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.


Take Care of Yourself!

I have never felt the pressing need for self-care more than I do right now. Occasionally, I find myself ruminating on the state of the world. Over six months of the Covid-19 pandemic with no immediate end in sight. Urgent social justice and human rights issues in our community and country which call us to face hard truths and work for change. A bitter national election entering its final stages. All in addition to the “usual” professional and personal demands that, on their own, seem just enough for the average plate to hold. All told, this is a lot.  Why is it, then, that in the face of such challenges we often forget to treat ourselves with added care and compassion?

I am not sure, but perhaps if the instructions to do so came directly from Vincent de Paul or Louise de Marillac, we might be more mindful of the practice of self-care. To be sure, this was an instruction Vincent and Louise gave many times over, as seen in their voluminous correspondence. We witness Vincent urging a priest in his community, “Please do all in your power to stay well, Monsieur, and to take better care of yourself than you have done.”1 And, writing to a Daughter of Charity, Louise was even more succinct, “Take care of yourself, for the love of God…” she implored her.2

To borrow a contemporary phrase, Vincent and Louise were “creating space” for their community members to recognize their limitations and attend to their needs. Undoubtedly, they were motivated by genuine concern for them, but Vincent and Louise also knew that unless a person takes care of themselves, they will be in no position to take care of others. And, caring for others—especially the sick, the orphaned, the marginalized and poor—has been the mission of Vincentian communities since their beginnings.

For some of us, taking time for self-care may never be easy. But, it is so important! Maybe realizing the connection between our own self-care and how it affects our ability to care for others will help. Or maybe simply remembering that our patrons, Vincent and Louise, believed in self-care will be enough to make us believe in its importance, too.

Sit for a few moments in peace and quiet and ask yourself how, if at all, you may be feeling depleted? What can you do to replenish yourself? Acts of self-care may be big, or they may be small. How might you be called, in big ways or small, to care for yourself these days?


1 2905, To Louis Rivet, Superior, In Saintes, 13 July 1659, CCD, 8:31.

2 L.58B, To Sister Élisabeth Martin, 7 August (1641), Spiritual Writings, 56.

Reflection by: Tom Judge, Chaplain, Mission and Ministry


Have you shared your input on the Review of the DePaul Mission Statement?

During the current academic year, the Mission Committee of the Board of Trustees is undergoing a formal review of the statement. DePaul faculty, staff, students and alumni are encouraged to participate by sharing their input related to their understanding of DePaul’s mission, how it is reflected in the existing mission statement, and lived in practice. Please take a moment to provide your feedback through this survey.