What Is the Vincentian Family’s Best kept Secret?

Best kept secrets

Who can forget the “treasure map” of  Robert Louis Stenson’s Treasure Island? There are certainly lots of best-kept secrets. They range from the secret ingredient in Coco-Cola to how to fold the Hapsburg Napkin pictured below. And who can forget the “treasure map” of Treasure Island?

The “Hapsburg Napkin” – Do you know how to fold this?

The way napkins are folded at Austrian state events is a closely guarded secret that only two people know who pass it on to someone else before they die.

Closer to home… for many years we have referred to the Church’s Social Teaching as its best-kept secret.

Sssh! The Vincentian Family is not without its best-kept secrets.

Many people were surprised that the Eastern Province Miraculous Medal Facebook page has 3 million followers.

Here is another major secret.

Rather than read about it in words just look at the following treasure map. Click on the picture to open the map to this treasure trove of readily accessible insights about what makes Vincentians tick.

A picture worth a thousand links

Just click on the graphic to access this treasure map! (Please be sure to bookmark it or you may not be able to find it again!)

Click on the graphic to be taken into the cave of treasures!


Five virtuesBeing Vincentian is not limited to male, vowed celibates! (I must admit that I once thought that.) One of the exciting developments in the world-wide Vincentian Family is the realization that over 2 million people can claim #IamVincent.  The 1998 General Assembly of the Congregation of the Mission, in something of a Copernican shift, wrote “The vitality of the Vincentian charism does not belong exclusively to the Congregation of the Mission.”

In this spirit, famvin.org offers weekly posts sharing how so many understand and live “I am Vincent”. Aidan Rooney writes in a recent post about a new series that looks at a life guided by the five Vincentian virtues.

From the post…

To say #IamVincent means to live a life of virtue. Actually, it means to live a life of five essential virtues.

Fr. Santiago Azcarate, CM, Religious Advisor to the lay organization known as the Saint Vincent de Paul Society in Spain, has written,

Virtue can be seen as the crystallization of good intentions which are often passing and changing. Virtue, then, is more permanent and stable. It defines our manner of being present in the midst of the world and also defines our relationships with others.

He’s right on the mark. “Values” — the good intentions we hold in our hearts — are nothing if they are not made concrete in the life of virtue. These five are held up for the entire Vincentian Family:

  • Simplicity
  • Humility
  • Mortification
  • Meekness
  • Zeal for Souls

Says Father Azcarate:

Virtue, then, defines our Christian being and our lifestyle. Therefore, if, as Montaigne stated, “lifestyle defines the person,” then virtue not only characterizes our spirituality but also our whole personality. Our lifestyle is that which distinguishes us: not simply the manner in which we dress or work or live, but also the spirit that strengthens and animates us. Spirit is impossible to measure or to see, but nonetheless, characterizes us. Therefore, the cultivation of one or another virtue is not an indifferent matter.

Over the next five weeks, we’ll examine each of them with Father Azcarate’s help.

Vincentian Brothers Formation Meeting

BraciaGrecja-headerBrother Adam Budzyna, who spent a number of years in the Eastern Province  studying the use of media, writes….”September 1-8, 2013 in Thessaloniki the brothers of the Congregation held a regional meeting . This meeting was organized in memory of Br. Jean (of Greek origin) as well as a pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Paul in Greece.
 Among the participants of this important event there were two brothers from France, two from Congo, and one from Algeria, Cameroon and Poland. This time gave us the opportunity to meet each other and exchange experiences of activities that each of us carries in his region. During our stay in Greece, we acquainted with Greek culture which dates back to ancient times and we also recognized the present problems facing the Catholic Church in the area. However, this time in Greece, it was a time to deepen our vocation, taking as a model Br. Jean, who dedicated his life to Christ, evangelizing the poor in Thessaloniki.”

JeanPrintezis-150x150Bro. Jean Prindezis was born on Christmas Day 1942 in the Greek island of Syra. He entered Congregation of the Mission on February 27, 1959 and took his final vows on July 19, 1964 (in old liturgical calendar the feast of St. Vincent de paul was  observed on that day). Afterwards he was assigned to the house in Thessaloniki where he served the Vincentian community as economy with high competence and commitment as well evangelized the Catholics and the Poor in the area. He died on the feast of Sacred Heart of Jesus (June 15), 2012 and interred in the Catholic cemetery in Thessaloniki.

As we read in the website of Province of Poland“the meeting provided opportunity to know each other and share experience related to the ministry each of the brothers carries on in his local community.  While in Greece they had an opportunity learn about ancient Greek culture and get know about contemporary problems in the society and Catholic Church in Greece. It was also a time to reflect and deepen their own vocation looking at the life of late Bro. Jean Prindezis CM who committed all his life to evangelization of the Poor”.

Take a look at the picture gallery at the Facebook page of the Province of Poland

Vincentians have been present in Thessaloniki since 1783 in the parish of Immaculate Conception. The house belongs to Province of Paris, however its community is international including three Confreres from Poland (one is Superior).  They serve Catholic community in the area as well Daughters of Charity present in Greece.