To be a Vincentian leader, one needs to understand who Vincent and Frederic were, and what motivated them to do what they did.

Vincent and Frederic had people who helped and worked with them to achieve all that they did. For Vincent it was Louise de Marillac, and for Frederic, it was Rosalie Rendu. Frederic was the principle founder of the Society, but he worked with the other young men as a team, to establish and develop their good works.

These Holy men and women lit the flame, but they were also the “keepers of the fire”. While the Spirit of Life that animates the Community belongs to all, the keeper has a direct responsibility to watch over the Spirit – the fire, to nurture its life, to pass it on from group to group, untarnished and unblemished.

As a Conference President, you are the keeper of the fire, to lead your Members to live an authentic life of service to the poor, to see and know the Lord.

To keep the flame alight as a leader is not always easy, especially when the demands of our world can be overwhelming. Leaders can become overwhelmed with problems and pressed by crises. Effective leaders make things happen. They see what needs to happen, plan a way to make it happen, and take steps to see that it does. They are an example to others, and they encourage and support the contribution of all people around them.

Leadership is:

  • About caring, not controlling
  • Creating a place of meaning where all can share equally and openly
  • Accountability, trust, honesty, integrity, courage, challenge, support and love
  • Creativity and innovation in decision making, especially when dealing with obstacles or problems
  • Building community with each other and within the organisation

Characteristics of leadership are:

  • Listening
  • Empathy
  • Awareness
  • Foresight
  • Accepting responsibility
  • Commitment to others
  • Community building

Grace-filled Vincentian leadership needs:

  • Trust in God
  • Seeing God in the mundane and simple actions of each day
  • Peace with human weakness and fragility
  • Compassion for all
  • To live the Vincentian virtues of humility, simplicity and charity
  • To pray for those having difficulties
  • To have a broad vision of God, the Church and the world
  • To see Christ in their brothers and sisters and especially those who are poor or in need

Vincentian leadership is not something we do, but the person we are. The Vincentian leader needs to keep the flame alive through prayer and contemplation and being grounded in the lives of people who are poor or in need

“If love is a fire, zeal is its flame” St Vincent de Paul