What would St. Vincent de Paul do?

DePaul’s Vincentian Service day is just around the corner. Soon hundred of students, alumni, faculty and staff will come together in teams and disperse throughout the city in the name of St. Vincent. Service projects will take participants to schools, parks and organizations in several different neighborhoods to try to make a difference in these communities.

As a Vincentian school, it’s not surprising that DePaul hosts this annual day of service. But besides the fact that DePaul is named after St. Vincent, what makes this day of service “Vincentian”? What does it mean that DePaul is a Vincentian university?

DePaul is one of only four Vincentian universities in the world. The others are St. Johns University in New York, Niagara University in Lewiston, N.Y., and Adamson University in Manila, Philippines. The three universities in the United States were founded in the 19th century, and Adamson University was founded in the 1930s. Each school has its own unique identity, but they all follow the Vincentian tradition of promoting service, justice, charity and advocacy. Being a “Vincentian” university means striving to instill the values held by St. Vincent de Paul in students and encourage them to follow his example.

St. Vincent de Paul dedicated his life to those in desperate need of help. He founded the Congregation of the Mission, a group of priests that devoted their lives to helping people in poverty, especially in small towns and villages. In addition, with help from St. Louise de Marillac, he founded the Daughters of Charity, which also focuses on serving the poor and sick.

Students at DePaul can continue the work of St. Vincent and St. Louise by getting involved with volunteering, particularly with the poor or less fortunate.

Daniel Junk, a senior journalism student, has been active within the DePaul Community Service Association as a coordinator for Hoops and Hopes at Kelly Hall YMCA and a member of the senior team for DCSA.

“DePaul is unique because it offers students the opportunity to volunteer in a variety of ways,” Junk said. “Whether that’s Vincentian Service Day or service immersion trips focused on service, justice, etc. (it) is very unique and Vincentian.”

Another student, freshman digital cinema student Taylor Gillen, learned what being “Vincentian” was all about when he came to DePaul for freshman orientation.

“They don’t continue to reiterate it to everyone, (but) I believe that there are plenty of avenues for students to pursue if they want to further explore Vincentian values,” Gillen said.

Since coming to DePaul, Gillen has participated in events such as the Heart Walk and Relay for Life. He also volunteers and is involved with other organizations on campus, including DePaul’s Circle K and DePaul Voices for Animals.
But being Vincentian isn’t limited to joining a service club. In fact, it’s much bigger than that.

“I think that (being Vincentian) is centered on this idea that every human has dignity, so when I think about that concept I think about it as a worldview,” Junk said. “Everyone is entitled to dignity, and to truly be Vincentian you need to understand that.”

Vincentian Service Day takes place Saturday, May 3. If you want to get involved with a service team, go to serviceday.depaul.edu to register.
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A Saint By Any Other Name

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As students at a Vincentian university, we hear the term often. But what does it actually mean? The answer may be different for different people. DePaul students sound off on what the term “Vincentian” means to them.

“(I think being Vincentian) means taking care of the environment, your society, your community and yourself. Caring for one another, being honest and embodying the values of St. Vincent DePaul.” Dan Lopez, Junior.

“For me, (being) Vincentian seems to be giving and helping out others that are in dire need of it. The act of giving rather than taking.” Tayseer Bharucha, Junior.

“Being Vincentian is not fearing the unknown and reaching out to others in an unfamiliar realm. In doing this we build a foundation of networks and unforeseen circumstances that broaden our views and outlooks on life.” Clare Edlund, Junior

“I think having Vincentian values means taking responsibility for your life and your impact on those around you. It means that you do what you want but always consider the consequences of your actions. Vincentian values means responsibility, thoughtfulness and compassion.” Alex McCarten-Gibbs, Junior

“A Vincentian student should be one that strives to serve the needs of the community. He or she should serve because it is necessary for a thriving, prosperous city, not because someone tells you to.” Taylor Gillen, Freshman

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In the time of St. Vincent

Vincent de Paul remains with DePaul today in name, but his life and his world are far from the reality of Chicago in 2014. Here’s what was going on in the life and times of Vinny almost 450 years ago.

April 24, 1581 – Vincent de Paul is born in Gascony, France

1581 – The Gregorian Calendar is issued

1600 – St. Vincent is ordained a priest

1600 – Shakespeare publishes “Hamlet”

1605 – St. Vincent is captured by pirates at sea and auctioned off as slave

1605 – Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote is published

1607 – St. Vincent was gains freedom from slavery

1607 – The first permanent English colony on the American mainland – Jamestown, Va. – is established

1609 – Vincent finishes his studies in Rome

1610 – Galileo sees the moons of Jupiter through his telescope

1617 – Vincent starts organizing works for charity

1620 – Pilgrims come to America on the Mayflower to Plymouth Rock

1626 – Vincent founds the Congregation of the Mission

1630 – The city of Boston is founded

1633 – Vincent founds the Daughters of Charity with St. Louise de Marillac

1636 – Harvard University is founded as one of the first universities in the United States

Sept. 27, 1660 – Vincent dies in Paris

1729 – Vincent beatified by Pope Benedict XIII

1729 – Benjamin Franklin begins publishing the Pennsylvania Gazette

1737 – St. Vincent is canonized as a saint by Pope Clement XII