I have shared before that I have a deep commitment to the Vincentian charism, nurtured by many years of friendship and association with some extraordinary people who are part of the Vincentian family.
St. Vincent encouraged his followers to be contemplatives in action and left us with a spirituality based on seeing and serving Christ in the poor. Lamentably, there are many Catholics who have very little knowledge of St. Vincent or the work of the various branches of the Vincentian family and there are many places in the U.S. (including my current location in the Minneaplis/St. Paul area) where there is little or no Vincentian presence that might serve an educative function. This is particularly unfortunate because when people do learn about Vincent, they become excited about the idea of living the Gospel message through service to the poor and seek to follow his example.
Fortunately, there are now some wonderful internet-based resources to learn more about St. Vincent and the work of the Vincentian family. In addition to the famvin website and the Vincentian Wikipedia (to which new material is being added almost daily), there is a new website, VinFormation, that provides various resources, including podcasts, timelines of Vincentian Saints and Blesseds, testimonials, games and other interactive learning tools. Although it is still a work-in-progress and still undergoing extensive development (some of the features are not yet fully operational), it is already a wonderful site, one you will enjoy as well as learn from.
In May 2002, Pope John Paul II titled his World Communication Day message, Internet: A New Forum for Proclaiming the Gospel. Recognizing the power of the internet to provide a new avenue for evangelization and catechesis, he “summon[ed] the whole Church bravely to cross this new threshold, to put out into the deep of the Net.” These resourses on St. Vincent and the Vincentians represent a response to Pope John Paul’s challenge that will benefit all of us. If you aren’t already a friend of this wonderful Saint who so took the Gospel to heart (and even if you already are), take a look at VinFormation and the other sites I’ve linked.