Vincentian Heritage Special Issue: 2020 and Beyond: DePaul University’s Community Responds to Crises

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The year 2020 began an unprecedented era as we faced three intermingled crises: the COVID-19 pandemic, the scourge of systemic racism brought further to light by the murder of George Floyd, and a presidential campaign that highly divided our country. These were frightening, strange times, full of sound and fury yet juxtaposed by a silent, deserted campus. How did these crises change us? How did they impact our work and our relationships? How did we respond as a Vincentian higher learning community? And, given what we’ve experienced, how do we now move forward?

To answer these questions the DePaul University Vincentian Studies Institute called out to our university community for materials responding to 2020. As a result, we are pleased to announce the publication of our newest peer-reviewed e-book edition of Vincentian Heritage, “2020 and Beyond: DePaul University’s Community Responds to Crises.” This special issue managed by Prof. Matthieu Brejon de Lavergnée, the Dennis Holtschneider Chair of Vincentian Studies at DePaul University, features an opening from A. Gabriel Esteban, PhD, DePaul University’s president, a theological reflection from Guillermo Campuzano, C.M., vice president of the Division of Mission and Ministry, and a wide variety of contributions from prominent faculty, staff, and university affiliates. From articles, to photos, to poetry, to collections of student artwork, each of these fourteen works is devoted to our Vincentian response to the crises that enveloped us in 2020, and that indeed continues to this day.

We offer this volume of Vincentian Heritage to our DePaul community in hopes that it helps us to better understand the myriad ways all of us have worked to face the challenges of this unprecedented time.

To download the complete book for iPad or PC, please click here.

Individual .pdfs for each article are also available for download here.


Featured in this edition:

  • “Introduction. 2020: DePaul University’s Community Responds to Crises,” Matthieu Brejon de Lavergnée, Ph.D.
  • “The Guiding Principles of Leading and Living Through a Pandemic,” A. Gabriel Esteban, Ph.D.
  • “A Vincentian Reading of the Pandemic: Hope Beyond All Reasonable Expectation,” Guillermo Campuzano, C.M.
  • “Creativity Can’t Be Canceled: DePaul Students Express Their Pandemic Experience Through Art,” Lin Batsheva Kahn
  • “Critical Perspectives on Our Current Moment: An Experiment in Teaching for 2020,” Jane Eva Baxter, Ph.D., Sarah Brown, Jenicel Carmona, Val Carnes, Zoe Espinosa, Randall Honold, Ph.D., Cary Robbins, George Slad, Margaret Storey, Ph.D.
  • “Online Community Engagement Enhances Service Learning,” Dan Baron, Kaliah Liggons, MPA, David Pintor, Jonathan Handrup, LSW, and Rubén Álvarez Silva, M.Ed
  • “The Graces of 2020: Catholic Campus Ministry Students Seek Out Blessings Amid a Tumultuous Year,” Amanda Thompson, MDiv, & Dan Paul Borlik, C.M., DMin
  • “‘Learning Not to Despair of Our Own Age’: The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in This Time of Pandemic,” Timothy P. Williams
  • “The COVID-19 Pandemic and Homelessness: Depaul International Responds,” J. Patrick Murphy, C.M., Ph.D.
  • “Mass Incarceration, COVID-19, and Race as Exposure to Early Death,” Traci Schlesinger, Ph.D.
  • “Pandemic, Poverty, and Power: Biosocial Ethics of Global Solidarity for Health,” Stan Chu Ilo, Ph.D.
  • “C-Void,” Amaris Casiano-Zoko
  • Opening Images Essay, Olga Rozenbaum, Stefania Cosentino

Unique Vincent Image

The Vincentiana collection at De Paul University’s Office of Mission and Ministry has acquired a unique and poignant water color image of Vincent de Paul entitled: “Monsieur” Vincent, Aumônier des Galères priez pour nous.” (“Monsieur Vincent, Chaplain of the Galleys, pray for us.”)

The image portrays Vincent freeing a galley convict who kneels before him.  The painting includes an image of a galley at sea.  In the lower right hand corner the image is signed: “En captivité. Pont St. Vincent.  19 – VII – 40.”

The artist’s signature is then below.  Research has led us to believe that the image was painted by a French POW who had been stationed at the fort overlooking the town of Pont-St. Vincent, located in the department of Meurthe-et-Moselle in the northeast of France.  The fort was part of the vast border fortifications built by France after its defeat by Germany in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian war.  This particular fort guarded the area between Langres and Mirecourt and the valley of the Moselle. The fort was captured in June 1940 during the German Blitzkrieg of France.  The painting is dated July 19, 1940.  The artist’s signature is difficult to read.  For more information on this fort, and the French border fortification system visit the following website:

New Bronze Bust Acquired

The Vincentiana Art Collection of De Paul University’s Division of Mission and Ministry has recently acquired an early 20th century cast bronze bust of a Daughter of Charity.  The piece is signed by the Austrian artist Adolf Josef Pohl (1872-1930).

The bust is very finely crafted, and captures the difficult details and proportions of the sister’s cornette.  The piece is 9” in height and 7” in width.  There is a foundry mark as well.  The bust joins the other more than 200 pieces of Vincentian fine art in the Division’s collection including other bronzes, paintings, tapestries, embroidered pieces, and photographs.  Many items in the collections are on public display throughout the university, and in the offices of the Division of Mission and Ministry at 55 E. Jackson Boulevard.  Visitors are always welcome.




Unusual Vincent de Paul portrait acquired

The Vincentiana Collection at the Archives and Special Collections Department of DePaul University has recently acquired an unusual Vincent de Paul portrait.  The painting done in 1974 by the artist George Prout (1913-2016) depicts Vincent de Paul looking into a cradle.  The infant reaches out to grab his finger.  The expression on Vincent’s face is quite charming.  While the depiction of Vincent de Paul with foundlings is all but universal in post-revolutionary iconography of the saint; this particular image has a warmth that puts it in a category of its own.


Martyrs in China

The Vincentiana Collection in Archives and Special Collections at DePaul University has recently acquired a rare black and white postcard c. 1900 which commemorates the massacre of ten French Daughters of Charity at Tien-Tsin in June 1870.  The Chinese attack on the sisters and confreres was part of a backlash against Foreign and missionary presence in China.  Rumors circulated in the local community that the orphan children were being murdered by the sisters and their body parts harvested for medicine.  Two confreres were also massacred.  The churches and missionary compounds were burned to the ground in the attacks.  This postcard commemorates the site of the sisters’ deaths in the garden of the orphanage.  The rebuilt church in the background is Notre Dame des Victoires.  These anti-foreign tensions would continue in China leading thirty years later to the famous Boxer rebellion.


Vincent de Paul manuscript letter

The Vincentian Studies Institute is happy to announce the recent acquisition, from a Spanish auction house, of a Vincent de Paul manuscript letter.  The previously known letter is dated April 19, 1658 and is written to Firmin Get who was the superior of the house in Marseilles.  The letter is in a secretary’s hand with Vincent de Paul’s autograph signature.  The letter appears in Pierre Coste’s collected “Correspondence, Conferences, Documents” of Vincent de Paul, Volume 7, pages 148-149, letter #2574.  This letter will join the growing Vincentiana manuscript collection at DePaul University’s Archives and Special Collections which is the repository for the Vincentiana Collections of the Vincentian Studies Institute of the United States.


Rare chasuble acquired

The Vincentiana Art Collection of the Division of Mission and Ministry of DePaul University has recently acquired an early 20th century Spanish “fiddleback” chasuble.  The beautiful white silk vestment has elaborate floral embroidery motifs, silver metallic and jeweled borders.  The front of the vestment has a charming cartouche of Saint Vincent and two foundlings.  The back side of the vestment has a cartouche of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.

New Watercolor Acquired

The Vincentiana Art Collection of the Division of Mission and Ministry of DePaul University has recently acquired a charming 19th-century sepia watercolor of Saint Vincent de Paul with Foundlings by the 19th-century British author Hannah Mary Rathbone (b. 1798. d. 1878).

For more information about Rathbone’s life and literary career see her Wikipedia article:



Louise de Marillac enters St. Peter’s Basilica

The Vincentian Studies Institute recently purchased two photographs from February 1954 that capture the delivery of the monumental statue of Saint Louise de Marillac to Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.   Louise’s canonization took place in 1934.  Her statue became the thirty-ninth and last, to fill one of the internal niches of St. Peter’s.  The sheer size of the sculpture emerges in scale against the figures of the various workers.  The photographs will join the Vincentiana collection at the Archives and Special Collections Department of DePaul University’s, John T. Richardson Library.


DePaul University Purchases Letter written by Saint Vincent de Paul

The Vincentian Studies Institute of DePaul University recently purchased a Vincent de Paul Letter.  The letter is from the saint to Firmin Get an early Lazarist who at the time was superior of the house at Marseilles.   The letter is dated from Paris, April 19, 1658.  This is a previously known letter numbered #2574 (volume 7) by Pierre Coste, C.M., in his multi-volume “Correspondence, Conference, Documents” collection. The saint’s secretary Brother Bertrand Ducournau wrote the letter from dictation.  The piece is signed by Vincent.  This letter will join the growing collection of Vincent manuscript letters and documents at the Archives and Special Collections Department of DePaul University’s, John T. Richardson Library.