hope, and connection beyond our own understanding raises a simple question: where is God in everything that is happening?

Thanks to God we are alive! This is the Easter voice that I hear in my heart today. It is a voice I have heard many times in my life from people close to death because of natural disasters, poverty, hardship, violence, etc. And, over the past year I have heard survivors of the pandemic saying again and again… thanks to God we are alive!

I recently heard it said that “more than in other times, our age is characterized by its concern for the future and by wanting to glimpse the human person of tomorrow. Most agree about this: our way of being human needs to be transformed. The real human person is still a project… it is latent in the dynamic of evolution [and transformation]. This search for a new human person has been a recurrent theme in each historic cultural moment.”(1) Today more than ever we are aware that our way of being human is not sustainable. The urgent call for a new person is an Easter call… a call that echoes as a living memory of the resurrection. This is the call from God at the heart of the paschal mystery.

This morning, having endured the pandemic, we begin to see an end to this long day of the passion. The resurrection of Jesus is revealed to us in the real signs of what is happening in our lives, our country, and our world. All can perceive these new signs of life with which God is gracing us. For St. Vincent de Paul one of the primary challenges of Christian faith was to perceive and to live God’s life in our own lives. He expected the members of his spiritual family to conform with essential values that reflected a sustainable human experience. Vincent found these values exemplified in the life of Jesus Christ the evangelizer [humanizer] of the poor, who invites us to awaken dawns of resurrection amid dark nights of history.

“I beg Our Lord, Monsieur, that we may be able to die to ourselves in order to rise with Him, that He may be the joy of your heart, the end and soul of your actions, and your glory in heaven.”(2)

In Christian faith, from a Vincentian perspective, the value of all religious practices depends on their connection with real life. When we celebrate the resurrection, we are invited to experience life in all its forms, and to commit to protecting it. We are asked to defend human life, and all forms of life, now at risk due to our individualistic and consumeristic lifestyle. We recognize God’s life in us, and this life is what we celebrate. This life is what challenges us to change and to give of our own lives.

During these times, the celebration of the resurrection cannot be disconnected from all the essential issues that are challenging our very existence: social and environmental justice, human and communal rights, freedom, racism, and equity in all its forms. All these issues call us to reshape our Vincentian Mission and spirituality. For Christians, then, the celebration of the resurrection is simply a call to advance, giving concrete signs, the agenda of a new humanity and a new world!

“I ask O[ur] L[ord] to be the life of our life and the only aspiration of our hearts.”(3)


1) Cf. Leonardo Boff, La Resurrección de Cristo Nuestra Resurrección en la Muerte, 5th ed. (Editorial Sal Terrae, 2005), p. 9.

2) Letter 1202, To a Priest of the Mission, In Saintes, 27 March 1650, CCD, 3:616.

3) Letter 2433, To Charles Ozenne, Superior, In Poland, 26 October 1657, CCD, 6:576.

 

Reflection by:

Guillermo Campuzano, C.M.
Vice President of Mission and Ministry


Sustaining the Mission

Need a different kind of shot in the arm? Join us for Sustaining the Mission and get a mission booster! Sustaining the Mission is a mission engagement program designed for staff and faculty who have been at DePaul for at least a year.

This 90-minute workshop on Thursday, April 15th from 9:30-11:00 am, will invite you to consider how to practically apply DePaul’s mission to your everyday work and life. Together, we will examine how the mission can provide a deeper sense of meaning to your daily activities. As a member of the DePaul community, our goal is to help you reflect on concrete ways you can contribute to the advancement and sustainability of DePaul’s Vincentian mission within your team, department, area, division, etc. We will also help you to develop a mission integration plan. Please note that this program also meets one of the requirements for those interested in becoming a Mission Ambassador. Register Here.

Trust in Uncertain Times

In many ways, we are living in uncertain times. As a country, some people are anxious and uncertain about when the results of this year’s presidential and congressional races will be known. As a university, many of us are entering our eighth month of working from home as a result of the pandemic with no idea how much longer this may last. As individuals, some of us may also be facing other personal challenges with uncertain outcomes.

What can we do when we are faced with all this uncertainty?

Consider Louise de Marillac, who turned to her faith. Reflecting during a retreat, she wrote, “I must accept this uncertainty as well as my inability clearly to perceive at this time the path which God wishes me to follow in His service.”1 When faced with challenges, Louise realized that she could not always see where and when those challenges would end, and how she could overcome them. As a Catholic-Christian in seventeenth-century France, she put her faith and trust in God, who she believed to have planned a path for her life. She accepted that she could only do so much, and she believed God would take care of the rest.

What lessons can you take away from Louise’s approach to uncertain times? How might you translate her wisdom to your own life and belief system? When thinking about the uncertainty of life right now, who can you trust or believe in that will help you on your journey, wherever it may lead?


1) A.5, (Retreat), c.1632, Spiritual Writings of Louise de Marillac, 717. See: https://‌via.‌library.‌depaul.‌‌edu/ldm/

Image credit: Bro. Timothy Opferman, C.M., artist; based on a work by Sharon Horace, D.C.; Photo courtesy of Bro. Broer Huitema, C.M.M.; Original in SVdP Center.

 

Reflection by: Michael Van Dorpe, Program Manager for Faculty and Staff Engagement, Division of Mission and Ministry