A Hall of Fame Journey

Recently, while DePaul University celebrated Commencement in style—and in person—for over 4,500 students, some members of our community had their attention focused on a different celebration: the induction of DePaul women’s basketball coach Doug Bruno into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. On June 11 in Knoxville, Tennessee, Coach Bruno received the coveted Eastman Trophy and the Baron Championship Ring, signifying membership in an elite club. Surrounded by family, friends, and Blue Demon fans, he joined the likes of basketball legends Pat Summit, Geno Auriemma, and over 150 other previous inductees in being recognized for his exemplary impact—past, present, and future—on women’s basketball and on the game itself.

This milestone is a reminder that the connection between DePaul’s mission and our Athletics Department is long, deep, and uniquely personified in the journey of Coach Bruno. His relationship with DePaul began as a student athlete under the tutelage of legendary men’s basketball coach Ray Meyer (himself a Hall of Famer). Bruno was first named the head coach of the DePaul women’s basketball program in 1976, and he has led them for the past thirty-four years, twenty-five of which have seen the Blue Demons advancing to the NCAA tournament. Coach Bruno has guided teams to championships and star players to the WNBA. At the same time, he has supported his squads as they have earned the Big East Team Academic Award in nine of the last eleven seasons for having the top team GPA. He has assembled a talented coaching staff who are as dedicated as he is to team success on and off the court. His players are known for their commitment to academics, community service, and hard work. Clearly, Coach Bruno has taken Vincent de Paul’s words to heart: “Doing good isn’t everything; we have to do it well.”[1]

Vincent left us this inspiring quote, and many more, while heeding God’s call to serve the poor and to gather companions to serve with him. Despite the worthiness of this aspiration, Vincent and his followers faced grueling challenges. Toward the end of his life and with wisdom based on experience, Vincent said, “Rarely is any good done without difficulty.”[2] Experience also taught him that with faith, community, and an abundance of perseverance and constancy[3] difficulties would be overcome and his community’s goals would be attained.

Vincent probably wouldn’t have had much of value to share with Coach Bruno about the X’s and O’s of basketball. Yet Vincent’s insight about the need for faith and perseverance when meeting challenges and working toward worthy goals is just as sagacious now as it was almost 400 years ago, especially when viewed through the lens of a Hall of Fame coaching career.

Indeed, Vincent said many things in his era that seem to travel through the ages and resonate with our time. For instance, in bidding farewell to a community member, Vincent assured him that “with God’s help, you will continue to succeed in your leadership and in your duties.”[4] May the same be true for you, Coach Bruno!

Questions for reflection: Who are the “Hall of Famers” that you know at DePaul? Who are the people whose commitment to our community and whose perseverance in the face of challenges have inspired you or changed DePaul for the better? How or what could you learn from them? Is there some way you may let them know the gift they have been for you?


Reflection by: Tom Judge, Assistant Director and Chaplain, Faculty and Staff Engagement, Division of Mission and Ministry

[1] Conference 201, “Simplicity and Prudence (Common Rules, Chap. II, Art. 4 and 5),” March 14, 1659, CCD, 12:148. Available at https://via.library.depaul.edu/vincentian_ebooks/36/.

[2] Letter 1487, “To Philippe Le Vacher and Jean Barreau,” [1652], CCD, 4:361. Available at https://‌via.‌library.‌depaul.edu/‌vincentian_ebooks/29/.

[3] “God allows this to give rise to the practice of two beautiful virtues: perseverance, which leads us to attain the goal, and constancy, which helps us to overcome difficulties.” See Letter 1228, “To Guillaume Cornaire, in Le Mans,” June 15, 1650, CCD, 4:36-37.

[4] Letter 863, “To Jean Martin, in Genoa,” September 27, 1646, CCD, 3:66. Available at https://‌via.‌library.‌‌depaul.edu/‌vincentian_ebooks/28/.

The Constancy of Community

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

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

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

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

Registration for Vincentian Service Day 2022 closes on Tuesday, May 3, at 11:59 PM. For more information about participating in VSD, visit: http://serviceday.depaul.edu; or email: serviceday@depaul.edu.

Reflection by: Katie Sullivan, Program Manager, Vincentian Service and Formation, Division of Mission and Ministry

Increasing Your Impact

There is great joy to be found in working as a community of people who are dedicated to serving others; it is both humbling and inspiring to see the depth of genuine care and commitment. With so much good being done, how do we ensure it is being done well? One answer is self-care.

When we are at our best, we maximize our impact. Selflessness—putting the needs of others ahead of our own needs—seems like a virtue. But isn’t it more laudable to increase our impact by taking care of ourselves so that we are able to serve others to the best of our ability?

Self-care is not selfish, it is essential; it is not a luxury, it is a necessity. As Vincent de Paul said, “We must be full reservoirs in order to let our water spill out without becoming empty, and we must possess the spirit with which we want them to be animated, for no one can give what he does not have [emphasis added].”[1]

We are served best by a balanced and individual approach to wellness, as self-care will vary for every person. Start with eating well and getting enough hydration, sleep, and movement in your day. Layer in fresh air, human connection, creative expression, communication, learning, and reflection.

Spend some time considering what you need to be your best self, and then commit to it. If it is difficult, post reminders that taking care of yourself means you can better serve others.

What will help you be better? Read a book. Write a letter. Walk among the trees. Meditate. Sing a song. Play a game. Get enough sleep. Eat more plants. Tell a joke. Share a personal goal with a friend. Dance to a favorite song. Drink enough water. Take a yoga class. Compliment others. Compliment yourself. Go for a swim. Donate your time or money. Hike a trail. Express gratitude. Listen deeply. Watch the clouds. Ask for help. Write a poem. Learn something. Call a friend. And, maybe, exercise at The Ray!


Reflection by: Maureen McGonagle, Director of Campus Recreation and the Ray Meyer Fitness Center, and a serving DePaul Mission Ambassador

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

 

Care for Yourself: DePaul Busy Person’s Online Retreat. Week of February 21st.

Life can be exceptionally busy and overwhelming, moving at an ever-accelerating pace, leaving you wondering if you can keep up or how you can remain grounded and at peace in the midst of the constant shifts and challenges coming at you. During the week of February 21st, the DePaul Busy Person’s Retreat will offer daily 15-minute reflections, inspired by our Vincentian tradition, exploring the richness of intentional time for pause, for meditation, and silence in the midst of the noise and busy-ness. We hope that you’ll find new meaning, tools, and inspiration to anchor your life and work, to deepen your understanding of yourself and your community, and to re-connect to what brings you peace.  REGISTER NOW.

 

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