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The Vincentian Virtues

We seek to emulate St. Vincent in the five virtues essential for promoting love and respect for the poor.

Simplicity

St. Vincent often said that simplicity was his favorite virtue. Simplicity is expressing ourselves honestly, with frankness, integrity, and genuineness. It is, as St. Vincent put it, “saying things simply, without duplicity or subtlety, being straightforward, with no evasion or subterfuge.”

Humility

St. Augustine once called humility “the foundation of all the other virtues.” With humility, Vincentians accept the truth about our frailties, gifts talents and charism, yet know that all that God gives us is for others and that we can achieve nothing of eternal value without His grace. St. Louise de Marillac suggested that “humility is the knowledge of truth.”

Gentleness

Our gentleness is expressed through a friendly assurance and invincible goodwill, which mean kindness, sweetness, and patience in our relationship with others. St. Vincent reminds us that this must be both interior and exterior; in other words, we don’t simply act patient and kind, we must truly be patient and kind!

Selflessness

Dying to our ego with a life of self-sacrifice; members share their time, their possessions, their talents and themselves in a spirit of generosity.

Zeal

Zeal, which St. Vincent once described as “the soul of all the virtues,” is a passion for the full flourishing and eternal happiness of every person. We must be careful not to ever separate our zeal from our love of the neighbor, lest it become scolding, or what Bl. Frederic called “the proud pharisaism of an indiscreet zeal.”

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