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Abstract

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul marked the 175th anniversary of its founding in the United States. The Society’s usual works are described. Timothy Williams explains how the organization adapted to continue them during the pandemic, and particularly how it substituted for the home visits that have been the Society’s signature work since its founding. The Vincentian Family and the Society were created in times of political strife, widespread illness, and economic catastrophe, so the words and actions of their founders can inspire and comfort us now. The Society took special action in response to George Floyd’s murder. As Williams writes, “Our response began with self-examination, grounded in our spirituality and in our obligations to each other as Christians. To understand the faults we perceive in society, we must have the humility to examine and accept our own faults.” A webinar series allowed members to share their stories related to social issues, such as economic discrimination, crime, and violence. After the webinars, paired groups of members of different races shared more of their experiences. This strengthened their understanding of each other and equipped them to better serve their neighbors.

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