The enlightenment granted to St. Louise at Pentecost, 1623, brought to an end a great deal of turmoil, struggle and suffering for Saint Louise, and led her to have a deeper conviction of her love for God as well as love for her neighbor.
This crisis that Louise experienced and something often found in the lives of those who strive to give themselves completely to God and to the neighbor, expresses what is at the heart of the great commandment that the Lord Jesus has given.
As daughters of Saint Louise, and as followers of Jesus Christ, you are called to give yourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord: that is with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself This is the covenant that you make with God; this is the covenant with one another; this is the covenant you make with other members of the Vincentian Family. Above all this is the covenant you make with those who live in poverty.
As the gospel says, there is no other commandment greater than this. As we look closely at this commandment that comes from the Lord Jesus, we see that it is built on relationship. I would like to take that one step further and say that this relationship involves partnership with God, with one another in community, with the Vincentian Family and with the poor.
The members of the Vincentian Family have focused on the very special relationship that existed between Vincent and Louise, a relationship that I call a partnership, but a partnership that goes beyond simply being partners in a working relationship. Vincent and Louise were two companions sharing the graces that God had given them, the love that they experienced in and through God, sharing that deeply one with another in their efforts to serve the poor at that time. Without hesitation, we can speak about a healthy relationship of God’s love incarnated in the love they had one for another and with the other collaborators who joined them in this great mission of serving the poor.
God calls all people to partnership, not just in the context of marriage, but partnership in living out the gift of love that he has shared first; a partnership that makes the difference between community life that is lived as the constitutions call you to do, and a community life that is simply superficial; a partnership with the Vincentian Family that is more than just paying lip-service to many years of encouragement from the Vincentian leaders to work towards true collaboration; a partnership that builds unity and helps to establish solidarity with those most in need; a partnership that is made with those whom we help to take most responsibility for their own lives, the poor. That partnership or covenant relationship begins with God and ends with God.
Fr. Gregory Gay, Superior General
(Echoes – June 2009)