Kindred Spirits – Two Vincentians and a Jesuit seated at a Table

A story of kindred spirits!

The picture tells a story with multiple meanings.

Most obviously it is the story of two Vincentians, Fr. Tomaž Mavrič, our Superior General from Slovenia, and Fr. Pedro Opeka, a Vincentian Missionary from Madagascar, seated with our Jesuit Pope from Argentina. At another level, it shows the meeting of three native Argentinians. Fr. Opeka and Pope Francis even attended the same school in their home country. It also tells the story of three kindred spirits!

Three agents of change.

And, at a yet deeper level, it is the meeting of three “change agents.” Each in his own way has set in motion significant change.

Fr. Tomaž Mavrič set in motion a meeting in St. Peter’s Square in Rome that gave unprecedented visibility to the Vincentian Family. Some 11,000 members of the worldwide Vincentian Family from 100 countries gathered there with Pope Francis and the relic of the heart of Vincent. It was more than just a celebration of the Vincentian Family. It marked the official beginning of the campaign by the family to begin a major effort to end homelessness.

Fr. Pedro Opeka began some 30 years ago to help people help themselves.  A people literally living in a garbage dump came together to actually build their own city, Akamasoa. Today, this city is home to 23,000 people. Many of them have made the bricks with their own hands.

And across from them sits a Pope. We all know well how he has stirred the hearts of millions with his humble lifestyle and bold messages that speak to the hearts of all.

What can we learn from this picture?

  • We can learn the joy of connecting with kindred spirits who share the vision of Jesus summed up in the words “Whatever you to to the least of my brothers and sisters you do for ME!”
  • We can accept their implicit invitation to connect with kindred spirits in our lives who share our commitments to the least of our brothers and sisters.
  • We can join together in prayer that there will be many such meetings of kindred spirits around the world not only in our Vincentian Family but among people of good will.
  • We can be buoyed up and draw strength against the barrage of hate speech and self-centeredness so prevalent in our media.
  • We can truly realize that we are made in the image and likeness of a God who is a communion of persons and invites us to live that image and likeness.

We welcome all kindred spirits who would give time, talent or treasure in the mission of Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission. Let us know your thoughts and questions by contacting us through this website.

Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with how we are living up to the mission of St. Vincent de Paul, and how you can help.