Presenter Information

Margaret J. Kelly D.C.


Margaret Kelly uses the early council meetings of the Daughters of Charity to examine Vincent de Paul’s method of discernment and decision making. The steps of the method are given contemporary wording and examples of specific situations are offered to illustrate it. The opinions of all council members were considered, with the final decision resting with Vincent or Louise de Marillac. The structure of the meetings is described. The values that guided decision making were God’s glory, the interests of the Company, and the interests of the individual. Vincent stressed the importance of giving reasons for or against any proposition and doing so as objectively as possible. He also divided an issue or a question into parts to better address the whole. When necessary, he brought in councilors or outsiders who had “special competence or direct involvement in the case.”