The Power of Story
In the Vincentian family, the practice of learning and sharing people’s stories is sacred. Vincent, Louise, and all the legacy figures who came after them made a conscious effort to see those whom society made invisible. They started a quiet revolution by taking the time to see them and uplift their dignity. They centered the voices of those who were silenced by unjust systems and rooted their ministry in the simple question, “What do you need?”
To make a person feel seen and valued is to make a person feel human. By working with those we serve rather than working for them, we uphold human dignity and build mutual relationships. Vincent and Louise collaborated with those they served to give them the tools to fulfill their human potential.
The stories in our community matter, especially the voices that are ignored. It’s also important to continue to listen to and learn the stories of our Vincentian family members. Fr. Dennis Holtschneider, CM reflects in a keynote address to the Vincentian Family:
…when we read Elizabeth Ann’s life, or Louise’ correspondence, or the wisdom of Frederic Ozanam, it’s important to see them as flesh-and-blood real human beings. Not some idealized figures in an idealized history. Vincent and his contemporaries had to figure it out on their own. They didn’t have a model to copy. Those who came after Vincent had to figure it out on their own too, because the world changed and they had to figure out how to serve the poor in their times and countries.
We study the past not to copy, but to take heart from it, and to bring the values and purposes forward into a new time and place. We too have to figure it out for this time and place, but we are now part of the story. That’s what Vincent understood. He was continuing the love of Christ for the poor, and wanted us to do the same. We are continuing the Lord’s and Vincent’s service. We are part of the story now. Someday, they’ll study what we did in our time. We’ll be part of this history.
14 East Magazine contributes to the history at DePaul in a powerful way. During Spring 2019, when DePaul quickly went remote due to COVID-19 pandemic, 14 East Magazine staff saw a need to create an accessible way for students to stay up-to-date on the most important news. They created a new weekly newsletter about how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting the DePaul community and how students, faculty and staff are coping with university changes. Through the DePaul COVID-10 Updates newsletter, these DePaul students continue to put into practice the power of using gifts and talents to contribute to a community and respond to ever changing needs. To sign up for the newsletter go to https://depaulcovid19updates.substack.com/