Spring 2017

Questions of inequality and poverty

Reflection three

The St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia has been working towards a more just and compassionate society for 163 years, and we have a wealth of experience and tradition to draw from.

Over the past six months we have been speaking with conference members, volunteers, staff and companions to best understand how and why the Society exists and how it might need to change. The insights were clear and showed that the Society as a spiritual movement for social change is made of an extremely diverse collective of people who are deeply interconnected in their views and experiences.

In the lead-up to the congress we will be sharing some insights from this research, in an effort to invite members along on the journey of reflection that the National Council has been on in recent months.

We would like to share with you two key insights from the research, and ask you to participate in a related reflective activity that will help to shape our conversation over the course of the congress in October.

  • Firstly, what we found in listening to Vincentians across Australia is that their commitment to the Society comes from a deeply spiritual desire for good coupled with a profound discomfort with injustice. Both of these impulses find a home in the Society but it is not always easy to find a path that nourishes the spirit while energising us to be a force for change in the world.
  • This is the type of commitment that the St Vincent de Paul Society is built on. We’re interested in the challenges for change that exist not only within society at large but also within the St Vincent de Paul Society at the beginning of the 21st century, and the opportunities that come along with them.
  • Secondly, we found that when it comes to integrating our mission with our lives it is clear that one size does not fit all. While there exists an overarching understanding of and commitment to how and why we do our work, we are a collective of individuals, thousands strong and spread across the nation. Amongst ourselves there are differences that we must acknowledge and accept in order to harness the opportunities that the future presents.
  • To help us further prepare for the congress, please take a few minutes to answer the following three reflection questions in this link: https:// mentallyfriendly.typeform.com/to/ HKM8AZAAA
  1. What do you feel that the Society is currently doing well when it comes to helping people experiencing poverty and inequality in your community?
  2. What do you feel are the greatest challenges currently facing the Society when it comes to helping people experiencing poverty and inequality in your community?
  3. Do you have any questions for us, or is there anything else you’d like to add before you go?
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