“We cannot better assure our eternal happiness than by living and dying in the service of the poor, in the arms of Providence, and with genuine renouncement of ourselves in order to follow Jesus Christ.” St. Vincent de Paul, 4 December 1648
All people are ‘explorers’ in this exciting adventure called life. Exploring what vocation one should embrace is a key element of growth. It is a step toward spiritual maturity and claiming one’s rightful place in the world. In exploring a way of life, one realizes the deeper dimensions of what it means to be fully human. Commitment to Jesus Christ in the way of Vincent is a life-long exploration for Vincentians. It is a joyful and fulfilling way to live and one that merits exploring!
It is a journey that never ends, always yielding a treasure of deeper faith and trust in God. As a community of priests and brothers serving the poor, Vincentians are explorers, seeking to minister to the lost and marginalized as did the Good Shepherd. Our community motto “He has sent me to preach Good News to the poor” (Luke 4:18) sets the stage for a life of exciting and challenging ministries which we do together.
To be an explorer, one needs the ‘compass’ of an active, living faith, a willingness to discern and dialogue, and a resolve to be honest, open, and humble before God. To explore in earnest one’s true vocation will lead to finding a way that unites us with the One and Only “Way Truth, and Life.” (John: 14:6) It’s the exploration of a lifetime!
“Give a man of prayer and with him I can accomplish anything!” – St. Vincent de Paul
In exploring a vocation to the Congregation of the Mission, one enters into a process of discernment. This involves taking part in retreat programs, visiting Vincentian formation houses, and entering into spiritual direction. These steps help one explore the way that Vincentians live, serve, and undergo formation. They will also reveal if this is the right path for the explorer.
Discernment is a process leading one to reflection, evaluation, and action of one sort of another. When done well, it is a process that like the Gospel parable will “yield a rich harvest.” (John 12:24) The harvest comes in opening myself to the grace of God and a willingness to engage the rich charism of St. Vincent de Paul.
Discernment and exploration go well together. They call one to look inward and outward. They promote a mutual relationship between the explorer and members of the Congregation. Whatever the outcome, both are beneficiaries from this exchange.