Young People Living the Vincentian Charism While the recruitment and formation of new Vincentian priests and brothers is a vital work today, so is the mission of encouraging young people to take up the work of serving the poor. Today, youth volunteer groups like the Colorado Vincentian Volunteers and the Vincentian Marian Youth—SEMO are leaving a lasting impression by developing new and creative ways of serving the poor in the Vincentian tradition. Fr. Derek Swanson, C.M., vocation director for the Province, has seen this youthful creativity first-hand.

Fr. Derek recently joined the latest cohort of Colorado Vincentian Volunteers as they began their year of service this past August. He helped orient the new group of volunteers and has returned to celebrate the Eucharist and offer spiritual guidance this year. The Colorado Vincentian Volunteers (CVV), located in Denver, is a yearlong volunteer program where young adults age 22-30 live in intentional community, serve those on the margins through a variety of nonprofit organizations, and reflect on how they are transformed through this experience from the perspective of the Vincentian charism. The program is directed by Haley Todd, herself a former volunteer.

CVV was founded in 1993 by Bill and Mary Frances Jaster in collaboration with the Vincentians of the Western Province, who continue to sponsor the program. In any given year, the program invites up to 20 participants. In 2019, CVV celebrated its 25th anniversary and today has over 370 alumni.

“A lot of the CVV alumni continue to do work with the most vulnerable after leaving the program,” Fr. Swanson said. “I find this pretty inspiring.”

The Vincentian Marian Youth is an international organization, and its Southeast Missouri chapter was founded in 2003 by Shirley Klump and Cathy Peirick in Ste. Genevieve, Mo. When it began, the organization had seven students in one location; it has since expanded to local parishes and now has 45 students in junior high and high school who meet weekly for mass and service events. Executive Director Mike Giasi calls that “putting faith into action.” Fr. Ron Hoye, C.M., was the group’s first ordained advisor. More recently, Fr. Rich Wehrmeyer, C.M., served in that role.

“VMY centers on the Vincentian charism of ministering to people in need,” Giasi said. “We do quarterly service projects and an annual mission trip, Operation Overhaul. This year, it was to Cedar Rapids, where we did roofing, siding, trash pick-up, and yard work.”

The group operates a thrift shop, Laboure Exchange, in Ste. Genevieve, which helps fund its activities, and it operates a voucher program for families in need for clothing, furniture, housing, and other items. Last year, the program helped more than 400 voucher recipients.

“If we can help students be closer to Christ, grow in faith, and live like St. Vincent, St. Catherine Laboure, and St. Louise de Marillac,” Giasi said, “we can inspire the future of the Vincentian charism.” For more information about the Colorado Vincentian Volunteers, visit, and for more information about the VMY-SEMO, visit To read more of the December 2021 The Vincentian magazine, click here.