DePaul University is at home with the call to justice, with the ending of the cycle of poverty and the work to build vibrant communities. If Chicago, the State of Illinois, and the nation are a “mess,” as described in Fr. Ed Udovic’s TEDx talk, DePaul University finds its inspiration to transform that mess in the lives of St. Vincent DePaul and Monsignor John Joseph Eagan.
The largest public statues of St. Vincent on campus show him holding a child and engaging in conversations with young adults. The art captures Vincent’s very individual approach that now undergirds DePaul University’s charism of Vincentian personalism. When rooted deeply in the dignity of each person education can be transformative.
With Louise de Marillac’s Daughters of Charity and others as partners, St. Vincent de Paul himself transformed the face of France. His challenge – “What must be done?” - in the face of poverty and injustice rings as true now as it did in the 17th century. While forming educational leaders, DePaul University hears Vincent’s voice: “What you are about to undertake is a great work. I pray that our Lord will bless your leadership.”
Outside DePaul University’s student center, stands a modern statue of the “priest with the big hands.” Monsignor “Jack” Egan, son of immigrants, earned a DePaul degree before entering the seminary and was serving DePaul at the time of his death at 84, heading the Office of Community Affairs. In between, this man whom the Chicago Tribune called “the conscience of the city,” was active in racial integration and urban renewal in Chicago and across the nation, serving both the Archdiocese of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame as activist, teacher, mentor, and reformer.
Why the big hands on Father Jack? Maybe because it takes them to reach out to engage others in transformational service. In the words of the then DePaul University president, Fr. Jack could “challenge people without alienating them…he kept the dialogue open so that change could actually happen.”
The College of Education of DePaul University finds its core in acting and educating for justice.
New Service Learning Course Offered
DePaul University introduced a doctoral and master level course on Service Learning during the Summer 2017 quarter. Initiated by Dr. Barabara Rieckhoff and taught by Sister Mary Paul McCaughey, this course integrates research and pedagogy of service learning with an on-site application. It consisted of an orientation session conducted by Dr. Howard Rosing of the Steans Center at DePaul University, and students served at fifteen sites in completing a project in service to develop, implement, or assess a service program.
DePaul additionally hosts Campus Compact, a national university organization devoted to community engagement specifically for Midwest colleges and universities.
In looking at a broken society in France, St. Vincent DePaul asked, “What must be done?” When asked the same question, DePaul students in the Service Learning course responded, “to show empathy, become a servant leader, stop ignoring social inequities, find and give purpose through the support of others, empower and engage the underserved, be selfless and sacrifice, and live faith through justice. With this course, students are given the opportunity.