Convent Station preparation

From VincentWiki

This is intended as a temporary page where presenters for the Convent Station workshop can compare notes.

Opening reflection possibilities or as pieces that could be used to regroup folks after breaks

  • Find Us Faithful 4 minutes and 42 seconds
  • a four minute prayer powerpoint that contextualizes use of internet as but latest development in our efforts at communicating the word.
  • very short overview of charism heritage in use of the technology of the day.

Perspectives on the workshop


Attendees of this workshop represent varying facets and phases in the process of communicating our charism.

  • "Public Relations"
  • Formation (and discernment of) vocation
  • Technological underpinnings for using the internet in public relations and formation

As a result attendees bring a rich cross section of concerns and interests in the over-all project of communicating the charism.

Public relations people provide the public face of our various Congregations. Using a variety of media they chronicle the day-to-day activities. Their emphasis will often be on communicating information news and using the interet to reach a wider audience.
Formation people tend to more concerned with the deeper dimensions of passing on the charism to those who hopefully carry on the work of our various institutions as our numbers diminish or looking for new members, lay and vowed, who will carry the torch in coming decades. Their primary concern will be how can the internet be used in forming and mentoring people in the charism. Their concerns go a step further in seeking way to share and deepen perspectives that transform the lives of those being formed.
Technology people are those to whom the above people turn for the backgrouond work of using the internet in the service of information and formation. These people will be more concerned about the nuts and bolts of using the internet.

One of the advantages of this mix at the workshop is that each group can come to appreciate better the over-all process of communicating the charism.

Communication and formation go hand in hand, both are served by technology.

From the preliminary questionnaire sent to leadership it seems most attendees will be coming from the perspective of formation with a strong interest in how VinFormation can be used and adapted for their own purposes.

During the course of the day we hope to address this wide variety of concern either directly in our presentation or indirectly via handouts or links to further resource material.

Today is not about information, it’s about empowerment. Providing you with the tools to help you fulfill the critical needs in your mission through the use of technology. You will see some of the ways we think might be helpful-- but during the course of this day we hope you can identify what would be most empowering for you, and next steps to make that a reality. We intend this not as a one-stop workshop, but the beginning of an ongoing process.

Also, it will be important to remember that what follows is a "work in progress". How well it progresses will in large measure depend on how well it sserves you and how you contribute your ideas and material.


It is our hope that at various points in this workshop you may experience some of the following...

"I didn't know that!"
"I wish we could do something like that!"
"What are next steps?"


The following material is intended as a context for the day.

FAMVIN.ORG speaks to the concerns of providing both

  • news and information about how the charism is being lived today
  • resources for those seeking a deeper grounding in living the charism (the Vincnetian Encyclopedia and Vinformation)

It also has the potential for being a tool of collaboration in various form of ministry and collective advocacy on behalf of those we serve.

Purpose of FAMVIN.ORG

The purpose of is to use the internet to foster better service of those served by the Vincentian Charism through

  • knowledge of one another - our similarities of purpose and the complimentarity of our differences of approach, in the words of Fr. Robert Maloney, CM a former Superior General, a "kind of daily newspaer for the entire Vincentian Family".
  • fostering collaboration for more effective ministry, formation and advocacy

Collaboration presupposes knowledge.

Early in his life Vincent realized that service called for efficient utililization of resources and cooperation.

We each believe in the value of our charism and the unique way we have been reflecting the charism perspective. Ultimately the issue each of us faces is how do we encourage others to walk in our footsteps.

In the age of the internet each of us is seeking how to harness its power so we might continue to serve and serve most effectively. To this end each of us uses email and has established websites.

The issue addressed by is that so often the various groups that today carry the spirit of Vincent, Louise and Elzabeth seem to work in "silos", to a large extent unaware of what the other hand is doing.

The charism is richer than any one of our manifestations of it. The advantage of famvin lies in its current size and depth.

Relationship of FAMVIN to websites of individual branches

The aim of is not to replace the individual websites of our various congregations but rather to mutually reinforce our efforts.

We all seek visibility and richer content for our sites. can be a valuable resource for developing material and enriching the content of our sites.

An analogy to consider is that is like the anchor store in a large mall that draws visitors not only to itself but to all the individual stores in the mall. "Location, location, location is the watch word in real estates whether real or virtual.

At present each month the English language version of is visited by people from more than 160 countries. And then there are the less well-developed versions in Spanish, Italian, Polish and French.

For a variety of technical reasons entries bubble up to the top of search results for things related to our charism.

A prime ranking in Google search results is worth more than many expensive mass mailings.

Components of

At present has three major elements.

  • News blog (WordPress)
  • Encyclopedia (WikiMedia - Wikipedia)
  • VinFormation

Link to Powerpoint exploring the facets below

News blog

The news blog is the equivalent of an online newspaper for the Vincentian Family.

  • Featured Article - a more significant piece of news that remains at the top of the page generally for a week at a time.
  • Recent articles - News items are added at a rate of approcimately 2 per day.
  • Daily Reflections - These reflections are taken from the writings of various key figure in the Vincentian Family.
  • Featured Videos - Vincentian oriented videos are appearing almost daily on YouTube and other social networking sites.

Continuing further down the page...

  • Subscribe - Links to receive information from the site in email or other ways.
  • Older posts - A drop down menu of the archives listed by month.
  • Visitor locations - A click on this link leads to a larger graphic which show where the visitors to famvin come from and their approximate numbers.
  • Learn more - This section contains links to VINCENTIANA, the official international journal of the Congregation of the Miss and could just as easily link to yours; the Vincentian Encyclopedia (moree this later); the International Vincentian Formation Center in Paris (and could include a link to the international Vincentian Integration experiece of the Daughters of Charity

Even further down the page...

  • Tags - These allow one to search according to various topic listed in the "cloud".
  • Recent Comments - This contains a listing of comments made by viewers about various articles and can serve as the beginning of further dialogue.

Finally continuing scrolling down the page

  • Vincentian Family events - This links to a Google calendar focuses on current Vincentian Family Events. It is interactive so it can be added to by registered members of teh site. It can also be expanded to view upcoming events. (This could be something you could use to both publixize your events and check out whether a major events conflicts with someone elses major event.)
  • Headlines from CMGLOBAL reflects the fact that up until this point the Congregation of the Mission has been the sole financial support of this site.


The Vincentian Encyclopedia, modeled after Wikipedia and using the same open source software, is intended to serve as a kind of reference library for material of more than passing interest for the more than 2 million people walking in the footsteps of Vincent, Louise, Frederick and Elizabeth.


  • Currently it comprises more than 1,000 articles about us and our charism
  • It is definitely a "work in progress" but already has attracted significant notice from search engines like Google when it comes to searching for information related to our charism.
  • By reason of its size one of the key features is a very powerful site-specific search engine. Entering a word or series of words in the search box to the top left of every page is the magic key to finding materials. Just below the search box is a link to "Categories" which amount to pre-configured searches for material related to a specific category.
  • There is a growing gallery of images which can be freely downloaded and used. Visit to explore these images in groups of 48 at a time.
  • There are Spanish, French, German and Polish versions of the Vincentian Encyclopedia in varying stages of development.
  • In passing it might be important to note the original Wikipedia can be another source of spreading word about our charism. It is well worth our while to searchin wikipedia articles related to us to see what is being said and also to contribute articles.

We could spend a full day exploring its depth and learning how to contribute material. In this workshop we can only touch on the basic elements and pont to appropriate tutorials.

Of interest to participants of the workshop are articles in the following categories:


VinFormation represents the latest project of famvin.

VinFormation is rooted in the belief that adult formation online is different from methods commonly used for traditional students in secondary education settings as well methods used in a classroom situation.

Mission of Vinformation - Equipping Vincentians with the tools of technology for service and systemic change by

1. Showcasing the advantages of technology for formation through;

Sharing the variety of best practices available;
Increasing awareness of learning-style diversity;
Demystifying terminology and concepts surrounding technology.

2. Supporting the adoption of technological innovations for formation through;

Researching emerging technologies;
Assessing the effectiveness of innovations for particular audiences and levels of formation;
Developing games, simulations and other interactive media; and
Offering models/templates adaptable for various audiences.

3. Fostering collaboration for formation through;

Increasing communication necessary for collaboration;
Enlisting and supporting the expertise of charism specialists who develop and present content; and
Compiling a data bank of resources.

Current Elements of VinFormation

  • Shared stories
  • Puzzles
  • History - (note how these time lines can be integrated with the Vincentian Encyclopedia or with material from your sites.)
  • Systemic Change
  • Games
  • Podcasts - See how dePaul University uses its personnel to educate about how mission impacts them

Other features

  • Quotes
  • Spiritual Advisors
  • Daily Reflection
  • Do you speak Vincentian
  • First time visitors
  • Guest book

Tentative flow of the day

8:00 a.m. Set-up Meeting Space (John, Monica, & Bruce)

9:00 a.m.

  • Opening Prayer (Bruce)
  • Welcome (Monica)
What we have heard from you...
  • Overview of Day (John)
    • What we this workshop can and can't do.
    • Three things we hope to hear from you at the end of the day..
  1. "I didn't know that!"
  2. "I wish we could do that!"
  3. "What are the next steps...
  • It is about...Imagining Possibilities and Empowerment

9:15 a.m. FamVin as context (John)

  • Overview of FamVin
    • News (blog)
    • Reference (wiki
    • Formation
  • Note the continuum from information through formation. (Monica will say more 9:40)

9:40 a.m. VinFormation (Monica)

  • Explain how the continuum of communication from information through formation are important to the Vincentian Family.
  • Review Mission Statement of VinFormation.
  • Explain handouts and worksheets.
  • Q&A?

10:00 a.m. Spirituality & Ministry - Online course, Mentoring (Bruce)

  • From head to heart...
  • Resource: "Starting Point for Vincentian Formation One of the finest popular presentations of Vincentian Formation.
  • Case study of concern about water
    • Information oriented presentations already available
    • Moving toward formation oriented materials
  • Equipment
  • More in depth presentation at 2PM
  • Q&A

10:45 a.m. Break

11:00 a.m. Systemic Change (John)

  • Presentations related to Systemic Change
  • Hobson’s Choice - Experience the frustration of not having any "real" choices.
  • "Mirror of Justice" Model - Watching experts in dialogue
  • Q&A

11:45 a.m. Shared Stories (Monica)

  • Explore the importance of stories in forming our Vincentian cultural identity.
  • More on the mechanics of sharing our stories in the 3:30 PM session
  • Resource: Sharing our storiesOne of the finest popular presentations of Vincentian Formation.

12:00 p.m. Recap of the Morning (John, Monica, Bruce)

  • What have you heard?
  • What applications do you envision?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What questions do you have?

12:20 p.m. Depart for Lunch

1:30 p.m. Games (Monica)

  • Briefly play Jeopardy Game
  • Talk about games and their value for formation.
  • Briefly mention other games.
  • Q&A

2:00 p.m.

  • Possible breakout sessions
    • Online Mentoring (Bruce)
      • What opportunities there are for mentors and mentees.
      • Methods
      • Training
      • Equipment
      • Q&A
    • How do I...?"""

2:40 p.m. Break

2:50 p.m. Other possibilities

  • Timelines (John)
  • Do you speak Vincentian?
  • FaceBook
  • YouTube
  • Virtual Tour
  • Q&A

3:30 p.m. Podcasting (Bruce)

  • Simple and complex.
  • Flip Video and Advocacy
  • Equipment - barebones
  • Q&A

3:50 p.m. Q&A over the Workshop (Monica, John & Bruce)

  • Discussion of next steps

4:15 p.m. Leave for Liturgy

4:30 p.m. Mass

Further Resources

Vincentian Encyclopedia

(not-for-profit organizations, non-governmental organizations/NGOs, civil society and public sector/government agencies, departments and initiatives)"

- Work of the People - - Busted Halo model of a calendar -

Earlier notes


Expectations and Concerns

Sharing backgrounds (eg. responsibilities - PR, Formation, Technical) and concerns (greatest needs) Exploring what this workshop can and cannot offer

Copies of all worksheets handed out today can be downloaded at this link.

Possible adaptations and uses of material already developed

Exploration of the Strengths, Weakness, Possible uses, Adaptability and Formatting requirements of each of the following

  • Shared Stories - Short video segments, personal anecdotes, lessons learned, storytelling. Worksheet
  • Systemic Change - Self-paced independent online study course, presenting step by step a concept which is difficult to understand. Worksheet
  • Puzzles - Educational word game, geared to a more academic or verbally sophisticated audience. Worksheet
  • Games - Educational games based on popular U.S. television shows.Worksheet
Vincentian Jeopardy
"Who Wants to Be a Vincentian?”
Hobson's Choice - A game about homelessness - and the difficulties of getting off the streets. The game tries to give a sense of the kinds of obstacles homeless people have to work with. Worksheet
  • History - Timelines of key congregational persons and events. Worksheet
  • Podcasts - Radio-style educational audio programs that can be played over the Internet or personal iPod. Over 3,600 education-related podcasts already exist in iTunes library. Worksheet

Online Mentoring

  • Direct personal interaction between teacher and learner(s), and may involve giving information, demonstrating, questioning, problem-solving, directing learner’s work, observing and assessing learner’s performance, and providing feedback. Worksheet

Live Online Presentation/Virtual Meeting

Taking place in real time, an instructor-led online learning event is one in which all participants are logged on at the same time and communicate directly with each other (time dependent, place independent). The instructor maintains control of the class, with the ability to "call on" participants. It mimics the format most learners are familiar with - the traditional instructor-led classroom. Can be implemented using visual aids with or without spoken audio, played over the internet. Reach out to a small or large group, with reduced travel, work interruption and downtime. Others view your presentation using any web browser. Possibilities include screencasting, sharing presentations done in PowerPoint, etc., and synchronized web surfing. Worksheet

In-Depth Case Study with Discussion

Small groups of 5-10 address case-based tasks, exchanging points of view while working through a problem-solving process. For example, the “Spirituality and Ministry” online course conducted by Fr. Krause, based on reading assignments followed by group blog. Worksheet

Formation Topics

  • Jesus Evangelizer of the Poor
  • Vincentian Virtues
  • Apostolic Reflection and Discernment
  • Who is My Neighbor?
  • Volunteer or Vocatin?
  • Prayer in the Vincentian Tradition
  • Saints and Blessed
  • Catholc Social teaching
  • The Blessed Virgin Mary in the Vincentian Tradition
  • Vincentian Family
  • Rule of te SVDP Society
  • Vincentian Spiritualit in Everyday Life


Interactive Map - Interactive map of Vincentian Paris Example of a Virtual Tour - The Wright Brothers Quarters Worksheet

Brainstorming individual needs

Having seen a variety of approaches to adult learning what resonates for your group and your perspective.

Paths to adaptation
  • Send us material to copy and paste into existing templates

If you give us text (and photos, if appropriate) we can drop that into an existing template. For example

    • different categories for the Jeopardy game focused on aspects of your congregation, health care institution, etc.
    • a full blown version of "Do you speak "charism"?"
Adapted from Do you speak Ignatian? Boston College
Another example Spiritual Literacy
  • Tell us what structural adaptations would make an existing template helpful to your needs

For example,

  • Give us you ideas of approaches you would like to see such
    • Adaptation for mobile phone usage
    • Tutorial on the effective use of media such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.


1:30/45 - 4:00

Mentoring/Virtual Meetings

Extended online formation
  • A case history

Spirituality and Ministry in the Vincentian Tradition

  • Opportunities
  • Challenges
Virtual Meetings
  • New inexpensive/free possibilities
"Fishbowling" experts in discussion

This approach is basically a group of experts, perhaps 5-10, representing a wide range of opinions in bulletin board or emails style dialogue with each other.

Although passive in the sense that non-experts are only observors it can be facinating to see the ideas exchange.

  • Some Examples
    • Mirror of Justice - a panel of conservative through liberal catholic legal scholars discussing issues of the day from the viewpoint of legal ramifications.
Self-paced learning website
  • Some examples

Such can be navigated in two ways:

Sequentially: by using the “next” links at the bottom of each page, or Randomly: by using the links in the left column in the order you choose.

Most of the pages in this web site include questions for you to ponder as you consider how this perspective might be integrated into your life.

Simple navigation with 3 brief "illustrations" on the right side of each screen. Periodic Mini-Quizzes give the opportunity to self-check knowledge.

New Media in Communicating our Charism

=Some innovative examples


Many religious communities now have their own YouTube "channels".

See the famvinglobal channell at A community uses YouTube to let members share in their General Assembly


FlipVideo cameras are changing the way people think of videoa. These inexpensive (around $200) digital cameras the size of a pack of cigarettes are capable of recording an hour of HD digital movies for instant uploading to the web. They open up new ways of telling the stories of the people we serve, getting oral histories from our senior members and lots more. This will only enhance the possibilities of using YouTube in our ministries.

FlipVideo offers assistance in getting this magical pieces of equipment into the hands of non-profits.


As BusinessWeek notes Facebook is no longer just for kids.

"If we told you that your organization could potentially reach a network of more than 60 million individuals, 85% of which have a college degree and many users with an active interest in changing the planet, would you be interested in taking 10 minutes to start utilizing this network? What if I told you it was free for your organization to use. Does that peak your interest even more?"

And that is just in the United States.

Of Facebook's 132 million users, nearly 63% are outside North America. The site, which had been translated into 20 languages including French, Spanish, and Mandarin, has recently added 69 more. The fastest growing segment is the population 25 and older.

So it's no longer just for American kids!

Can we afford not to be present in this new "agora" as St. Paul referred to such places in his times?

Even TV networks such as CNN have concluded they cannot afford to be absent from social networking channels such as Facebook and Twitter.

Not a week goes by without receiving notice of followers of Vincent, Louise and Elzabeth adding to the ranks.

Use of Technology Tools for Online Formation-- or E-Learning

The most relevant aspects of the latest online technology as they apply to Formation (adapted from E-learning Blog):

• Open Source Software & Services

• Harnessing Collective Intelligence- ??Consider the following:??· Wikipedia · ( – shared, tagged bookmarks?· Cloudmark – collaborative spam filtering

??• Everyone as Publisher - ??The barrier to being able to create content has dramatically fallen. Probably the best example of this are blogs. It also includes all sorts of other ways for us to create content including Flickr (photos), eVite (invitations), Podcasts, and the list goes on and on.

??• Aggregation & Tagging?? - Now that everyone publishes, information overload is taken to even new heights. So, to help make sense of this, we have ways of grabbing this information and pulling it together through mechanisms like RSS aggregators.

??• Lightweight Programming & Plugins?? - Many applications are being built as small components that can be plugged into the middle of other applications. The classic example of this is Google Maps that allows you to embed a map in the middle of your web page. In the middle of my HTML based course I can easily drop in a Flash interaction, or I can drop in a brief demonstration or presentation from YouTube. The number of components that I can drop-in is increasing dramatically.

Have you considered?
  • Using your "senior" or retired members for example as a task force to monitor what is being said about your congregation on the Internet in plces such as Wikipedia?

Evaluations and Next steps?

Who else should be involved in these projects
Sharing best practices
Supporting development of use of Internet in Formation
Fostering collaboration in Formation
Sharing Vincentian Formation materials