Presenter Information

Margaret John Kelly D.C.


Vatican II emphasized the need for Catholics and Catholic religious communities to focus on their beginnings (their primitive spirit). Margaret John Kelly uses this imperative to show how the roots of “the modern charities movement” are found in the work and leadership of Vincent de Paul. She explains why it is important to remember Vincent. The many parallels between his time and Church and our own are discussed, as is his relevance. Kelly calls him “a creative reconciler” because he was able to harness competing interests and make them work together in concrete ways for the service of the poor. Examples are given, with special attention paid to his work in reconciling the sometimes conflicting ministries of the Church: charity and social justice. Vincent’s ability to unify different economic classes and to collaborate effectively with laypeople were hallmarks of his leadership. The elements that led to his formation as a creative reconciler are examined.