Past member events:

2015 Vincentian Retreat

“Every encounter contains the possibility of coming to know the Divine in a new way.” This was one of many en-couraging messages received by more than 80 Cincinnati District Vincentians and friends who attended the District’s Annual Vincentian Retreat Saturday, March 21, at the West End Outreach Center.

Dr. Gillian Ahlgren, Professor of Theology at Xavier University and Director of Xavier’s Institute for Spirituality and Social Justice, led an inspiring morning filled with reflection, discussion, prayer and fellowship. The theme for the day was “Friendship with God and with One Another: How Does Walking Together Change Us?”

Dr. Ahlgren’s remarks were woven through a series of relevant quotes from 21 historical and contemporary theologians, ranging from St. Augustine to Pope Francis, from St. Teresa of Avila to Oscar Romero and from Thomas Merton to Henri Nouwen. The quotes were organized around the three essential elements of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, spirituality, friendship and service.

Spirituality: “It must be understood that not all imaginations are by their nature capable of this meditation; yet all souls are capable of loving.” - St. Teresa of Avila

Along the way, the retreatants were reminded that “we engage with the poor and suffering not because of what we do for them, but because they have so much to teach us, about God, ourselves and what is truly important in life.”

Friendship: “Dare to love and to be a real friend. The love you give and receive is a reality that will lead you closer to God as well as those whom God has given you to love.” - Henri Nouwen

Lively small group discussions followed each of the morning’s three sessions, exploring challenging questions such as “How do you maintain connection with God through your days?” “What has friendship taught you about who you are?” and “How has service taught you about injustice?”

Service: “I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.” - Pope Francis, Joy of the Gospel

The retreat attendees were sent out into a beautiful, sunny, first day of spring, having reconnected with God and with their fellow Vincentians, and filled with a renewed commitment to the Society and its call to spirituality, friendship and service.