Founder’s Week Overview

St. John’s 17th annual Founder’s Week falls on  the anniversary of the Founding of the Mission by St. Vincent and the Feast of the Conversion of St. Vincent this year.

This year’s theme is “Be Vincentian,” chosen by the University Mission Council in an attempt to foster “a deeper understanding and appreciation of St. Vincent de Paul” and his contributions to society, especially the poor, said MaryAnn Dantuono, associate director of the Vincentian Center for Church and Society.

The events were not just limited to students, but included various luncheons and service opportunities for administrators and faculty.

Monday included leadership workshops, the unveiling of a student art exhibit and a chance for students to make a trip to Washington D.C. in order to participate in the March for Life rally.

Tuesday, there was a lecture on social justice, a networking opportunity with St. John’s alumni, and the Amazing Vincentian race.

The race required students to walk through various sites on campus to learn more about St. John’s Vincentian heritage.

According to Dantuono, St. Vincent saw the injustice in France as too grave to be ignored and challenged this by creating the Mission, Daughters of Charity and the Ladies of Charity, who are receiving new officers and members this Monday.

Faculty members and administrators were provided with several luncheons over the week that focused on Vincentian research, service training, and a book discussion.

Some graduate students attended the Post Graduate Service Awareness Dinner on Monday and also had a chance to interact with various other graduates and faculty at the graduate roundtable: “A Vincentian Approach to 21st Century Issues.” Issues such as educational reform and health care were discussed, according to Dantuono.

“[The graduate students] have interdisciplinary backgrounds, which allows them the opportunity to mingle with others that they probably wouldn’t get in on a normal day,” she said.

Sister Margaret Kelly, a member of Daughters of Charity, said “All know the amazing work that he accomplished to alleviate poverty in 17th century France and to reform the Church, but we need to get beyond and below those achievements to appreciate his personality and character in order to truly be challenged to imitate his example and contribute to the Vincentian spirit at St. John’s.”

Dantuono expressed that this week should help people understand how to better carry out St. Vincent’s call to action.

“It is one of the goals of Founder’s Week to increase the University community’s awareness of St Vincent’s mission and life in order that they may better know how to carry out his call to action,” she said.

“I am hoping that this week will allow people to learn how to transform society into what we want in the model of the core values and change the world.”