Division of Mission and Ministry – Welcome Days


The Division of Mission and Ministry, in an effort to reach out and engage with sophomore students, that did not have an introduction to campus as freshmen, have created a series of events to help them meet, reflect, and heal.   The events will range from playful and contemplative to fun and engaging, encouraging the students new to DePaul’s campus to explore it and their own thoughts. Here is the lineup of events:   

Pause DePaul
Monday, September 13 – Friday, September 17 | 11 am – 5 pm
Interfaith Sacred Space: (Student Center 1st floor, inside St. Louise Chapel doors)

How are you, really? Take a moment to pause and reflect in the Interfaith Sacred Space as we begin a new school year. Reflection writing walls will be set up all week to provide a space for the DePaul community to connect with themselves and others through a shared reflection space.

DePaul Community Ritual of Healing & Connection
Monday, September 20 | 2:30 – 3:30 pm
Location: St. Vincent’s Circle with 314AB as rain location

As part of Mission and Ministry Welcome days, we invite you to gather as a community for dialogue and ritual that will acknowledge where we’ve been, consider where we are today, and look forward with hope.  As we start this academic year, join us for this moment of reflection and connection.

Self-Guided Ritual of Healing & Connection
Monday, September 20 – Wednesday, September 23 | 9 am – 5 pm
Location: St. Vincent’s Circle

As an extension of Monday’s guided healing ritual, a self-guided ritual of letting negativity sink away and lifting up our hopes and prayers for the year to come will be available for the DePaul Community from Monday to Wednesday. Look for the healing water!

Where at DePaul is _______?
Monday, September 13 – Thursday, September 30

Want to get to know the people who work with students in Mission and Ministry? You’ll have to find us first! From Monday, September 20 to Thursday, September 30, 2021, we’ll be scattered around campus with prizes and fun. Follow Mission & Ministry on Instagram (or any of our amazing program accounts) to get clues and get to know our staff team. We’ll feature staff from Religious Diversity and Pastoral Care, Vincentian Service and Formation, and Catholic Campus Ministry. See you around! If you spot us, that is.  

Vincentians in Action Instagram
Catholic Campus Ministry Instagram
Religious Diversity and Pastoral Care Instagram 

A Summer of Sustenance

As a child growing up in London, before I would head out to school, my mother would often seek to entice us to finish up our breakfast by saying, “Eat up all of your breakfast before you leave. You’ll need energy for the day. It’s like a car; if you don’t give it petrol it can’t run.” Her words still give me pause for reflection these many years.

Where do we find sustenance for life?

In our time the importance of self-care is frequently emphasized. It makes sense. If you don’t take care of your body, mind, and spirit, how can they take care of you?

During their time, in their own way, both Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac embraced such seeds of wisdom. Because their ministry could certainly take a toll and came at a personal cost, these longtime, caring friends sometimes challenged each other and their communities to take a step back to replenish dwindling reserves. Indeed, as Vincent himself knew, “[I]t’s impossible for us to produce good results if we’re like dry land that yields only thistles.”1 After all, “no one can give what he [or she] does not have.”2

How will you replenish your reservoir this summer? As we combat a global pandemic, this question seems all the more poignant now in light of what has been, and continues to be, one of the most challenging periods in living history.

How are you being invited to nurture your mind, body, and spirit? And how will you recharge the spirit within yourself that invites all to flourish? The invitation awaits. How will you respond?


1 Conference 202, Gentleness (Common Rules, Chap. II, Art. 6), 28 March 1659, CCD, 12:157. See: https://via.library.depaul.edu/coste_en/

2 Letter 1623, To a Seminary Director, CCD, 4:570.

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

Seeds of the Mission: Matt Schultz

Service Beyond DePaul & Intentional Community

The Catholic tradition is rooted in the practice of sacramentality, the understanding that the gifts and graces we receive throughout life are meant to be shared. As a Vincentian university, DePaul strives to inspire students to use their gift of education to live a life of service to others, regardless of the academic field or career choice. Post-graduate volunteer programs are one way that DePaul graduates live this call to service. Rooted in intentional community, faith, service, and social justice post-graduate volunteer programs bring to life the Vincentian way for young adults today.

Living in intentional community is deeply rooted in our Vincentian tradition. When Louise de Marillac founded the Daughters of Charity she formed a community out of the poorest of the poor, creating home for them. She actually invited young peasant women into her personal space. She saw their potential, taught them to read and write, and equipped them to make change in their communities. This kind of hospitality for a noble woman was unprecedented during her time, breaking social class barriers and opening new opportunities for women.

Louise had the deep intuition from the start that living together in community was the way forward to sustaining a life of service to others. Even in her last will and spiritual testament she  reminds the Daughters of Charity to “live together in great union and cordiality.” She tells her sisters often to “encourage one another.” The word encourage comes from the Old French encoragier—“make strong, hearten.” It means “to inspire with courage, spirit, hope.” Louise knew what she was asking her community to do was not easy and that they would need each other and courage in their hearts. Time and time again you see in her letters to the Daughters of Charity Louise helping them navigate the joys and struggles of living in community with others.

When young adults have the opportunity to serve and live in intentional community, they experience this rich tradition and learn a countercultural way to exist in our society.  It invites them to see beyond individualism and begin to realize our interconnectedness. They also grow in concrete skills of conflict resolution and dialogue as they navigate the realities of living with other humans! This transformative formation gives them tools to continue living another way beyond their year of service.

DePaul hosts an annual Post-Graduate Volunteer Fair for students interested in exploring this opportunity after graduation. In partnership with the Catholic Volunteer Network (CVN), this year’s fair will take place virtually on Monday, November 9 from 4:30-7:30pm and Tuesday, November 10 from 11:30am-2:30pm. Students can RSVP on DeHub here and sign onto the fair here.  For more information about post-graduate volunteer opportunities, visit the CVN website.


Seeds of the Mission: Susana Martinez

Go-Then 

The Vincentian mission starts not from a place of theory, but instead out in the world. After taking time to listen, learn, and understand the stories of people in our communities, we then return to make meaning. We call this approach, “Go, then.” The Vincentian mission calls us to go into the world, to serve and accompany those who are most marginalized. Then, we begin to ask questions of systemic change. When they co-founded the Daughters of Charity, Louise and Vincent realized the need for the Daughters to be out in the streets, in direct contact with those they were serving. Vincent advised that Daughters of Charity have to go everywhere… for chapel, the parish church; for cloister, the streets of the city.” [1] They put the lives of those on the margins at the center of their work 

Direct relationship, care, and interconnectedness are central to the Vincentian charism. We see our community as co-educators and do not assume that we have all the answers. We trust that each person is the expert in their own lived experience. We encourage students involved in community service to listen deeply to the stories of those on the margins and allow those stories to shape their understanding of the world. Wstrive to form mutual relationships with a sense of humility that allows us to be served and taught in return. At DePaul, this holds true especially in our commitment to the city of Chicago. We strive to create opportunities for students to connect to this city and its people in meaningful, transformative ways. 


[1] #111, Rules for the Sisters in Parishes, CCD, 10:530. 

Indiscreet Zeal

“The spirit of God urges one gently to do the good that can be done reasonably, so that it may be done perseveringly and for a long time.” Vincent de Paul  (CCD, I:92)

Vincent seemed to be aware that he and others often falter by pursuing passions uncritically. Rather, he advised his followers not to rush into new ventures, aware that “indiscreet zeal” can at times lead more to harm than good. He advocated for a more discerning approach, rooted in experience. In his regular Tuesday Conferences, he would often invite the input of others with different perspectives, reflecting a way of proceeding in which discernment was dynamic and dialogical, open to various viewpoints, and aware that one person does not hold all of the answers. What regular practices of discernment can help to provide a healthy balance to your zeal and enthusiasm? How do you invite diverse and even contrary perspectives into dialogue with your own thinking?

Practicing Charity on the Way to Justice

“Charity is the cement that binds communities to God and persons to one another.” Vincent de Paul (CCD, 2:413)

For some, charity is construed negatively because it is equated to paternalism or perhaps a band-aid – – an approach that fails to address the root causes of systemic injustice. When viewed this way, Vincent de Paul’s notion of charity can strike us as inadequate and even problematic if applied uncritically to today’s world. Yet, to understand Vincent effectively we must re-contextualize his teaching and practice of charity in a meaningful way for our time, such as understanding it as the affective and relational dimension of social justice. Charity, or its Latin root “caritas,” translates closely to our present-day notion of love. Re-contextualizing Vincent’s charity, then, presents us with a challenge rather than a concept easily dismissed. Is justice truly possible in the absence of charity? How can we channel our generosity and compassion for others into actions that communicate love and move us towards justice?

Reflecting Our Values to the World

…we are as it were a mirror for the world on which it pauses to look and easily does what we do. St. Vincent de Paul The world of Vincent de Paul seems a distant mirror to us today. Yet these words he shared with his community in 1654 are worth pondering even now. Occasionally, it is good to reflect on the way in which we live our lives. What comes to mind if you imagine yourself as a mirror to the world? How do your actions reveal the values that are important to you? What are your favorite Vincentian values? Does your work at DePaul mirror those that mean the most to you?

 

 


On Scandal. Conference of October 9, 1654, Conferences of Vincent de Paul to the Daughters of Charity

Love is Inventive to Infinity

“Love is inventive to infinity” – Vincent de Paul

In the year 1617, in Châtillon, France, the new pastor Vincent de Paul preached about a sick and impoverished family who were in need of assistance. Vincent’s appeal proved so persuasive that it led many more people to respond to the family’s needs than was necessary. In witnessing such an overwhelming response, Vincent became convinced that if good works are to be effective they need to be well organized. This incident was the catalyst that led Vincent to found conferences of charity to care for the poor and marginalized in parishes throughout France, and eventually all over the world.

Vincent’s experience in Châtillon helped him see the need to make substantial changes to the way charity was administered. In the good work being done at DePaul, how do you see ways that might help us fulfill our mission in a more sustainable or effective way?

The Gift of Community

“Oh, what a favor to be a member of a community, for each member shares in the good that is done by all.” *— Vincent de Paul

Each of us has a role to play, and something important to contribute, to the whole enterprise that is DePaul University. We recognize ourselves to be part of a community gathered together for the sake of a shared mission. Whether our role places us out front or behind the scenes, our personal success always depends to some degree on the work of others. Consider taking a moment this week to give thanks to a colleague whose work contributes to what you do every day, someone who makes your experience in this community a little brighter and more effective. *Ryan, Rybolt, eds., Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac: Rules, Conferences, and Writings (1995), 201.

The Value of Relationships

“So then, gentleness and forbearance are necessary among ourselves and for our service to the neighbor.” — Vincent de Paul (Correspondence, Conferences, Documents, 12:249)
By the end of his life, Vincent was known for his gentleness and approachability. However, these characteristics grew over time and were part of Vincent’s long, slow transformation. He spoke of being “firm and unchanging with regard to the end but gentle and humble as to the means.” (CCD, 1:290) Vincent understood that the way we interact with others can have a ripple effect on a whole network of relationships, and therefore might influence the long-term effectiveness of a mission shared with others. With this in mind, how, then, might you make such gentleness and care evident in your interactions with others this week?