Saint Vincent de Paul: From Memory to Commitment

Vincent de Paul’s spirituality is not a spirituality of the academy but of life. Johann Baptist Metz, a German theologian, was the first one to talk about “the spirituality of open eyes.” According to him, “the experience of God biblically inspired is not a perception uniquely related to oneself but rather a perception vividly intensified by the pain and suffering of others.”[1] This is the spirituality of Saint Vincent de Paul whose memory we are celebrating today. Vincent was a man of faith whose eyes were wide open.

Looking was what saved him. When Vincent decided to open his eyes, his humanity and the purpose of his life were redefined. This progressive conversion of our founder gradually defined his spiritual maturity. “The poor, who do not know where to go or what to do, who are suffering already and who increase daily, are my burden and my sorrow.”[2] His many experiences with the poor shook him with great force, opened his eyes, and molded his spirituality. They led him to read history as a mediation of God continually revealing His will to us.

A prominent turn in contemporary theology has involved the call for a renewed relationship between Christian spirituality, sociopolitical factors, and environmental concerns. At DePaul University we feel that this is a challenge we cannot avoid. Our understanding of Catholic and Vincentian traditions must be informed by opening our eyes to the societal challenges made plain in our university Mission Statement. Catholic Higher Education is being invited from the heart of the Catholic Church to become an effective tool for social transformation, social mobility, sustainability, nonviolence, racial equity, and justice.[3]

“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.”[4] Our continuous commitment is grounded in our understanding of the Vincentian Spirit, and on facing the challenges and opportunities of our contemporary world. Education is a human right currently denied to most members of our human family. It is a fundamental resource necessary for individuals and communities to thrive. Access to education and equity is an ongoing struggle, recently made evident by our concerns, our fears, and our prayers for the women of Afghanistan.

Today, I invite the DePaul community to celebrate Saint Vincent de Paul by continuing our move from memory to commitment. To embrace a spirituality of open eyes, as Vincent did, we need to dare to see, to hear, and to boldly interpret the signs of the times. This must be done personally, communally, and socially. In listening to the cries of our earth itself and the cries from across our planet of all those suffering exclusion and discrimination, we should understand that God is calling us.

HAPPY FEAST DAY DEAR DEPAUL COMMUNITY!

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

Please join DePaul colleagues for the Annual Vincentian Feast Day Mass and Lunch at both campuses today, Monday September 27th at 12 Noon, in the Miraculous Medal Chapel (Loop – 1st floor Lewis building) and the St. Louise de Marillac Chapel (LPC 1st floor Student Center). Lunch to follow masses at both campuses. All are welcome!


[1] Matthew T. Eggemeier, “A Mysticism of Open Eyes: Compassion for a Suffering World and the Askesis of Contemplative Prayer,” Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality 12:1 (2012): 43-62. See: researchgate.net.

[2] Letter 1143, To Rene Almeras, Superior, In Rome, 8 October 1649, CCD, 3:492.

[3] Francis, Global Compact on Education, 15 October 2020. See: vatican.va.

[4] DePaul University Mission Statement, March 2021. See: mission statement.

The Enduring Spirit of DePaul’s Mission

“Let’s take renewed resolutions to acquire this spirit, which is our spirit; for the spirit of the mission is a spirit of simplicity, humility, gentleness, mortification, and zeal. Do we have it or don’t we?”[1]

In 1659, Vincent invited his community to reflect upon the distinguishing characteristics, core values, and commitments of the Vincentian mission and to recommit to the essence of its spirit. Vincent understood the importance of reflecting on our actions to inform our understanding of the present, as well as to better craft the evolving future.

The seeds of DePaul’s mission were planted in seventeenth-century France and our heritage begins there. Yet, to paraphrase Vincent, even in these early days he challenged his community to discern “do we have the Vincentian Spirit or don’t we?”

Today, centuries later, each of us is invited to reflect upon similar questions. In what ways is the Vincentian Spirit manifest in our work and community? Where is it lacking? How are we interpreting the spirit of the mission for the reality of DePaul University’s present and the reality of its tomorrow?

In 2020-2021, for the first time in 35 years, DePaul engaged 600 community members in a ten-month-long participatory process to reflect upon who we are and whom we dream of becoming. Our updated mission statement is the result of this inclusive and communal process. Drawing on the same spirit as Vincent, it expresses the university’s current reality, reflects our shared values, and articulates our evolving hopes and common dreams.

Over the next seven days, we invite you to participate in the annual St. Vincent de Paul Heritage Week. In attending one or more of an array of mission-focused events, you will have the opportunity to celebrate our Vincentian Heritage, reflect upon the mission in today’s context, and examine its dynamic, unfolding meaning at both a personal and professional level.

We look forward to welcoming you and celebrating at one or more of these events. Registration information for the week can be found here.


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

[1] Conference 211, The Five Characteristic Virtues (Common Rules, Chap. II, Art. 14), 22 August 1659, CCD, 12:251.

Vincent de Paul Heritage Week 2021

What Must Be Done to Confront Global Homelessness?
Wednesday, September 22 (11:30 am – 12:45 pm)
Student Center 120 A & B

Launching St. Vincent de Paul Heritage Week, faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend a special luncheon on September 22 discussing the questions: “What must be done to confront global homelessness?” How can we better see the problem and advocate for justice? What concrete steps can we take today as we seek a world where everyone has a stake in their community and a place to call home?

Following opening remarks by Fr. Memo Campuzano, C.M., the panel will feature leading experts from two Vincentian organizations at the forefront of the movement to engage with these questions—FamVin Homeless Alliance and Ruff Institute of Global Homelessness.

  • Mark McGreevy OBE, Group CEO Depaul International and Founder – Institute of Global Homelessness at DePaul University
  • Lydia Stazen, Director, Ruff Institute of Global Homelessness
  • Yasmine Cajuste, Project Development Manager for FamVin Homeless Alliance

A vibrant Q&A will follow the panel. We hope you can join us for this discussion in honor of St. Vincent’s Feast Day as part of the St. Vincent de Paul Heritage Week!

Please register here.

St. Vincent de Paul Prayer Breakfast
Vincent: A Man of Possibility and Hope

Friday, September 24 (8:30 – 10:00 am)
Student Center 120 A & B

The St. Vincent de Paul Prayer Breakfast invites DePaul colleagues, students and friends to pause and reflect on St. Vincent, the namesake of our university and his rich legacy as it is lived out today.

During his lifetime, St. Vincent endured great hardship, and found ways of not only enduring but also overcoming challenges by finding hope and embracing possibility. Even when things seemed insurmountable, he found the strength to move forward. How? What can we learn from his legacy? Is it possible to find moments of goodness, joy, and even gratitude in difficult times?

Come join us for breakfast with keynote speaker Darryl Arrington, Assistant Vice President of DePaul’s Center for Access and Attainment, who will help us explore such questions.

Breakfast will begin at 8:30 am, with the keynote to follow. We hope you can join us!

Register here

Vinny Fest
Friday, September 24 (2pm – 4pm)
Lincoln Park Quad & St. Vincent’s Circle

Students, join us for Vinny Fest 2021, a DePaul tradition to honor and celebrate St. Vincent de Paul’s legacy with fun, games, photos with Vincent, free food, and more! Vinny Fest features student organizations, offices, and departments as they host engaging activities to celebrate our mission in action as a DePaul community. Follow @mmatmdepaul on our socials to stay up to date.

DeHub Link: https://cglink.me/2cC/r14404 | DeHub Partner Registration Link: https://cglink.me/2cC/s1110

Sunday Night Mass & BBQ
Sunday, September 26, 6pm
St. Vincent de Paul Parish

Join Catholic Campus Ministry and St. Vincent de Paul Parish for a (free) BBQ on the Parish Lawn (on Webster Ave.) to celebrate the Feast Day at 6pm, followed by a festive Sunday Night Mass at 8pm.

Whether you go to Mass weekly, once in a while, or have never been to a Catholic Mass, you are welcome here! Come celebrate!

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/902946456973517

Feast Day Mass
Monday, September 27, 12:00 pm
Lincoln Park & Loop Campuses

For those wishing to attend Mass celebrating St. Vincent de Paul’s Feast Day, services will be held in the Loop on the 11th floor gallery, and in Lincoln Park in the St. Louise de Marillac chapel.

Feast Day Lunch
Monday, September 27, 12:45 pm
Lincoln Park & Loop Campuses

Celebrate our namesake’s Feast Day with a celebratory lunch at 12:45 pm. Everyone is welcome!
–In the Loop, join us on the 11th floor terrace in the DePaul Center. RSVP here for the Loop lunch.
–For the lunch in Lincoln Park, no need to register, just come to Catholic Campus Ministry.

Vincent de Paul Heritage Week


Vinny Fest 2020 Kick-Off Video
Monday, September 21 | 10 am
View on Instagram & Facebook @mmatmdepaul

To keep everyone safe and healthy this year, Vinny Fest is going virtual! A DePaul tradition to honor and celebrate Vincent de Paul’s legacy, Vinny Fest 2020 will feature 20+ DePaul partner events throughout St. Vincent de Paul Heritage Week. Watch our video on Monday morning to learn how to participate in all the fun! 

Faculty & Staff ‘Lunch with Vincent’
Tuesday, September 22 | 12:00 – 1:00 pm
Faculty and Staff register here: https://conta.cc/32xRv6P

The focus of DePaul’s 2020-21 Lunch with Vincent program for faculty and staff will be the Vincentian mission, diversity and anti-racism. President A. Gabriel Esteban and Cynthia Pickett, DePaul’s associate provost for diversity, equity and inclusion, are the event’s featured speakers.

Vinterfaith: Perspectives on the Vincentian Mission
Tuesday, September 22 | 3:00 – 4:00 pm
Livestream on YouTube @depaulmissionandministry

St. Vincent is a Catholic Christian saint who lived in 17th century France.  What does it mean for people of diverse backgrounds and worldviews, including many who are not Catholic to identify themselves as “Vincentian”?  Hear short perspectives from our interfaith scholars and staff members on how they engage with Vincentian heritage and identify role models in their own traditions who live(d) out similar values and ideals. 

Cafecito con Tepeyac
Wednesday, September 23 | 3:00 – 4:00 pm
Join us on Zoom: https://depaul.zoom.us/j/98791822188

DePaul’s Latinx student group will host a special ‘Cafecito con Tepeyac’ with Meet Me at The Mission as we explore our Vincentian cultura together! All students welcome!

St. Vincent de Paul Feast Day Prayer Breakfast
Friday, September 25 | 9:00 – 10:00 am
Register for Zoom Event: https://conta.cc/35DiIXB

The St. Vincent de Paul Feast Day Prayer Breakfast invites us to join together with DePaul colleagues, students, and friends to pause and reflect on St. Vincent, the namesake of our university and his rich legacy as it is lived out today.  Bring a cup of coffee and your favorite breakfast nibbles and come listen to Fr. Guillermo Campuzano, CM (Fr. Memo) as we contemplate where we have been and where we are going as a “community, gathered together for the sake of a mission.” 

Vincentian Family Celebration
Sunday, September 27 | 2:00 – 2:45 pm
Livestream on YouTube @GenVerdeOfficial

A virtual celebration in collaboration with Vincentian universities across the globe. The event is an online concert where a new song about St. Vincent will be unveiled.

Feast Day Mass
Sunday, September 27 | 8:00 pm
St. Vincent de Paul Parish (in-person)
1010 W. Webster Ave.
Livestream on Facebook @depaulccm

A special liturgy will be celebrated in honor of the Feast Day of St. Vincent de Paul. Mass will be held in-person and livestreamed. Vice President of Mission & Ministry, Fr. Memo Campuzano, CM, will preside.