College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Centers & Institutes > Center for World Catholicism & Intercultural Theology > World Catholicism Week > 2023 Speakers

2023 Speakers

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Keynote Speakers

Father Tomaz Mavric

Superior General, Congregation of the Mission 
(Rome, Italy) 

The 25th successor to St. Vincent de Paul, Fr. Tomaž Mavrič began his second six-year term in July 2022 as superior general of the Congregation of the Mission and the Company of the Daughters of Charity. In this role, he also serves as director of the Association of the Miraculous Medal (AMM), the Vincentian Marian Youth (VMY), and the Vincentian Lay Missionaries (MISEVI), as well as the ex-officio president of the Executive Committee of the Vincentian Family. 

Born in Buenos Aires to Slovenian parents who had emigrated from then-Yugoslavia after communism took hold following World War II, Fr. Tomaž has four siblings who now live with their families in the United States, Argentina, and Brazil. For the last three years of his elementary education and all of his time in high school, he attended a school founded and run by the Vincentians in Buenos Aires. During those years, he stayed in a boarding school that was also run by the Slovenian Vincentians, which has produced a number of priests and lay missionaries. After high school, he decided to join the Vincentians in Slovenia, and in 1983, he was ordained as a priest in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

During his ministerial life, Fr. Tomaž has served in many diverse international ministries of the Vincentians in Canada, Slovenia, Slovakia, Russia, Ireland, and Ukraine. He has been an assistant pastor, vocation promoter, formator, counselor, retreat director, and he has given parish missions. He also has the experience of working with the poor in Russia and has served as the vice visitor of the Vice Province of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Ukraine. He speaks Russian, Spanish, English, and Slovenian.

Conference Keynote—"Becoming a Church of the Poor: The Vincentian Charism and Reform"

The reform of the church proposed by Pope Francis in the synodal process is inseparable from the integral ecology and the action on behalf of the common good proposed in Laudato Si’ and Fratelli Tutti. The new way of being Church—overcoming the clerical model—is also essentially a new public face of a Church fully committed to the recognition and the protection of life in all its forms. This theme offers the Vincentian Family a great opportunity to rethink its own identity and mission, including a commitment to social, environmental, and political justice.

Daniel F. Pilario, CM (St. Vincent School of Theology--Quezon City, Philippines)

Associate Professor, St. Vincent School of Theology, Adamson University
Director of Research, Adamson University
(Quezon City, Philippines)

Daniel F. Pilario, CM, is a member of the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians) in the Philippines. He is an associate professor at the St. Vincent School of Theology at Adamson University as well as director of research at Adamson in Quezon City, Philippines. During the 2021-22 academic year, he served at St. John University (Queens, New York) as the Vincentian Chair of Social Justice and visiting professor in St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

He comes from the barangay of Hagdan in the municipality of Oslob in the southern Filipino province of Cebu. Fr. Pilario holds both his MA and PhD from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Leuven, Belgium. His book, Back to the Rough Grounds of Praxis: Exploring Theological Method with Pierre Bourdieu (Leuven, 2005), was awarded the Jan en Marie Huyse Prijs by the Leuven Academic Foundation as the best research in the humanities in 2003. He has also written After the End: Reflections of the Happy Theologian in and on the Rough Grounds (2014) and other monographs. 

He edited or coedited several anthologies, the most recent of which are Theology, Conflict and Peacebuilding (2018); Asian Christianities (2018); and Signs of Hope in Muslim-Christian Relations (2020). He also belongs to the editorial boards of several philosophical and theological journals, including Hapag: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Journal Theological Research; Concilium: International Journal of Theology; and Institute of Spirituality in Asia

He has published extensively in national and international academic journals. His field of research covers fundamental theology, cultural theories and inculturation, liberation theology, theological anthropology, methods of theological research, political-social theory, theology and ecology, Catholic social teaching, and justice and human rights. 

Fr. Pilario is also a past president and founding member of DaKaTeo, the Catholic Theological Society of the Philippines and a professorial lecturer at various Filipino universities and seminaries. On the weekends, he regularly ministers at a garbage dumpsite parish in the barangay of Payatas in Quezon City. 

Conference Keynote—"Repair My House: Empowering the Church of the Poor from the Eyes of St. Vincent"

The call to incarnate the “Church of the Poor” is a constant rallying vision of any movement for church reform—from the words of early Church Fathers, to St. Francis of Assisi and the mendicants, from the reformation to the Pact of the Catacombs and liberation theologies. St. Vincent de Paul was confronted with the same challenge by a Huguenot in Montmirail, France: “The pastors are ignorant and vicious, and the faithful are left without instruction…the poor country folks are lost. Don’t tell me that the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit. I do not believe you.” The life and mission of St. Vincent can be read as a reply to this objection. This presentation intends to explore some hermeneutical keys—joy, mercy, reform, encounter/synodality, mission—in Pope Francis’ challenge to reform the Church toward this vision, as it searches for possible inspirations and directions from the ministry and legacy of Vincent de Paul.

Quentin Wodon (International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa, UNESCO—Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

Director, International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa
(Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

Quentin Wodon is director of UNESCO’s International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA). Previously, he worked for 24 years at the World Bank, including as lead economist, lead poverty specialist, and manager of the unit on values and development. Before that, he taught with tenure at the University of Namur (Belgium). He has also taught at American University and Georgetown University in Washington, DC. A business engineering graduate, following an assignment in Asia as laureate of an international award, he worked in brand management for Procter & Gamble. He then shifted careers to join a nonprofit working with the extreme poor, and this experience led him to pursue a career in international development. He holds four PhDs, has 500+ publications, and has held leadership positions with multiple nonprofits as part of his volunteer work. His research has been covered by leading news media around the world. 

Conference Keynote—"Education and Integral Human Development: Challenges and Opportunities"

The Catholic Church and other faith-based service providers play a significant role in efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and promote integral human development, understood as the development of each person and the whole person. Faith also affects people’s behaviors as it relates to investments in human development. Yet the role of faith and faith-based service providers remains insufficiently acknowledged in policy discussions. Similarly, policy discussions and the lessons learned by the international community on what works to achieve the SDGs and promote human development do not sufficiently reach faith-based organizations and faith networks.  

This presentation has 2 aims: (1) to discuss the experiences and role of Catholic and faith-based organizations in contributing to education and integral human development, especially for the poor; and (2) to bring to Catholic and other faith-based educators and all those interested in integral human development expertise and knowledge from the international community, especially UNESCO. While the presentation will be global, a special focus will be placed on challenges and opportunities in Africa where the role of Catholic and other faith-based organizations is especially important. Recent analytical work by UNESCO on the role of non-state actors will also be discussed, as well as needs related to capacity building.

Roundtable Speakers


Alison Forrestal (University of Galway—Galway, Ireland)

Professor of History, Co-Director, Centre for the Study of Religion
University of Galway 
(Galway, Ireland)

Alison Forrestal is a professor of history and co-director of the Centre for the Study of Religion at the University of Galway, Ireland, as well as a member of the Royal Irish Academy. Specializing in the history of religion during the early modern era, she has published many works on the Catholic Reformation, including the monographs Vincent de Paul, the Lazarist Mission, and French Catholic Reform (Oxford, 2017), Fathers, Pastors and Kings: Visions of Episcopacy in Seventeenth-Century France (Manchester, 2004), and Catholic Synods in Ireland, 1600-1690 (Dublin, 1998).

Conference Presentation— "Ways of Knowing: The Laity in Early Vincentian Practices of Reform"

What, if anything, did Catholics mean by a “lay vocation” in the 17th-century? This presentation will focus on the laity in early Vincentian practices of reform and will situate analysis within the broader context of vocational culture as it was emerging in this period. Often, the concept of a lay vocation is considered a later development, especially of the 20th century, but the assessment will show that it was truly in formation centuries before, and that Vincentian activism and activists played a key role in its shaping and expression.

Reverend John Rybolt

Historian, Congregation of the Mission
Vincentian Scholar-in-Residence, DePaul University
(Chicago, IL, USA) 

Born in Los Angeles, CA, Fr. John Rybolt entered the Congregation of the Mission in Perryville, MO, in 1959. After his ordination in 1967, he did graduate studies in Sacred Scripture and received degrees in ministry and theology, including a PhD in Biblical Studies from St. Louis University. He taught in numerous Vincentian seminaries and, in 1994, initiated the Centre International de Formation (CIF) in Paris, a program of ongoing formation for Vincentians and the Vincentian Family. 

Since 2003, he has been the historian of the Congregation, authoring a multi-volume history of the Vincentians, published during the years 2009-2015. A Vincentian scholar-in-residence at DePaul University, Chicago, he continues research, translation, editing, and publishing of materials focused on Vincentian history. Many of his works can be found on the university’s institutional repository, Via Sapientiae. Recent works include assembling, transcribing and translating hitherto unpublished documents from Vincent de Paul, which have been published online in four volumes by DePaul University.  

Conference Presentation—"Vincent de Paul: A Reformer? Two Cases: The Salon of Mme. Acarie and the Council of Conscience"

Was Vincent de Paul a strict conservative or a reformer? To answer that question, this presentation will discuss his participation in the salon of Mme. Acarie, which gave him access to principles of ecclesiastical reform, and also his membership on the council of ecclesiastical affairs. Known as the Council of Conscience, it favored reforming bishops and Vincent’s participation on it gave him the upper hand in the vetting of candidates for the episcopacy and other offices.  

Raymond Sickinger

Professor Emeritus of History and Classics
Providence College
(Providence, RI)

Raymond Sickinger received his MA and PhD from the University of Notre Dame in 1978. He became a member of the Providence College ordinary faculty in 1974 and, since then, has served in a variety of administrative and teaching positions. Until his retirement at the end of 2020, Ray served as a professor of history and public and community service studies; currently, he is professor emeritus in the Department of History and Classics.  

His other past positions at Providence College include director of the Feinstein Institute (2003-2012), chair of the Department of Public and Community Service Studies (2006-2012), and chair of the Department of History and Classics (2015-2019). His research interests in history have revolved around the Nazi Era in German history, the connection of superstition and folklore in popular culture, and especially the impact of faith and service in the case of Frédéric Ozanam, the founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. He has published several articles in Vincentian Heritage on Frédéric Ozanam and one on Ozanam’s close friend and colleague, François Lallier. In 2018, his book, Antoine Frédéric Ozanam, received first prize for best biography from the National Catholic Press Association. 

Ray has been an active member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul since 1985, and he has served as a conference president, council president, National Council member, and National Vice President for the Northeast Region. He was vice president for Vincentian Services from 2005-2011, leader of Goal 4 (systemic change) from 2011-2014, and leader of Goal 1 (formation) from 2014-2016. He has served on the Society's National Board of Directors since its inception and currently chairs its National Leadership Task Force. He has helped to produce numerous materials and videos for the formation of the Society’s members and leaders.  

Ray and his wife, Patricia, are also active members of Our Lady of Good Help Conference and regularly do home visits together. Together, they have a wonderful family of five children and seven grandchildren. 

Conference Presentation—"To Become a Church for the Poor: Frédéric Ozanam’s lay vision of Reform and Transformation "

During his short life in the first half of the nineteenth century, Frédéric Ozanam hoped to bring about a “Regeneration” of the world by forming true community and by building just, caring relationships in a spirit of tolerance. To accomplish this task, a Church that engaged directly with those in need and that saw Democracy as a friend, rather than a foe, was absolutely essential. Within this Church, there needed to be not only priests and religious dedicated to serving those in need and addressing social injustice, but also a dynamic laity committed to helping the Church embrace the new era of change, to deepening their own spiritual lives, and to bringing both charity and justice into the world. In this way, the Church would be renewed and the world would be transformed. It would become a genuine “Church for the Poor.” Ozanam hoped that the Church with its universal mission would bring true liberty, equality, and fraternity not just to the French, but to all peoples. His message, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul he helped to found, continues to inspire women and men in over 150 countries.  


Jorge Costadoat, SJ

Professor of Theology and Associate Researcher
Pontifical Catholic University of Chile
(Santiago, Chile)

A Jesuit priest from Chile, Fr. Jorge Costadoat is an associate researcher and professor of theology, specializing in the Trinity, Christology, and Latin American theology, at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. He has also served the university as director of the theology program (2010-2012) and director of the Manuel Larraín Theological Center (2004-2016). Outside of the university, he also leads a Base Ecclesial Community (BEC) in the greater Santiago area and lectures at various theological centers throughout Latin America and the Carribean. His past positions include twice serving as the coordinator of the Theological Commission for the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in Latin America: from 2000-2004 and again from 2006-2013.

He holds a PhD in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (1993), and among his many publications in Spanish are the following:

Conference Presentation—"The Poor as Theologians"

From its beginnings, liberation theology was intended to be a new way of doing theology. Through the inductive method of see-judge-act, it ensured that the irruption of the poor in the Latin American and Caribbean continent was an unprecedented sign of the times. But it has taken many years to discover that its greatest originality lies in recognizing the right and duty of the poor to be theologians. They not only need to be freed from the multiple causes of their oppression but also, above all, they need to be respected in their dignity as subjects and protagonists of their liberation. The popular and communal reading of the Word of God constitutes the locus theologicus par excellence in which the poor act as agents of their liberating praxis, demanding that professional theologians occupy an auxiliary place in theological work. In this way, Latin American theology develops the Pauline intuition of the value of the “little ones’” knowledge, which confounds the wise of this world.

Dominique Iyolo, CM (International Leadership, Congregation of the Mission—Rome, Italy)

Assistant General, Congregation of the Mission
(Rome, Italy)

Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), Fr. Dominique Iyolo is a Vincentian priest who was elected in 2022 by the General Assembly to serve on the Vincentians’ international leadership team as one of four assistants general. He entered the Congregation of the Mission in 1979 and made his vows in 1986. Ordained in 1988 in Kinshasa, DR Congo, he worked for more than eight years as rector of the Major Seminary of St. Vincent de Paul in Kimweza, DR Congo.

He has taught at the University of Saint Eugene de Mazenod, in Kinshasa. From 2000 to 2009, he assumed the responsibility of visiteur (provincial) of the Province of Congo. At the end of this assignment, he was sent as a missionary to Belgium where he served as superior of the canonical house of Leuven for six years and as the Vincentians' procurator of the Congo in Belgium. 

Fr. Iyolo holds a doctorate from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and wrote his dissertation on the theme: "Humanism without Transcendence? In Dialogue with the Theological Anthropology of Rémi Brague in his Great Trilogy." 

Conference Presentation—"The Vincentian Charism: An Invitation to the Church's Bold Reform Today"

Through his incarnation, death, and resurrection, Jesus made his life a gratuitous gift to communicate divine life to us, thus becoming the redeemer and servant of a fragile and vulnerable humanity. The Church, which finds her true richness in Christ’s poverty, is called to clothe herself with the sentiments of Christ who, by his incarnation, clothed human nature with great dignity and totally transformed it. By living out an unconditional love, faithful to the universal destination of goods (Laudato Si’, 93) and to our shared responsibility in this world that is our common home (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 206), the Church is called to become attentive to the cry of the poor, the excluded, the marginalized (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 187) in order to give them back what is theirs (Fratelli Tutti, 119). She is called to overcome the globalization of indifference (Evangelii Gaudium, 54) by fighting for the dignity, promotion, and integral liberation of the poor.

The Church today needs to question herself on her evangelizing work. In imitation of Vincent de Paul, she is called to become an instrument of salvation for the poor and to be attentive to all the new forms of poverty and vulnerability (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 210).  The many forms of poverty caused by senseless wars, the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis with its unfortunate consequences, the search for power for power’s sake in some countries, social inequalities, the will of people today to become self-determinant and their own creator by making their own natures...all of this invites the Church of our time, as Vincent de Paul did in his time, to a bold and creative reform for the cause of the poor because, according to Vincent de Paul, “love is inventive to infinity.” In order to live the preferential option for the poor, the Church must be daring, having the audacity to do great things and always do “more.”

Theresa Eke, DC (Daughters of Charity International Leadership—Paris, France)

General Councillor, International Leadership Team
Daughters of Charity 
(Paris, France) 

Originally from the province of Nigeria, Sr. Theresa Eke, DC, is a Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and currently lives at the Mother House of the Daughters of Charity in Paris, serving as a general councillor. Early in her mission, she served as a secondary school teacher and was also engaged in prison services, as well as youth ministry.  

She holds a certificate in theology from the Catholic Institute of West Africa (Port Harcourt, Nigeria), a diploma in religious formation from the Institute of Formators in Jos, Nigeria, and a BA in education from the University of Uyo, Nigeria. She also has a BA and license in psychology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and is specialized in clinical psychology and the anthropology of the Christian vocation.

In Nigeria, Sr. Theresa worked as a psychologist in clinical practice and also engaged in the psychospiritual accompaniment of religious, priests, and laity. She served the Daughters of Charity within her province of Nigeria in the areas of formation, project development, and leadership. 

Conference Presentation—"Beyond Charity: Evolution of the Mission of the Daughters of Charity in Sub-Saharan Africa"

The mission of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul was implanted in sub-Saharan Africa in the 20th century, and the sisters currently serve 20 countries in the area. When they first arrived to this part of Africa, the sisters were greeted by what we may call “naked poverty,” which was so horrifying that they quickly proffered solutions to problems without necessarily asking questions about the origin or causes of these problems. The people appeared helpless and hopeless, and these Servants of the Poor ministered to them accordingly. However, times do change. 

Over the years, the Daughters of Charity’s approach to service has evolved remarkably, and the sisters have come to realize more and more the true meaning of St. Vincent de Paul’s assertion that “the Poor are our lords and masters.” Now, those who live in situations of poverty are welcomed to the table to discuss matters that affect their lives, so that they become key players and drivers of their own promotion. This presentation will offer examples of this, highlighting the services of the Daughters of Charity in some South, East, West, and Central African countries as well as Madagascar. 


Carlos Schickendantz (Professor of Theology, Alberto Hurtado University—Santiago, Chile)

Professor/Researcher of Theology, Manuel Larraín Theological Center
Alberto Hurtado University
(Santiago, Chile) 

Born in Córdoba, Argentina, Carlos Schickendantz holds a doctorate in theology from the Eberhard-Karls-Universität in Tübingen, Germany. From 1998 to 2011, he taught systematic theology in the Department of Philosophy and Humanities at the Catholic University of Córdoba (Argentina); he also served as dean of that department (2002-2005) and as the university's academic vice president (2006-2011). In addition, he has been a visiting research scholar at the Boston College School of Theology & Ministry (Boston, MA, USA) and a visiting professor at various other universities.

Since 2011, he has worked as a theology professor and researcher at the Manuel Larraín Theological Center/Institute of Theology and Religious Studies at Alberto Hurtado University in Santiago, Chile. His research interests include systematic theology, Vatican II, ecclesiology, the reform of the Church, Latin American theology, the theology of the signs of the times, and theological methodology. 

Conference Presentation—Church Reforms and Synodality

This presentation will consider four complementary perspectives:

(1) The Second Vatican Council has formulated a broad and appropriate notion of Church reform.
(2) The historical perspective is important to better understand the significance of the challenges and tensions we are experiencing as a worldwide Church.
(3) From this historical perspective, how can the current situation in need of transformation be characterized? What are the new priorities guiding reforms in the Church?
(4) The international synodal process should collaborate in resolving some of the major key issues that we discern as signs of our times: women's participation in the life of the Church, the crisis of abuse and its systemic causes, and the inclusion of the marginalized people in the light of a decolonial perspective.

Matthieu Brejon de Lavergnée (Department of Catholic Studies, DePaul University—Chicago, IL, USA)

Dennis H. Holtschneider, CM, Endowed Chair in Vincentian Studies
Department of Catholic Studies
DePaul University
(Chicago, IL, USA)

A French scholar, Matthieu Brejon de Lavergnée is professor of Catholic studies and holds the Dennis H. Holtschneider, CM, Endowed Chair in Vincentian Studies at DePaul University. Previously, he had served as an associate professor of modern history at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he also received his degrees. Brejon's primary teaching and research interests include charity, philanthropy and poverty relief; women, gender, and Catholicism; French and global history, and Vincentian studies. His specialty is 19th-century history, but he is broadly interested in the 17th to 20th centuries. His commitment to social and religious history has led him to write and edit several books, as well as publish articles in different journals and collections. He is the author of two historical volumes, each on a major Vincentian organization that answered the modern world's challenges of urban poverty, as well as broader needs of care and education. One volume relates to lay Catholic men—the Society of St Vincent de Paul (Le Cerf, 2008)—and one to women religious, the Daughters of Charity (Fayard, 2011 and 2018). Founded in Paris, in 1633 and 1833 respectively, both organizations have since expanded all over the world. These two books received the Institut de France's Gobert Prize and Gabriel Monod Prize. Among his most recent publications are The Streets as a Cloister: History of the Daughters of Charity, 17th-18th Centuries (New City Press, 2020) and Amelie Ozanam (1820-1894): A Heart with Much Love to Give (Society of St. Vincent de Paul USA, 2022)

Conference Presentation—"Do We Invent the Saints We Need? Pope Francis, the Saints 'Next Door,' and Lay Vincentians"

Pope Francis wrote in Gaudete and Exsultate (2018): “I like to contemplate the holiness present in the patience of God’s people: in those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families, in the sick, in elderly religious who never lose their smile.” This presentation considers how this understanding of holiness fits with a theology of the laity, to what extent it could challenge the process of making saints in the Catholic Church, and finally, how lay Vincentians, both male and female, can be seen as some of these new recognized or invisible saints "next door."

Guillermo Campuzano, CM (Division of Mission & Ministry, DePaul University—Chicago, IL, USA)

Vice President, Division of Mission and Ministry
DePaul University
(Chicago, IL, USA) 

In March 2020, Guillermo (Memo) Campuzano, CM, became the vice president for DePaul’s Mission and Ministry division. A DePaul alumnus, he returned to his alma mater from an assignment at the United Nations, where he served as a representative for the Congregation of the Mission. He previously held multiple positions at DePaul, including director of the Office of Religious Diversity, university chaplain in Catholic Campus Ministry, as well as adjunct professor in the departments of Religious Studies, Catholic Studies, Modern Languages, and the School for Public Service.

During his eight years at DePaul, Fr. Memo also helped design and implement an interfaith framework for service and learning called Vincentians in Action, a program that engages more than 2,000 DePaul students each year. He has vast experience with the Vincentian Family, advocating for and developing systemic change programs for people left behind in our society. At the United Nations, Fr. Memo directed global advocacy on behalf of the Vincentian mission. He was the creator and coordinator for the Vincentian International Network for Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation. He also served as chair of the United Nations’ Working Group to End Homelessness since 2017.

Born and raised in Colombia, Fr. Memo was ordained as a Catholic Vincentian priest in 1993. In 2018, he was among the 30 global experts invited to Rome by the Dicastery of Consecrated Life in the Vatican to discuss religious life.

Conference Presentation—"Enlarging the Space of Our Tent: Possibilities and Challenges for the Transformation of the Church” 

Using the wisdom and the information coming from the synodal process, this presentation discusses the real possibilities of reform of the Church today and ways in which this transformation is being shaped in different contexts. “Enlarge the space of our tent” is the prophetic challenge the Church is facing today. It is a twofold process: enlarging the space of the tent internally in the pursuit of equity inside the Catholic Church...and enlarging the space of the tent externally to profoundly change the public face, identity, and mission of the Catholic Church in the face of all the challenges stemming from today's reality.



Marie Nelly Yasmine Cajuste (Famvin Homeless Alliance)

Project Development Manager
Famvin Homeless Alliance (FHA)
(Port-au-Prince, Haiti)

A native Haitian, Yasmine Cajuste has served since 2017 as the Project Development Manager for the Famvin Homeless Alliance (FHA), a global initiative of the Vincentian Family that supports established and emerging homelessness initiatives across the world. The FHA was founded in 2017 to mark the 400th anniversary of the Vincentian charism. From 2011 to 2016, Yasmine was a member of the Vincentian Family Collaboration Commission (VFCC), a team that coordinates a unique training experience designed by and for the Vincentian Family to learn together what strategies can be used to collaborate in the Vincentian struggle against poverty. 

After contributing to the conception and launching of Zafen in 2009, the International Vincentian Family Project for the 350th anniversary of the deaths of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac, she participated on the Board that helps coordinate Vincentian efforts to alleviate poverty in Haiti. In April 2013, she worked for two years with the Vincentian Family Haiti Initiative (VFHI) as the Education Coordinator. In this function, she implemented and coordinated a two-pronged project that (1) provided a daily hot meal in 17 schools in the Port-au-Prince and Central Plateau areas and (2) helped raise the level of education through teacher training. 

A member of the Vincentian Marian Youth (VMY) from 1995 to 2015, Yasmine became a full-time volunteer in 2003 and worked in VMY’s headquarters in Madrid for eight years, putting her trilingual skills to great use. She also served as the international president of this branch of the Vincentian Family from 2005 to 2015. In this position, she participated in various international events, visited VMY groups in several countries, and helped coordinate many Vincentian formation projects. 

With seven years of teaching experience, Yasmine holds a BA in education from Quisqueya University (Haiti) and an MA in educational leadership from DePaul University (Chicago, USA). 

Conference Presentation—"The Encounter with Those Experiencing Poverty for the Transformation of Society"

Today, Jesus continues to invite us to put our nets out into deep waters (Luke 5:1-11), following in the footsteps of Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac. This presentation reflects on the role of Vincentian Family members and institutions in transforming the Church and the world through the culture of encounter. It explores how our encounters with those experiencing poverty challenge us and engage us in a journey that enables us to see the world through their lens, to interpret God's will through their anguish, and to actualize the meaning of the Vincentian charism, assuming with audacity and confidence in God our roles as companions and servants of the poor.

The Famvin Homeless Alliance, established at a significant moment in the history of the Vincentian charism, illustrates the potential of local solutions, global collaboration, and systemic change approach to address the complex challenges of homelessnes. The transformation of society to which we are called is only possible if we are truly a church of the Poor and for the Poor—a Vincentian Family who walks with the poor, sharing in their lives and struggles but also participating in their unfailing hope in the Kingdom of God. 

Renato Lima de Oliveira (International President, Society of St. Vincent de Paul_

International President General
International Confederation of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul
(Brasilia, Brazil)

A native Brazilian, Renato Lima de Oliveira is the international president general of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP). He is also a husband, father, and public civil servant at Anatel, Brazil’s equivalent to the United States’ FCC, where he is responsible for institutional relations with the Brazilian Parliament. He holds an undergraduate degree in journalism, an MA in political science, and is currently working on a PhD in political science through the University of Lisbon. He is the author of eight books, five on Vincentian spiritual readings and three on politics. 

An active lay Vincentian for over 30 years, Renato joined the SSVP at age 15. Since then, he has served as president of his parish group, president of the local Central Council and coordinator of communication, formation, and youth. In 2001, he was invited to serve in the communications area for the Council General International (CGI), and in 2008, he became vice president for SSVP South America. In 2016, he was elected for a six-year term as SSVP’s 16th international president general.  

As the first Brazilian to hold this position, Renato is leading a team that has accomplished bold strategic planning, focusing on the areas of formation, communication, youth, management, transparency, and expansion to new territories. Important to highlight are the process of canonization of Blessed Frederic Ozanam, the creation of the Ombudsman General services, the new headquarters in Paris, and the close institutional relations with the Church, the United Nations, and other NGOs working in the field of humanitarian assistance and support. 

Conference Presentation—"Society of St. Vincent de Paul: 190 Years of Love, Empathy, and Hope for Those in Need"

Since a group of seven Catholic friends founded it in France in 1833, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has improved its regulations and its operations to better serve the poor. The forms of poverty are multiple, and SSVP members need to be well prepared to face this challenge. This presentation explains how our members in all countries do this, staying up-to-date in terms of training and formation, so that charitable service remains effective and transformative for the people it serves.

Franciscus Eke Riyanto, CM (Widya Sasana School of Philosophy & Theology, Indonesia)

Editor-in-chief of Vincentiana: International Journal of Vincentian Spirituality
President and Professor of Philosophy, Widya Sasana School of Philosophy 
(Malang, Indonesia)

An Indonesian Vincentian priest, Fr. Franciscus Riyanto is professor of philosophy at Widya Sasana School of Philosophy and Theology in Malang, where he has also served as president since 2016; he also previously served as president from 2004-2012. Currently, in addition to his roles at Widya Sasana, he also lectures on phenomenological research methodology in the PhD programs of social sciences at the State University of Airlangga (Surabaya) and Muhammadiyah (Islamic) University in Malang. 

He has actively participated in and promoted interreligious dialogue in Indonesia, speaking on the issue of peaceful coexistence. Since 2006, he has served as chair of Indonesian Catholic Philosophers (formed by the Indonesian Bishops' Conference Seminary Commission), and since 2018, he has also chaired the Association of the Catholic Higher Education in Philosophy and Theology in Indonesia. From 2010 to 2016, he was a member of the Vincentians' International Commission of Interreligious Dialogue. 

His major publications are in the areas of philosophy, theology of interreligious dialogues as well as the history of the Vincentians in Indonesia. In addition to teaching, he also humbly offers pastoral assistance as a Vincentian priest to a small community of Catholics that belongs to the St. Vincent de Paul parish on the outskirts of Malang in the Eastern Java region of Indonesia.

Conference Presentation—"The Formation of the Laity and Seminarians for an Outward-Facing Church: A Vincentian Contribution to the Reform of the Catholic Church in Indonesia"

This year, 2023, marks the 100th anniversary of the Vincentians' presence in Indonesia (1923-2023). As a "Little Company," the first Vincentian missionaries passed on the charism of St. Vincent de Paul, namely the formation of seminarians and the laity. As a nation with a pluralistic and predominantly Muslim population, Indonesia needs the strong participation of Catholics in the social transformation of its society. The Church, as a minority, is called to respond effectively to this need.

The Vincentians proposed the formation of lay people and seminarians with an emphasis on proclaiming the Good News to the poor, becoming servant leaders in small communities, and establishing economic creativity at the grassroots level. This presentation offers a historical and evaluative discussion of the Vincentians' engagement and efforts to form the laity and priestly candidates who contribute to creating an outward-looking Catholic Church...a Church which, regardless of being a minority, actively participates in the "transformation" of a pluralistic society through the creative witness of lay people and priests. This talk proposes a methodology of historical exposition and a phenomenological approach for observing the changes that have taken place in the Catholic Church in Indonesia.