It is the 400th anniversary of the Vincentian charism.
On January 25, 1617, the young priest, Vincent de Paul, preached his first mission sermon in the small chapel of Folleville in France. This small church still stands today. It was a small village then yet hundreds came to confession that day so much so that they had to invite the Jesuits in a nearby town of Amiens – now a big city – in order to help him. The event came to be known as the “stampede to the confessional.” That was the beginning of the work of Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian Priests and Brothers) “to go to the peripheries,” to borrow the now famous word of Pope Francis. While most priests then preferred to live in the cities, Vincent wanted his priests to go to the rural areas where the poor are to bring them the Good News of Jesus. Long before, Vincent already realized that the church should be a Church of the poor, with the poor and among the poor. And its ministers, if their lives are to be meaningful, are people whose hearts find their home among the margins.
Later in the same year, on 21 August 2017, another crucial event happened. Vincent was a pastor of a small parish in Chatillon-les-Dombes. On Sunday morning before the Mass, a parishioner came to inform him that a whole family was sick some kilometres from the church. Vincent set aside his prepared homily and preached about the need to help them. After the Mass, many parishioners came to the rescue of the sick family. The event was dubbed as the “stampede to the house of the poor.” Vincent realized that “charity” to be sustainable should be organized and systemic.
These are the two founding events of the Vincentian family to which we all belong. We hope to organize activities in order to commemorate not only these past events but more importantly how the Vincentian charism plays itself out in our times according to the original spirit of Vincent de Paul.
400 years of our Vincentian Charism
During 2017 we will celebrate throughout the entire Vincentian Family around the world the 400th anniversary of the birth of our Vincentian charism.
But what do we mean by the word charism?
and What do we mean by the Vincentian Family?
A charism is a gift of the Holy Spirit, given to an individual,through which a particular aspect of Jesus is personally experienced and lived, then it is transmitted to others to be lived by them, preserved,deepened
and constantly developed in them, in harmony with the Body of Christ continually in a process of growth.”
A charism is a mystery – a dynamic creative, penetrating mystery. It endures in its essence and its spirit, but its expressions and its structures can and should change. It is contagious in those who share in the initial inspiration and passion.It unfolds as time goes by, sometimes confidently, sometimes hesitantly, without losing any of its original inspiration.
Its permanence is only possible through the dynamic fidelity of those who receive it, It doesn’t live on automatically by hanging on to past devotions or activities,nor by people merely living and working together.
It survives and thrives when other people catch the same vision and burn with the same fire……..people just like you at De Paul House a whole world away from 17th Century France!!!
From Sr Jo Ann who was so very much involved with De Paul House in her role as Administrator on behalf of the Daughters of Charity. 13th April 2017