This article initially appeared in the spring 2024 issue of our quarterly newsletter, The Vincentian.

You never know who you might meet upon entering Kenmore House in Chicago. Yes, you would expect confreres from the Western Province—right now, eight of us. In addition, there are six international confreres here as well, along with a priest from China.

These men add life to the house in delightful ways. Sometimes they bring friends they have met from their homeland. When that happens, home-made foods frequently come along. Sometimes they cook native dishes for us, and yet more of their friends arrive. The dining room is a-buzz with conversations in many languages and laughter.

When they are ready, these men serve in parishes, ours and others, celebrating mass in English. They also find their way to churches where they can celebrate in their native tongue.

When someone arrives fresh from Vietnam or Nigeria or Indonesia or Brazil, everyone pitches in to help him feel at home, find his way around, learn to ride the L, and, since this is Chicago, buy winter clothes.

The great mixture of cultures and ages contributes a great deal to our local community. In our casual conversations over drinks and meals, it is gratifying to hear the men of the Western Province comment on the great spirit the younger international confreres bring to our common life. Also, the international confreres appreciate the interaction, wisdom, and experiences the older men have to offer to them. As one of the older members of the house said, the young international confreres bring such life and joy to us. They are a true blessing to all of us!

-Fr. Joe Williams, C.M.

Superior, DePaul Vincentian Residence in Chicago

Photo caption:

(from left):  Lenard Kochwa, C.M. (Kenya), Ranjan Lima, C.M. (India), Yohanes Fery, C.M. (Indonesia), and Mikolaj (Nick) Zebrowski, C.M. (Poland).