Sustaining the mission: Vincentian Heritage Tours

The entrance to the Motherhouse of the Congregation of the Mission in Paris
The entrance to the Motherhouse of the Congregation of the Mission in Paris. The Motherhouse is one of the stops made on DePaul's Vincentian Heritage Tour. (DePaul University/Jamie Moncrief)
Each year, DePaul community members have the opportunity to travel to Paris on the university’s Vincentian Heritage Tour. The trip is a chance to experience the Vincentian mission in a way unlike any other. Participants walk in the footsteps of DePaul’s namesake, St. Vincent de Paul, and his colleague St. Louise de Marillac. 

During the trip, participants explore sites in Paris and surrounding areas that hold significance within the Vincentian tradition. These visits include the Vincentian Motherhouse, where one can see the reliquary of St. Vincent’s remains; the Daughters of Charity motherhouse and the Miraculous Medal Chapel; and a trip to Folleville, where Vincent gave the first sermon of the Congregation of the Mission. These tours provide the chance to see how real the Vincentian mission was in 17th century France and how real it remains in 2019.  

“This trip is important because there’s no replacement for moments like standing in the exact spot Vincent did 400 years ago,” says Maciej Piwowarczyk, a third year student at DePaul, who went on the 2018 Student Vincentian Heritage Tour. “Those moments form strong and unique connections that can’t be mimicked by PowerPoints or videos in a classroom.” 

In addition to the personal journey of the trip, the tour serves as a meaningful opportunity for building relationships with colleagues. Prior to the trip, participants take part in a series of seminars focusing on Vincentian-themed history, spirituality, art and architecture to prepare for what they will experience in France.  

“The tour gave us a historical context for everything we do,” says José Padilla, vice president and general counsel for DePaul. “It takes us back to our religious roots and re-energizes us to give our students the education and transformation they need and deserve.” 

The goal of the tour is to inspire participants to institutionalize the mission, vision and values within their departments and communities, bringing the Vincentian voice to the decisions they make in their distinctive roles.

In addition to historical context for our work on campus, these trips aim to spark within participants the urgency to integrate the mission into their daily work so the Vincentian mission remains at the heart of DePaul. The recent "Grounded in Mission" strategic plan is rooted in this overarching goal. The University currently offers Vincentian Heritage trips for students and senior leaders each spring, for faculty and staff every other August, as well as for Board of Trustees members every four years, to help implement this goal. 

Information sessions and the application processes for the 2020 Vincentian Heritage Tours will begin this coming August. Reflections from past participants detail the impact these trips can have and how relatable the Vincentian mission is for everyone. 

Students interested in applying can find more information here. Staff/Faculty can find more information here.

If you have questions or would like more information on any of the Vincentian Heritage Tours, please contact Mike Van Dorpe at (312) 362-7166.