An Unforgettable Journey

This summer, 13 Vincentian volunteers traveled more than 7,000 miles to the Vincentian region in Kenya, East Africa, to serve the poor. For months leading up to the trip, the volunteers raised funds to cover the cost of their travel and to provide supplies to the people they would meet.

In June, the group made the long journey to Nairobi, and settled in at DePaul Centre, a Vincentian house of formation that served as the group’s headquarters. During the school year, the facility houses seminarians studying for the priesthood. The center offered the volunteers a comfortable place to meet, sleep and come together for meals and prayer during their visit.

From their headquarters in Nairobi, the Vincentian missioners traveled up to 27 miles each day to parishes, schools, outstations and a nearby slum to meet the pressing needs of the poor. Early in the trip, the group traveled to Nderu village in Thigio to serve a family in need. When they arrived, they learned that the grandmother was blind, the daughter was HIV positive and several generations lived together in a small shack. The volunteers spent the day building a base for a new cement floor and painting the exterior of the structure. They also provided funds for the family to purchase furniture for their home.

“In their work, the Vincentian missioners witnessed the great poverty, and remarkable joy, found on the streets of Nairobi and the other towns they visited.”

The volunteers also ventured into the Kibera Slum to work at St. Vincent’s Rescue Center. They painted the facility inside and out. Later in the week, the missioners helped paint DePaul Primary School in Kamulu and delivered much-needed supplies and furniture for the upcoming school year.

In their work, the Vincentian missioners witnessed the great poverty, and remarkable joy, found on the streets of Nairobi and the other towns they visited. Many people in Kenya struggle every day just to survive. For the volunteers, however, it is not the desperate living conditions that stand out most. Despite the suffering, people there are full of gratitude, hospitality and joy. The spirit of St. Vincent is alive in Kenya, and the Vincentian volunteers contributed to that spirit through their prayers, sacrifices and selfless service.

A Joyful and Generous Response

This year, we invited our friends, benefactors and lay collaborators to join in celebrating 200 years of Vincentian service and the start of a third century
of faith. The response was overwhelming! Dedicated people from throughout the United States have offered their prayers and financial gifts to enliven and expand our mission – the mission of St. Vincent – to evangelize the poor.

This year, your gifts touched the lives of those we serve by helping to:

  • Provide direct service to the poor in the United States
  • Establish the Welcome the Stranger program in Kenya
  • Enable care to our senior Vincentian priests and brothers
  • Educate and form priests, brothers and seminarians

Your generosity is a blessing multiplied many times over to those it reaches. As we look back on the many ways you strengthened our charism this year,
we offer our heartfelt gratitude for your ongoing support of Vincentian priests and brothers and those served.

Click here to view the 2018 Province Report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caring for the Land for 200 Years

For 200 years, Vincentian brothers have farmed the land and taken care of the buildings at St. Mary’s of the Barrens in Perryville, Missouri. In the early years, they provided fresh produce, dairy, beef and pork to Vincentian seminaries throughout the region. This year, the farm will be winding down its operations. The last of the cattle herd will be sold and just enough equipment will be kept to maintain the pastureland.

Fr. Ray Van Dorpe, C.M., recently acknowledged the farm brothers’ efforts and the work of so many dedicated Vincentians before them who were instrumental in sustaining the community’s life in Perryville.

“Our Vincentian brothers are known for a wide variety of skills,” Fr. Ray explains. “They give themselves entirely to their work for God’s glory and the spread of His Gospel. The farm in Perryville is a perfect example of their selfless service.”

Since the earliest days in the United States, Vincentian brothers have played a central role in supporting the life and ministry of the Vincentian community. They take on a diversity of tasks and responsibilities, in service to the mission of St. Vincent. Brother Martin Blanka, C.M., was the first brother to come to the Barrens from Italy in the early 19th century.
He served as a cook, tailor, carpenter and blacksmith, and established
the farm in Perryville.

Many early Vincentian brothers are known for their unique contributions to the Church in America. One famous example is Brother Angelo Oliva, C.M., a talented sculptor and stonemason. He helped build the Church of the Assumption in Perryville and the now-historic Old Cathedral in St. Louis, Missouri.

Since the earliest days in the United States, Vincentian brothers have played a central role in supporting the life and ministry of the Vincentian community.

In a letter to another Vincentian priest, Bishop Rosati highlighted the great benefit of having Brother Angelo and the other brothers participate in the life of the Church in America. He wrote: “Brother Oliva is a treasure in every respect; he has won the esteem of all those whom he knew at New Orleans, and here at the Barrens, all of the community” (Spring 1989, Notable Vincentians (3): Brother Angelo Oliva, C.M.; John E. Rybolt, C.M., Ph.D.).

As the farm in Perryville winds down, we acknowledge with gratitude the legacy of the current farm brothers – John Magogna, C.M., Richard Hermann, C.M., and Harvey Goertz, C.M. – and all those throughout the years who have served humbly in the spirit of St. Vincent.

Deep Marks of Jesus’ Unconditional Love

My heart is overwhelmed with thankfulness and joy for this ‘gift from heaven,’ allowing the Vincentian Family to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the Vincentian charism. This charism has left such deep marks of Jesus’ unconditional love on the world throughout the last 400 years and continues to do so today!”

These words of Fr. Tomaz Mavric, Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission, at the opening of the worldwide celebration, reflect the sentiments of the Vincentians in the United States who celebrate 200 years of service in this country.

The Vincentians first sent missionaries to the United States in 1816 and established their motherhouse and seminary in Perryville, MO, the following year. The arrival of these first Vincentians in the U.S. was the beginning of a historic adventure that would see their ministry to the poor take root from coast to coast and border to border. Their impact on the founding of the Catholic Church in America cannot be overstated.

The arrival of these first Vincentians in the U.S. was the beginning of a historic adventure that would see their ministry to the poor take root from coast to coast and border to border.

The Vincentians of the Western Province marked the anniversary with the successful completion of the Walking with
the Poor capital campaign to better serve the poor. We not only commemorate the founding of our charism in America, rooted in Perryville, MO, but we also celebrate the distinctive spiritual way of life created by the priests and brothers, together with our lay collaborators, in parishes, shrines and schools, 
in communities and through devotions, in preaching 
and in teaching.

200 Years of Service: Vincentians, Then and Now

When the Vincentians first arrived in the United States in 1816, the nation consisted of only 19 states and Abraham Lincoln was only seven years old. Within a year of their arrival, the Vincentian pioneers had made their way to Bardstown, Kentucky, and by 1818 they had established their home in Perryville, Missouri.

A small country town on the American frontier, Perryville proved to be a spiritual hub for the Vincentians in the United States. Before long, a vibrant ministry to the poor took root from coast to coast and from border to border. Vincentian priests and brothers established colleges and universities, led parishes, built shrines, taught in seminaries and served the poor in urban centers and rural towns.

We give our joyful thanksgiving to God for all the graces he has showered on us for two centuries of service in America!

Today, the Vincentians are celebrating our 200th anniversary in America. Over the years, the priests and brothers, together with our lay collaborators, have created a distinctive spiritual way of life that can still be witnessed in parishes, shrines and schools, in communities and through devotions, in their preaching and teaching.

We give our joyful thanksgiving to God for all the graces he has showered on us for two centuries of service in America! We thank our faithful friends and donors for their prayers and support of our ministries, as we look ahead to our third century in America. Please check back often for the latest news and upcoming events for the celebration of our 200th anniversary in the United States.

Association of the Miraculous Medal Celebrates 100th Anniversary

In 2018, the Association of the Miraculous Medal will celebrate its 100th anniversary. With more than 300,000 members currently and 36,000 prayer requests each year, the Association is a powerful witness of faithful dedication.

“Many of the people we serve are searching for Christ’s mercy – for themselves and for their loved ones. They begin by sending prayer requests for others, but soon realize that they’ve been transformed as well,” says Don Fulford, Director of the Association of the Miraculous Medal.

Since its founding in 1918, the ministry has encouraged countless people to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ through Mary. The Association seeks to “unite people in prayer and help them grow in holiness while supporting the apostolic mission and charitable work of Vincentian priests and brothers.”

Learn more about the 100-year history of the Association of the Miraculous Medal and participate in their prayer ministry.

You Are a Partner in Our Mission

Thanks to the prayerful support of our donors and friends, the Vincentians of the Western Province have accomplished much in service to the poor this past year. Their generosity touches in the lives of those served in our parishes and schools, in soup kitchens and retreat centers, and in villages and towns outside Nairobi, Kenya.

Here are a few of the ways the support of our donors has impacted the lives of those in need:

  • You helped the Vincentians provide additional housing options for more than 60 homeless people in St. Louis, MO, through a partnership with Depaul USA.
  • You helped Sacred Heart in Patterson, CA, reach out to the migrant community through the newly established Pastoral Migratoria program.
  • You supported a mother in Nairobi with assistance to start a modest sewing business in order to send her children to school.
  • You provided resources to serve Hispanic families at St. Vincent Parish in Perryville, MO, spreading the joyful message of Jesus to thousands.

Now more than ever, our partnerships with lay leaders, volunteers, donors and the entire Vincentian Family help to enliven our work. As the number of priests and brothers declines, we look to people like you to carry out the work of St. Vincent.

As a partner in our mission, you share the Vincentian charism and play a central role in advancing our work with the poor. Thank you for making these works of mercy possible for those we serve.

Click here to view our 2017 Annual Report.

 

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