Vincent de Paul had a profound impact during his lifetime, creating systems that live on today. His pragmatic approach began at Chatillon, a village where he served as parish priest. There, he learned of a poor, sick family. He preached about the family during Mass. Later, he went to visit them. Along the way, he encountered many people carrying meals to the family. Upon seeing this over-abundance of food that would surely spoil, Vincent remarked, "There is great charity, but it is badly organized."
Within days, Vincent took a risk and invited several wealthy women to organize themselves into the first "Confraternity of Charity." He drew up a plan for them to divide the responsibility for caring for the family. Known today as the "Ladies of Charity," this organization is part of the more than 250 organizations worldwide inspired by Vincent de Paul and his commitment to organizing people and resources to feed, clothe and house people in need.
- Commitment: Staying involved with a task until it is finished, seeking to inspire others through the example of service
- Collaboration: Promoting teamwork and collaboration, accepting people with different ideas and personalities
- Ethics: Treating others with respect and dignity, maintaining high ethical standards, basing judgments on facts
That's Vincentian leadership.
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Vincent and You
As someone who dreams of making a difference in the world, you share in Vincent's legacy. How might you join with the thousands of others worldwide who today continue to make a difference in the lives of the poor as he did? What specific, small step – perhaps even a risk – would get you started?