The word “charism” is used to describe a particular spiritual orientation, and any special characteristics of its mission or values (for example, the works of a teaching order as compared with that of a missionary order, or one devoted to care of the poor or the sick). Vincentian charism refers to the charism of St. Vincent de Paul, the 17th century French priest who, along with St. Louise de Marillac, established the first organizations of what is now known as the Vincentian Family movement.
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The Vincentian Charism is a way of life. As a way of life within the Church, it is a road to sanctity, the sanctification of our own lives and the lives of others. We can call the Vincentian Family a movement composed of persons who belong to a specific branch of the Family, as well as those who do not belong yet to a specific branch, but are inspired by Saint Vincent de Paul’s way and live it in their lives.
– Homily of Superior General Fr. Tomaž Mavrič, C.M., on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the Vincentian Family: The Vincentian Charism: A Road to Sanctity.
St. Vincent embraced humble and grateful service to others, especially to those who are poor. Concern for the whole person – body, mind and spirit: this holistic approach to caring translates to all of our ministries – education, social services, health care, missions and spiritual formation.
The first foundation made by Vincent de Paul was for lay women in 1617, when he experienced a personal conversion that led him to discover the pervasiveness of poverty in his day. He responded with bold initiatives to address these social problems. Vincent’s integration of evangelization and charity became the Vincentian charism. Notably, from the beginning the role of the laity was pivotal for his mission.
Word Origin: mid 17th Cent. via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek kharisma, from kharis ‘favor, grace.’
The Ways the Charism of Saint Vincent and Saint Louise is Lived in the Various Branches of the Vincentian Family