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.


DePaul Community: Show Us the Way of Wisdom

“Go, learn how to free yourself and to be open to God’s will; let that be your lesson.” 205, Indifference, 16 May 1659, CCD, 12:197.

How long does it take for people to really learn something? To gain not just knowledge, but true wisdom? Does it happen in an instant? Or, does it require a lifetime?

How about six weeks? That’s the length of time it’s been since DePaul University closed its campuses in response to the coronavirus, and since our governor ordered everyone to stay at home for everything except essential activities. We have all been challenged by this global pandemic that threatens our health, forces us to stay socially distant, and upends so many of our daily routines. Have these circumstances taught us anything? Are there lessons to be learned from the many feelings—whether anxiety or boredom, loneliness, frustration, fear, or gratitude—we may have experienced at any given moment during this past month-and-a-half?

Vincent de Paul, no stranger to adversity and challenge, once told a group of his followers: “Go, learn how to free yourself and to be open to God’s will; let that be your lesson.” (CCD, 12:197)

Now is a good time to pause and heed Vincent’s counsel. Just for a moment, take a step back, free your mind, and ask “what lessons have emerged for me as a result of this trial? What truth am I being called to recognize?” If you listen to yourself, the answers to these questions will arise from within. And, they’ll be worth remembering long after this crisis passes.

We want to learn from you. If you are willing, please share the wisdom you may have gained in your experience of the coronavirus pandemic. Mission and Ministry will compile the responses we receive and share them with our university community. Thank you.

Reflection by:  Tom Judge, Chaplain for Faculty/Staff Engagement, Mission and Ministry

Connection Café: What’s in your COVID Journal?

Join us to share the wisdom you have gained and to listen and learn from others.

Wednesday, 4/29, 3:30-4:15 pm

For DePaul’s faculty/staff writers, poets, prayers, and thinkers of any level. What are you reflecting on, learning, and discovering while hunkering down and adapting your routines and lifestyle? Join us to hear the thoughts of your colleagues, and to share some of your own insights on what you may have discovered during this time. To register: