If you ask Vincentians why their work with homeless people is essential, you will receive a number of answers ranging from their dignity as human beings and children of God to the importance of following in the footsteps of Vincent who, in times of war and of peace, dared to care for the foundlings, the homeless, the refugees in Paris and many other regions of France. The common thread will certainly be a passionate heart that allows other people’s lives to touch theirs and motion them to service and transformation.
If you ask a politician, UN member or representative who has limited knowledge of the Church and the Vincentian Family the very same question, they will want to know who is it we are talking about and what is it that we do.
This need to embrace who we are and what we do has inspired many initiatives, like the first gathering of Vincentian Family Leaders in Rome in January 2020. For those who participated to this event, we cannot forget the feeling of awe and belonging as we heard and experienced the diversity of Vincentian branches, ministries and vocations represented at the event.
Since 2017, the Famvin Homeless Alliance has been trying to gather data on all Vincentian homelessness projects in the world in order to increase our visibility, foster networking, encourage unified advocacy and secure strategic collaboration. The end goal is to be united as a Vincentian Family to end homelessness and the systems that cause it or maintain it.
While humility is a key value for our Vincentian Family, we understand, in the words of St Vincent himself, that “humility is in no way contrary to magnanimity” (SVP, XI:273). By acknowledging who we are and the amazing work we do together in the service of homeless people, we build strength to do even better together and to have our and their voices better heard by the international organizations and governments who make decisions that affect the homeless population.
The FHA’s mapping program has borne poor results so far, but we are confident that our coming together, in a map first and in action most importantly, will enable us to embrace the world in a network of charity where everyone has a place to call home and a stake in their community. We trust that the dream will come true.
Please contact us to put your ministry on the map if you help homeless people, slum dwellers, IDPs or refugees, or if you know of a Vincentian homelessness ministry. Note that we will always treat your information sensitively and will not disclose contact information without your permission.
We really need your help to make progress! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will welcome all information available from any service in any part of the world.