Do you speak Vincentian?


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What do we mean when we use terms such as "charism" or "evangelized by the poor" — or even the very word "Vincentian" itself? Without realizing it, we often use words that are not readily understood outside of our circles. For example, we take for granted that people understand what we mean by "charism", "evangelized by the poor", "Double Family", "formators", etc. At other times, we do not realize that the same word means different things in different branches of the Vincentian Family.

For example, when a member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul uses the word "Vincentian", it refers to members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, whereas when a member of the Congregation of the Mission uses the word, it most likely refers to a vowed member of the Congregation of the Mission. Even the phrase "Vincentian Family" has a number of meanings ranging from strictly canonical to figurative.

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Do you speak Vincentian?

  1. 1. Do you speak Vincentian? Today we emphasize a new methodology that is adapted to the person of the oppressed, where the educator and those being educated learn mutually, where teachers not only evangelize but are evangelized by the poor. Contemporary documents note that persons must not only be the objects of formation, they must be subjects within the formation process. "Some Qualities of a Good Formator" by Robert P. Maloney, C.M. Superior General in VINCENTIANA 9.VII.2002 Today, as in St. Vincent's time, humility means that we recognize our creatureliness and our redeemedness, both being gifts of God's love. It shows itself in our gratitude for gifts, seeing all things as grace. Humility is concretized in the missionary's development of a "servant's attitude," a willingness to undertake even menial tasks in the service of the poor. It is also manifested in our willingness to be evangelized by the poor, "our lords and masters," as St. Vincent put it. Maloney, R. VINCENTIANA 1997-03-06 “Being Evangelized by the Poor”
  2. 2. Do you speak Vincentian? There is no one common name for members of Vincentian family worldwide; it differs by continent, country and language. The first common name for the Congregation of the Mission was Lazarists. This nickname came after the Maison Saint-Lazare, the first community house in Paris. Today's “Gare St. Lazare”, an important railway station in Paris, holds its name after the Congregation's house, too. The name Lazarist/Lazarists is still used in European and French-speaking countries. In United States and other English-speaking countries, the name Vincentian/Vincentians came about. Because of the popularity of the English language, this name is used more and more worldwide. In Spanish language oriented countries members of the Congregation are commonly named "Paules" or "Vicentinos". In certain countries, like Poland, the name "Lazarists" was used for decades. Nowadays Congregation members are called Misjonarze (pronounced mee-syo-na- ze) after the Congregation's main goal: popular missions. Common names - Congregation of the Mission
  3. 3. Do you speak Vincentian? The Conference is the basic unit of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and this is where the strength of the Society lies. Each Conference member needs to value the special "treasure," the "pearl of great price," that each one has as a Society member. Each needs to share it with others because a potential member's happiness (now and eternal) depends on it. As understood by members of the Congregation of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity: A name for talks given by St. Vincent de Paul, and, by extension, anyone speaking to a group of people on a spiritual topic. Conference
  4. 4. Do you speak Vincentian? A period of preparation of a candidate seeking to be admitted to a religious community, as a first step in formation to take vows in the Congregation of the Mission or the Daughters of Charity. In many other orders and congregations this period is called the Novitiate. In some provinces the name “Seminarium Internum” is commonly used. Generally, it lasts 12 months. Internal Seminary
  5. 5. Do you speak Vincentian? The general definition of "motherhouse" is: the convent in which the mother superior of a religious community lives. Another definition is: the original convent of a religious community. In the Congregation of the Mission founded by Vincent de Paul it refers to 95 Rue du Sevres in Paris where for many years the leadership of the Congregation resided until offices were moved to Rome. Among the Daughters of Charity the motherhouse refers to Rue du Bac where their leadership continues to reside and where Mary appeared to St. Catherine Labouré. Motherhouse
  6. 6. Do you speak Vincentian? "PH", or Provincial House, is an abbreviation used by the Daughters of Charity of some provinces to refer to their headquarters. The term "PH" popularly refers to Saint Joseph's Provincial House in Emmitsburg, Maryland. PH
  7. 7. Do you speak Vincentian? Rue du Bac refers to the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, and Motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity, in Paris. You can reach 140 Rue du Bac by Metro or bus. You will find yourself at a popular pilgrimage shrine. In fact, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared there in 1830 to Saint Catherine Labouré and offered the Miraculous Medal to the world. Rue du Bac
  8. 8. Do you speak Vincentian? Also known in some provinces as Seminarium Scholasticorum. A period of seminary formation and study of philosophy and theology for candidates to priesthood in the Congregation of the Mission. It starts after completing Internal Seminary. Priesthood ordinations finish this period of formation. Scholasticate
  9. 9. Do you speak Vincentian? Visitor and Visitatrix refer respectively to the person holding major responsibility for provinces of the Congregation of the Mission or the Daughters of Charity. In most other orders and congregations, this position is called Provincial. Visitor/Visitatrix
  10. 10. Do you speak Vincentian? A particular group of followers of Saint Vincent de Paul, such as members of the Congregation of the Mission or members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Members of the Congregation of the Mission use the word Vincentian to describe themselves as members of the community founded by Vincent de Paul. Members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul founded by Blessed Frederic Ozanam refer to themselves as Vincentians. Vincentian
  11. 11. Do you speak Vincentian? The 'Vincentian Cross' was originally designed for the Daughters of Charity in the 1980s. However, it has since been adopted by many Vincentian Priests and Brothers, with the entwined 'V' and 'S' being variously interpreted as standing for St. Vincent or Vincentian Service. The one shown here hangs at De Paul House, Marsfield (Sydney), Australia. The casting was made by Mrs. L. Mimovich of Melbourne, Australia. Vincentian Cross