Some months ago I was invited to join a group in an effort to “design” and, as it turns out, to make happen a program for men and women living and working today with people who are poor. Our team was composed of educators and specialists largely from Universities founded by Vincentians — United States, Ireland, the Philippines. With all our differences we soon discovered some very important things in common — one is , admiration of and devotion to people like Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac, Rosalie Rendu, Frederic Ozanam and the other is our conviction that that connection with our founders could be transformative, moving us to become today more like them… and much effective than we are at present. One key focus generated by these convictions has been the desire to develop ways and skills on how to collaborate with each other — to move beyond self interest, to transcend political and cultural barriers, to make better use of our family branches in transforming the lives of those living in poverty, After over two years of mutual listening and dreaming, of planning and designing one short week with ambitious goals, of encouraging and assisting Vincentian Family members to travel to Paris from all over the world… we are finally here! And ready to work!
The VFCAP intentions arise out of five “modules” with clear outcomes for each:
Module 1 : Because a Vincentian is a Visionary…we must have a re-awakening. We will re-awaken in our hearts the vision that animated our founders and this vision is to be incarnated in us;
Module 2 : Because a Vincentian is a Contemplator…we must be re-rooted. We will be re-rooted tin our relationship with God to be effective servants of the poor;
Module 3: Because a Vincentian is a Collaborator…we must re-discover the power of collaboration as the only way to effect systemic change;
Module 4: Because a Vincentian is a Catalyst…we must re-ignite our passion to be catalysts for change;
Module 5; Because a Vincentian is a Servant…we must re-imagine ourselves in our ministerial roles so as to be energized in our service to the poor.
Please pray with us — especially during these days, one of the prayers that we recite together each day before our work sessions:
Lord Jesus, you who willed to become poor, give us eyes and a heart directed toward the poor, help us to recognized You in them, in their thirst, their hunger, their loneliness, and their misfortune. Enkindle within our Vincentian Family unity, simplicity, humility and the fire of love that burned in Saints Vincent & Louise. Strengthen us, so that, faithful to the practice of these virtues, we may contemplate you and serve you in the person of the poor, and may one day be united with you and them in you Kingdom. Amen