Winter 2017

Dare to imagine – youth

Patrick Wallis

Young man in head band with face painting.
Patrick at a Vinnies youth camp in Western Australia.

Patrick Wallis is an engineering student who got involved with Vinnies while still at high school in Perth.

The 21-year-old provides advice to the Society’s Western Australia State Council on youth matters, and has been a kids’ camp leader for the past five years.

He attended the Rekindle the Flame event for young Vincentians in 2016, and is looking forward to the October congress. Here he shares his youthful optimism and hopes for the future.

Part 1.6 of The Rule states that ‘the Society constantly strives for renewal, adapting to changing world conditions’.

The world is constantly changing and, with this, the St Vincent de Paul Society needs to always adapt and allow for change.

I have seen no greater avenue to this than the opportunities that national events provide.

Membership is the core of this organisation and, through the power of One Society, together we can build the St Vincent de Paul Society towards its fullest potential.

I have seen three major benefits come out of national formation events such as Rekindle the Flame—a national event run by the National Youth Team for Young Vincentians in 2016.

These are:

  • the spiritual formation and development of our members
  • promoting a sense of connection to the wider community of Vincentians in order to facilitate a global network of charity
  • renewing our members and the structure of the Society to best impact our local communities.

It is these same outcomes that make the National Congress event being held in October so appealing. Together, the members of the St Vincent de Paul Society can work to focus on what really matters: the people.

The companions we walk with deserve the best possible future, so we should all encourage and support events such as the National Congress and Rekindle the Flame. Through the gathering and inspiration of our national Vincentian family, events such as these enhance our core works and help transform Australia with compassion and justice.

One of the core Vincentian values is courage. Courage can be defined as the encouragement of spiritual growth, welcoming innovation and giving hope for the future. As members, we need to find the courage to innovate for the benefit of all, to give hope for the future of all, and to encourage the spiritual growth of both our members and the companions that walk alongside us in our common mission.

Blessed Frederic Ozanam realised that innovation, hope and spirituality are the fundamental pillars upon which our core works are based. In 1833, in a time of hardship and turmoil for the people of France, Frederic stood apart from the crowd and established the first conference. He worked with friends and mentors to found the Society of which we are now a part and strove to share hope in order to encourage our companions to take hold of their own destinies.

The innovative imaginations of Ozanam, Lamache, Lallier, Devaux, Clave, Taillandier and Bailly created a global network of charity by coming together as one. It is invigorating to dare to imagine what the gathering of members as One Society in Australia could bring.

The companions we walk with deserve the best possible future, so we should all encourage and support events such as the National Congress and Rekindle the flame.

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