DePaul is the world’s hub for Vincentian history
January 10, 2013
There are more than two million people in the world who work or volunteer in an organization that looks to St. Vincent de Paul for its inspiration.
To serve them, as well as the scholarly community, DePaul made the decision to become the world’s central resource for Vincentian history and scholarship.
“We have put together unparalleled archival, library and special collections illustrating Vincentian history, spirituality and praxis around the world,” said the Rev. Edward R. Udovic, C.M., DePaul’s senior executive for university mission and vice president for teaching and learning resources.
“DePaul is uniquely suited to play this role because it is an academic institution with library, archives and special collections already in place,” Udovic adds. “These efforts support the university’s own Vincentian identity, as well as supporting the research and heritage needs of scholars and members of the worldwide Vincentian family.”
DePaul launched “All Things Vincentian,” a Web portal to resources on the Vincentian Collection website. It also launched a Web-based database of searchable Vincentian quotes called “What did Vincent say?,” a first-of-its-kind virtual exhibition highlighting Vincentian connections, and a Vincentian History Research Network blog.
Because the resources have grown so much, DePaul hired a specialist to ensure coordination and accessibility for the collection.
Resources available on campus and online are vast. The Vincentian Studies Institute of the United States (V.S.I.) came under the university’s sponsorship in 2007. Founded in 1979 by the then 10 provinces of the Daughters of Charity and the Vincentians in the United States, the V.S.I. brought its mission and substantial resources to join the university’s efforts.
Meanwhile, DePaul’s library joined the Catholic Research Resources Alliance, a collaborative effort of Catholic universities, to provide global access to Catholic research collections.
Opportunities are available for non-scholars as well. Together with St. John’s and Niagara universities, DePaul launched the Vincentian Mission Institute to educate and form senior leaders for their roles in sustaining and advancing DePaul’s Vincentian and Catholic identities.
Other Vincentian initiatives include the following:
• In 2009, DePaul launched Via Sapientiae, a Web portal that collects, organizes and provides open access to scholarly works produced by DePaul’s faculty, staff, centers and institutes, and students. It also showcases DePaul’s unique Vincentian heritage materials.
• The Office of Mission and Values produced an award-winning documentary, “Vincent de Paul: Charity’s Saint,” which introduced St. Vincent’s history and the relevance of his legacy today. The documentary was distributed to all faculty, staff and trustees, and also is available via Barnes & Noble online in several languages.
• Communications about DePaul’s Vincentian mission were expanded with the addition of “Vincentian Story Corps” and other venues.
• The Vincentian Heritage Journal was established and is published under university sponsorship.
• The weekly podcast series “Let’s Talk about Vincent de Paul” is available to all faculty, staff and board members.
• A conference titled “Vincent de Paul’s and Louise de Marillac’s Worlds in Archives, Collections, and Scholarly Research” was organized, and an electronic installation titled “The Basilica of Saint Vincent de Paul during Paris’ Catholic Renouveau” was prepared for the DePaul Art Museum.