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400 Years and It Seems like Yesterday – Vincent’s hat

For us, 2017 is the year of the charism.  Unlike other founders, Vincent de Paul did not have visions or receive messages from on high.  At two key moments in his life the Holy Spirit surprised Vincent and made him question himself with regard to two different forms of poverty: people are dying of hunger and… people are condemned because they do not know the truths necessary for salvation.  Thus, there was a hunger for the Word and a hunger for food … both of which result in a twofold death: death of the body and death of the soul.

After the failures that occurred during the first decade of his priestly ministry (failures that were revealed in the letter that he wrote to his mother and spoke about an honorable retirement which would allow him to spend the rest of his life with her [cf. CCD:I:15-16]), Vincent began to discover a new meaning in his life as a result of his charitable activity on behalf of the poor.  Folleville and Châtillon were the crossroads where Vincent encountered God.  After those events, Vincent became involved in a mission that gave meaning and direction to his life … and, as members of the Vincentian Family, gives meaning to our lives.

At the beginning of this Holy Year, this Charismatic Year … or perhaps it is better to say at the beginning of this Jubilee Year, Father Tomaž Mavrič, CM, superior general, mindful of the suggestion of an individual confrere (namely, Father Luiggi Mezzadri), decided to continue to communicate with all the members of the Vincentian Family through short video messages that are easily accessible in the various social media.

He will begin with some reflections on Vincent’s cape, hat and shoes which from the time of the French Revolution have been preserved in the Mission House in Turin (Italy).  With these relics in his hand Father reminds us that the Vincentian charism touches each one of us in an intimate manner.  We are called to look at the rock from which [we] were hewn, the pit from which [we] were quarried (Isaiah 51:1).  Other messages will follow on other themes and developed in various places: Folleville, Châtillon, Château-l’Eveque, Dax … and other places that have been significant with regard to the mission and charity and that have continued to impact the charism.

Initially, these messages will be available in eight languages: Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, Slovenian and Slovak … we also want to make these messages available in other languages and dialects.

This work has been entrusted to Piotr Dziubak, a film-maker who has produced various important documentaries, for example, De Gasperi-mio padre; Santo subito.  Alle perferie del mondo con Giovanni Paolo II; Liszt; Das Fenster zur Welt – 50 Jahre Zweites Vatikanisches Konzil.

This work begins today and will continue with short messages that can be developed from the perspective and the experience of the different branches.  In this way, we will be able to give witness to the world that the Vincent charism is alive and active.

Translated: Charles T. Plock, CM