Vincentian Wisdom

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Sayings that have shaped us...

Words of Wisdom from our Heritage

A respository of favorite sayings that have shaped us.

Please share your favorite wisdom saying, sayings that have shaped your life.


Fr. Robert Maloney, CM writes ...

"It (simplicity) is the virtue I love most" (SV I, 284). "I call it (simplicity) my gospel" (SV IX, 606). "May God instill in you ... a deep love for Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our father, our mother, and our all" (SV V, 534)

Fr. Richard McCullen, CM writes...

Humility is the basis of all holiness in the Gospels and a bond of the entire spiritual life. To one who possesses this humility everything good will come along with it. Without it, one will lose any good one possesses, and will always be anxious and worried. (This translation is slightly re-worded from that given in our official Common Rule in order to express the idea in inclusive language. You can check the official version on p.111 of our Constitutions and Statutes.) May God be pleased to grant the Company to which you belong the grace of of raising you, by its example and practices, to a great love of Our Lord Jesus Christ who is our father, our mother and our all. SV 5: 537 Letter 2001

Fr. Joe Daly, CM writes

"Good makes no noise"

Sr. Betty Ann McNeil, DC writes...

"If God is the center of your life, no words will be needed. Your mere presence will touch their hearts." Vincent de Paul , Abelly, 2:5 "The apostolic life does not exclude contemplation but encompasses it and profits by it to know better the eternal truths it must proclaim." Vincent de Paul, #1054, CCD III:344-45.

Fr. Johnson Nedungaden, CM from India writes...

"The good God always does our business, when we do His" St. Vincent

Fr. John Freund, CM writes...

"Let us love God, but let it be with the strength of our arms and the sweat of our brows." "May we love what he loved and practice what he taught" (one of the earliest Vincentian prayers ) If love of God is a fire, then zeal is its flame; if the love of God is a sun, then zeal is its rays. Zeal is what is most pure in the love of God. Zeal helps us rise above all sorts of difficulties, not only with the force of reason but also with that of grace.

Sr. Regina Bechtle, SC writes...

"Grace has its moments. Let us abandon ourselves to the Providence of God and be on our guard against anticipating it." "First of all, God demands the heart, and then the work."

Fr. Ed McQuillan, CM writes

"I am not for this place or that - but for any place that God wishes to send me" (St. Vincent - July 31, 1634 (Father has been carrying this saying in his wallet since 1954 when it was given to him by someone when he on the way to new assignment.)

Ana Maria P. Escaño writes

(former member of International Secretariat of JMV)

  1. For what is charity but love and gentleness. (SV IX, 267)
  2. For all God's pleasures are ever new and full of variety, although he never changes. I am in his love, with an affection such as his goodness desires and which I oew out of love for him. (SV I, 417-418)
  3. Let us endeavor to grow more and more in the confidence that in whatever state we are placed by God we shall be secure, although we may think that we would be better off somewhere else.
  4. We must know how to wait with patience, and to expect more from God than from men.


Sr. Regina Bechtle, SC writes

...Two of Louise's sayings that speak profoundly to me are: "Do not be upset if things are not as you would want them to be for a long time to come. Do the little you can very peacefully and calmly so as to allow room for the guidance of God in your lives. Do not worry about the rest." "You see a great deal of distress that you are unable to relieve. God sees it also. Bear the pains of the poor together with them, doing all you can to give them whatever help you can, and remain in peace."

Sr. Betty Ann McNeil, DC writes

"The love by which God wishes you to go to him is by the royal road of the Cross. I do not doubt you will allow yourselves to be led this way, willingly and joyfully, in order to carry out his holy will." Louise, L 500

Ana Maria P. Escaño writes

(former member of International Secretariat of JMV)

  1. I must perseveringly await the coming of the Holy Spirit although I do not know well when that will be. I must accept this uncertainty as well as my inability clearly to perceive at this time the path which God wishes me to follow in His service. I ust abandon myself entirly to His Providence so as to be completely His. In order to prepare my soul for this, I must willingly renounce all things to follow Him. (Writings, p. 717)
  2. Above all, be very gentle and courteous toward the poor. You know that they are our masters and that we must love them tenderly and respect them deeply. (Writings, pp. 320-321)

Catherine Laboure


Sr. Betty Ann McNeil, DC, writes...

"The problem that divides men [and women] in our day is no longer a problem of political structure; it is a social problem; it has to do with what is preferred, the spirit of self-interest or the spirit of sacrifice, whether society will be only a great exploitation to the profit of the strongest or a consecration of each individual for the good of all and especially the protection of the weak." "The world has grown cold, it is for us Catholics to rekindle the vital fire which has been extinguished." Frédéric Ozanam, Letter #90, 23 February 1835.

Fr. John Freund, CM writes...

"How I long to circle the globe in a band of charity" ===Deacon Dan Rosen=== of Canada writes...This is one of my favorite sayings. It makes my visitig at the homeless shelter make sense and I think is at the heart of the Vincentian tradition. "Knowledge of the poor and their needs is not gained by pouring over books or in discussion with politicians, but by visiting the slums where they live, sitting by the bedside of the dying, feeling the cold they feel and learning from their lips the causes of their woes."


Sr. Regina Bechtle, SC writes....

Here are two of Elizabeth Seton's sayings that have always resonated in my heart. "Knowing as I so well know your heart‚s desire to serve our Lord, I can say nothing to you but keep well to what you believe to be the grace of the moment. You will often be at a stand for what is best in a situation so new, but only do your best, and leave the rest to our dear God." (quoted by her first biographer, Rev. Charles White, and reported to have been her words to sisters going on mission, either to Philadelphia in 1814 or New York in 1817) "Hope always awake whispers Mercy for the future, as sure as the past." (to Antonio Filicchi, June 22, 1807)

Sr. Betty Ann McNeil, DC writes

Faith lifts the staggering soul on one side, Hope supports it on the other, experience says it must be--and love says let it be To Julia Scott , 26 March 1810 ===Ana Maria P. Escaño=== (former member of International Secretariat of JMV), writes ...

  1. You know I go fearless, for you know where, and how strong, is my trust. (Letter to Eliza Sadler)
  2. The heart can be heard only by Him who reads without words, and receiving the thousand sighs for souls so precious... Will you pray? Do, try to promise me that whenever you see the sun set you will lift your heart with mine, and pierce beyond His golden clouds. (Letter to Julia Scott)


Sr. Betty Ann McNeil, DC writes...

"O children, love the poor and do not be too hard on them! "You should always have one hand open to give, in order to receive much in the other." Rosalie Rendu (White Wings and Barricades, 105) A Daughter of Charity should be a resting place upon which the whole weary world may lay its burdens. Rosalie Rendu (White Wings and Barricades)