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On the Pathways of Vincentian Education: Ways to Qualify Our Presence and Action!

November 30, 2022

Since the origin of the Company, education has presented itself as a singular space for living the charism given by God to our Founders, Saint Louise and Saint Vincent. Learning from history and listening to the present reality, the Lord continues to call us to the mission of loving and serving through the educational experience. Co-responsible for this common journey, we have undertaken actions and processes to qualify our work, actively involving all the members of our institutions: Sisters, lay persons, students, families. It is a question of an undertaking that passes through practical and organizational aspects and implies the personal and collective inner movement of revitalizing the charismatic and evangelical purpose that sustains our presence in this space. Under this inspiration, we share three initiatives that have helped us to look towards a common horizon, which we have called a Vincentian Way of Educating:

1) The Principal’s Meeting (26 and 27 May 2022), held at the Miraculous Medal Provincial House, had for its theme “On the Pathways of Innovation: With the Vigor of the Past, We Follow in the Present, Weaving the Future.” The event favored reflection on the “innovative schools” and put into effect the initial process of strategic planning of our institutions with 2023 to 2027 as the horizon. It also dealt with the theme “Caring Innovation: Pastoral Care and Inclusion” which contributed to the reflection on the place and purpose of the evangelizing mission in the Vincentian educational project today. In this horizon, the reflection on “The Charism at the Service of Innovative Process” led us to perceive basic aspects of our mission: the original intuition of Saint Vincent and Saint Louise to make schools a way of service to those who are poor and some insights to respond to the “signs of the times” in fidelity to the charism: not to lose the horizon of faith, to safeguard the ultimate purpose of our institutions and to form our pedagogical-pastoral teams in the Vincentian Charism.

2) The Strategic Planning of the Vincentian Network of Education is inspired by Sister Suzanne Guillemin’s words: ” Innovation is a sign of life. Everything that lives must necessarily nourish itself, transform itself, constantly renew itself in order to adapt to different circumstances. To be fixed in immobility is to condemn oneself to die.” The Strategic Planning of the Network and of each of our 12 educational institutions is being organized in a participative manner.

This planning will serve as a compass to guide us along the path towards the future, with the clear intention of modernizing our institutions, strengthening their administrative and pedagogical management processes and leading them to growth and sustainability, in view of strengthening our educational mission as institutions that want to assume, at the same time, the triple identity of being schools, Catholic and Vincentian.

3) Pastoral Meeting of Vincentian Schools (From 18 and 19 August 2022) held at the Miraculous Medal Provincial House, had as its theme “On the Pathways of Pastoral Care: Context – Memory – Education – Charism.” The objective of choosing to deepen these four emphases that are interrelated and interact directly with the daily life of the educational mission is to help us intuit which horizons and fundamental options we need to assume in order to qualify our presence and caring action as Vincentian Catholic schools in the face of the plurality and complexity of today’s world. 

It is important to understand that the innovation and qualification that we assume are not under a marketing point of view. For us, it is a search for coherence and excellence in what we do in the context in which we are inserted, as Jesus did and lived in his time, as our Founders bequeathed us. We always ask ourselves how the service of Jesus Christ in those who are poor challenges us in the educational reality. In summary, the purpose of being in Vincentian Education and of our participation in it is to undertake it for the Reign of God.

Special Commission on Education, Province of Curitiba, Brazil