Vincentian Reflections

What does the Vincentian Charism mean to me?

Kelly Fitzpatrick

Tourism Destination Management & Spanish Class of 2017

Attending a Vincentian university is a constant opportunity and invitation to give back.  Much of what we do is centered around the Vincentian Question: what must be done? It's a short and simple phrase, but it is also powerful and overarching.  What must be done to combat poverty? What must be done to make this person feel safe? What must be done to give every child the education he deserves? The list is unending.  We as Niagara students are encouraged to carry this mentality with us through all that we do, and we realize that little by little, we can make a major impact.  Being a Vincentian means providing an open door.  It means giving back not only monetarily, but also in time, resources, knowledge, and love.  It is welcoming the marginalized, being a mentor, spending time with worthwhile causes, and always seeking to help.  Being a Vincentian is putting oneself second.  It is a never-ending search for any chance to make a difference.  Being a student at a Vincentian university has given me so many people in my life who are "other-focused," and these people have unintentionally pushed me to live my life in a similar way.  The effects of good deeds and kind hearts have the power to spread like wildfire, and it is impossible to not see that here at Niagara.

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Caroline Hampton

NCAA Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference SAAC Representative

My recent experience traveling to Jamaica to teach children English and mathematics was a life-changing experience. St. Vincent and cores of the Niagara University have inspired me in continuing to spread my passion and love for teaching children to different communities throughout the world. Teaching children fills my heart with joy, and makes me feel that I am making an impact and difference with the lives of individuals. My experience in Jamaica, St. Vincent, and the core values of Niagara University has inspired my future plans following graduation, in traveling to Saint Marc, Haiti this summer to teach children for seven weeks.

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Kurt Stahura

Dean of the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management

St Vincent DePaul is of course known for his work with charity. He was a humble, compassionate and benevolent man. After extensive reading and attending lectures related to his life I have also found St. Vincent to be a master of organization, management and building bridges with those that could support him in his endeavors. He was responsible for those living on the extensive grounds that he oversaw and attended to their needs economically, socially and spiritually. If one were to sum up St. Vincent DePaul and his role succinctly one would say that he was a man of service.

What I also appreciate about Vincent is his very human qualities. He had setbacks. He questioned himself. He temporarily abandoned a post he thought to be overwhelming. He was frustrated at times with organizational systems, political dynamics and even the church. What is interesting is that he had grit and a fortitude that might even be construed as stubbornness at times while operating for a divine purpose. In the end the results mattered and he moved forward despite opposition knowing what was best for those for whom he was responsible. 

As a teacher, scholar and administrator I feel that my position is also one of service. As a college we provide structure, tools, and because of our unique heritage, we offer guidance that is borne from the tenants and core values found in the life of St. Vincent DePaul. Like Vincent, as faculty, we hope those who walk upon the grounds of our beautiful Monteagle Ridge thrive within our community unleashing potential that perhaps some never realized existed.

We work hard here at Niagara University. We get frustrated. We question what appear to be archaic methods of doing things. We make mistakes. In the end the results matter. The product we put out into the world is a good one. It is one of intelligence and empathy but also grit. I guess you could say that a little bit of Vincent has rubbed off on all of us

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