Founded by immigrants, America has been called a “debtor” nation because we owe so much of our language and culture to other nationalities. At times, the many and diverse personalities that have found their way to our shores have clashed. And yet, like gold tested in fire (to borrow a Biblical phrase), out of those differences has emerged a great nation. That diversity is reflected in the Latin phrase found in our nation’s seal: E Pluribus Unum, or “Out of the many, one.”
So, too, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is great because it’s made up of people of many cultures, many races, many walks of life, many points of view. Our diversity, like that of the nation’s, reflects our strength. Even our Catholic faith commands us to embrace diversity because the very word “catholic” means “universal.”
While trying to communicate across these many differences may be challenging, the reward is a stronger, more resilient organization. Vincentians should see the face of Christ in each other as much as we see Him in those we serve.
What Does The Rule Say About Multicultural/Diversity Issues and Initiatives?
The Rule of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul clearly conveys the importance of multicultural and diversity in several sections.
1.2 The Vincentian Vocation
The vocation of the Society’s members, who are called Vincentians, is to follow Christ through service to those in need and so bear witness to His compassionate and liberating love. Members show their commitment through person-to person contact.
1.3 Any form of personal help…
No work of charity is foreign to the Society. It includes any form of help that alleviates suffering or deprivation and promotes human dignity and personal integrity in all their dimensions.
1.4…to anyone in need
The Society serves those in need regardless of creed, ethnic or social background, health, gender or political opinions.
1.5 To Seek Out the Poor
Vincentians strive to seek out and find those in need and the forgotten, the victims of exclusion or adversity.
1.6 Adaptation to a Changing World
Faithful to the spirit of its founders, the Society constantly strives for renewal, adapting to changing world conditions. It seeks to be ever aware of the changes that occur in human society and the new types of poverty that may be identified or anticipated. It gives priority to the poorest of the poor and to those who are most rejected by society.