On January 25, 1617, what we call “the first sermon of the Mission,” took place by St. Vincent de Paul in Folleville: “the confession of a dying peasant, in Gannes, who publicly proclaimed his joy, and the immediate success of the sermon in Folleville, make Saint Vincent aware of the the moral misery of country people. This first sermon is followed by a series of other in the lands of the Gondi, with similar success.”
Another event during that year enlightened St. Vincent about what his way in the coming years would be: in Chatillon, in the region of Dombes, “he is made aware of a sick family. He heartfully talks about them from the pulpit. From that call made from the pulpit, a crowd of people go, in pious anarchy, to bring relief to the unfortunate family. This procession of good will is a revelation for St. Vincent: charity, to be a fire that lasts, must be organized.” This event marks the birth of the first institution created by St. Vincent de Paul: the Charities, known nowadays as “International Association of Charities” (IAC).
The Vincentian Family is preparing to celebrate this event. The theme chosen for the occasion, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me…,” brings us closer to one of the most beloved Gospel passages by Vincentians: Matthew 25.
2017 is especially significant for our Vincentian Family. It also marks the end of the Year of Collaboration, issuing a call to action and inviting us to discover concrete ways to reach out to the strangers in our midst. It also connects us more deeply with the Universal Church, which under the guidance of Pope Francis, is celebrating the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
We will live, without a doubt, a year of deep spiritual renewal and going back to our charism roots. On the Monday after Easter, we will publish the first official notice thereof, and will present the logo chosen for the occasion, as well as some calls for action for 2017 to all members and branches of the Vincentian Family.