Over its 400-year history, the Vincentian Family has been no stranger to uncertain times. When Saint Vincent’s confrères—scattered, hiding, and hunted in Revolutionary France—faced the loss of their fellow priests, ministries, and motherhouse of Saint-Lazare, they leaned into uncertain and dangerous times, trusting in one another and in the Spirit. Today, we at DePaul University face uncertain times. The summer brought record heat, drought, wildfires, and rains across the globe. In the United States, as in many other parts of the world, economic disparities have left billions of people locked within dehumanizing poverty. The emergence of Artificial Intelligence portends seismic changes in higher education, numerous industries, and most aspects of our personal lives. What must be done?
As we move forward with Designing DePaul, we have an opportunity to help shape the future during uncertain times by responding to Pope Francis’ call in Laudate Deum “… to accompany this pilgrimage of reconciliation with the world.”
Our Vincentian Family is called to respond to these and other challenges with vision and a commitment to equity, sustainability, and nonviolence. And we at DePaul University are uniquely situated to respond. We are rooted in the global city of Chicago. Our faculty, students, and staff represent countries and cultures from across the globe. Our alumni and community partners, situated in places near and far, are engaged in perhaps every conceivable industry. We are a global community, gathered for the sake of the mission, alive in this moment of history to respond to the signs of the times.
As you move through today’s uncertainty, consider how your experiences and gifts can help to shape a more hopeful future. What personal commitments can you implement in your daily life? What institutional changes will you advocate for alongside colleagues? What societal shifts can DePaul University contribute to in solidarity with our global community?
Reflection by: Rubén Álvarez Silva, M.Ed. (He, Him, His), Director for Just DePaul, Division of Mission and Ministry
 Pope Francis, Laudate Deum, 4 October 2023. See: https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/20231004-laudate-deum.html.