Date of publication: 14/06/2019

The Pivotal Importance of Vincentian Formation: The General Council launches two new books during the Plenary Session

Council General International

The agenda set for the CGI Annual Plenary Session of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP), to be held in Porto (Portugal) from 11th to 16th June 2019, will include the launch of two new books on spirituality: Santidade nas Conferências (Sanctity in the Vincentian Conferences) and Reflexões Vicentinas aos Evangelhos (Vincentian Reflections on the Gospels).

Santidade nas Conferências Vicentinas was written by Gesiel Júnior, researcher and author of dozens of Vincentian and Catholic publications and biographies of Brazilian personalities. This new book consists of a “hagiography”; in other words, a list of biographies of 70 people who were followers of the seven founders and are considered to be in a certain degree of sanctity by the Catholic Church, as servants of God, venerable people, blesseds or saints.

The 164-page book is a collection of illustrated biographies of 9 saints, 36 blesseds, 10 venerable people, and 16 servants of God. All of them actively participated in Vincentian Conferences, such as John Paul II, who, when he was a university student in Krakow (Poland), became a fellow member. Being the first Pope member of the SSVP, he canonized and beatified a large number of contemporary personalities, such as the Italian doctor Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962) and the gypsy Ceferino Jimenez Malla (1861-1936), a martyr of the Spanish Civil War.

This excellent research is praiseworthy. The Council General International hopes that, with the dissemination of its content, the life of the holy fellow members will be better known, thus prompting with these experiences other people to seek their own sanctification“, declared the 16th President General, the fellow member Renato Lima de Oliveira.

Gesiel, when writing the new book, was inspired by Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate on the call to holiness in today’s world. “Our book, so to speak, is a kind of book narrating the Vincentian saints’ lives, written to remember, in particular, those who followed in the footsteps of Jesus, the servant of the poor, and Ozanam and his companions. It is our duty to remember, in order to preserve this unparalleled heritage of obedience to the living God and to his word of charity,” remarked Gesiel.

The second book, Reflexões Vicentinas aos Evangelhos, was written by the Brazilian fellow member, Eduardo Marques, who belongs to different commissions within the international structure of the General Council. The readings of this book are directly related to the biblical texts contained in the Missal, which are reflections in line with the Church’s biblical pathway and, above all, with the experience of the sacraments and faith.

Moreover, this second book is also aligned with the principles of the CGl’s strategic plan, focused on prayer, encounters with the poor, the quest for personal sanctification and the fight for social justice, all of which is intertwined with the SSVP’s motto “Serving in hope“. Hence, it should also be the hallmark of our own lifestyle. It is a beautifully written book to guide the spiritual life of the Conferences for both those who are helped and the members themselves.

With his usual exceptional talent and academic rigour, Eduardo Marques presents this beautiful work to the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, which will help to improve our Christian, Catholic and Vincentian formation. I do urge all SSVP members to take this book with them along their spiritual journey so that, along with the SSVP Rule and other Church-related documents, we can improve the Vincentian formation in the Conferences and Councils with only one goal in mind: to boost the SSVP’s efficiency among the most needy“, stated the fellow member Renato Lima.

According to the General Council, formation is essential within the SSVP. It is an ongoing but mostly evangelizing process. The Vincentian needs to have an adequate formation to face the challenges of modern times. The charitable actions undertaken for those who suffer will only have the desired result if members are spiritually formed. In other words, they should be able to take a critical look at the reality and be knowledgeable about the pillars of our identity (the legacy of the seven founders) and our charism (the common heritage of Saint Vincent and Saint Louise).

Both books are being published in Portuguese only. The Superior Councils who so wish may translate the books into their own languages. The copyrights of these two publications were granted by both authors to the General Council. For any request or question, please send an email to: [email protected]