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Have you said, “I’m done with this virus?”

First there was COVID-19. Then there were all the mutations that have appeared. Each reminds us that COVID and its variations are not done with us.

I found myself thinking about the Vincentian charism as a movment spreading widely.

I see some Covid connections with another, more benign virusthe Vincentian Virus. COVID19  Is both similar to and very different from the Vincentian Virus.

In this Vincentian Mindwalk I explore the Vincentian movement as a desirable virus that continues to spread… hopefully infecting even more people.

How are they similar? different?

Both COVID and the Vincentian Virus

  • have the power to change the world as we know it
  • can infect indiscriminately – rich and poor, male and female, young and old
  • spread by social contact
  • have a history of mutating strains
  • are contagious via close contact
  • can be mitigated by social distancing, etc.
  • often hide quietly in people
  • change the host
  • have a variety of symptoms

The Vincentian Virus is different from Covid and its variations

The Vincentian Virus, unlike COVID, is

  • Good News” especially for those on the margins
  • gospel-driven and focuses on the well-being of others. It is not focused on self-perpetuation and reproduction.
  • is deeply rooted in the imitation of Christ who came to serve, not to be served.

Unless you live “off the grid”, you know there is still controversy over who was Covid’s “patient zero!”.

Fortunately, we know much more about the Vincentian “patient zero”. The clear and immediate answer is a man named Vincent.

St. Vincent was “patient zero”.

  • In his mid-thirties, Vincent was infected by reading the Good News of Jesus Christ. He encountered in the pages of Scripture.
  • He spent the rest of his life committed to spreading this Good News by word of mouth and action.
  • Vincent instinctively knew that all people were called to be and spread the Good News
  • He was amazed at the end of his life at the power and potential of the Good News

Other things we know.

We know where and how he contracted the virus. He contracted the virus in two small 17th century villages Follevile and Chatillon. There he began to recognize two strains of poverty – spiritual and material. He spent the rest of his life working for their eradication.

We also know of variants (branches) that have developed over the course of 400 years. Some variants have died out. Others are only now coming into existence. Today there are literally millions of people who carry this virus

Vincent’s way of spreading the virus of Good news

The Vincentian Virus he unleashed has

  • the power to change not only his life but the face of his France
  • lasted over 400 years
  • mutated to some 200 strains or branches today
  • infected some 4 million people in over 150 countries

Who are these people?

Vincent’s way of creating and spreading this movement

Vincent

  • lived a life characterized by 5 attractive values or virtues.
  • had close contact with those who were poor.
  • identified key clusters of those interested in living the Good News.
  • attracted “influencers” drawn from the Clergy and the previously unrecognized resources of laypeople and especially women.
  • inspired all to embrace the mission of Jesus Christ, Evangelizer of the Poor.
  • developed key support structures for some initial clusters – Confraternities of Charity, Congregation of the Mission, the Daughters of Charity and the Tuesday Conference (which were much more than gatherings on Tuesday evenings but an expression of a commitment to a way of life…

After Vincent,,,

Hopefully we are not done with the Vincentian Virus!

  • Do others know we are Vincentian by the way we live as Good News?
  • Do our lives spread this virus by contact?

Click below for an early audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk

Vincentian Family – Mutating Virus?
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