Presenter Information

Alison Forrestal Ph.D.


Alison Forrestal explains how the government of the Congregation developed and functioned, and how it operated in relation to the Ladies of Charity and the Daughters of Charity. Vincent de Paul devoted a great deal of attention to governance for all three groups. For them “to share a sense common of identity and familial fraternity,” he emphasized that they were united through their common purpose. He expected everyone involved in government to be guided by trust in providence and the imitation of Christ. He also paid special attention to the formation of leaders for all three groups and treated those leaders as collaborators. The way he managed and trained personnel is described. He made sure the Congregation’s government was flexible enough to respond to needs of the individuals within it and to use their gifts effectively. Flexibility was also essential to cope with new situations. Forrestal cites specific applications of Vincent’s governing principles.