DePaul University Mission and Values > Programs > Sustainability at DePaul > St. Vincent and Sustainability

St. Vincent and Sustainability

DePaul fulfills part of its distinctive mission by fostering a sustainable learning community that prepares students to address the most pressing needs of the present in ways that promote a healthy environment, just societies, and vibrant economy.

Although the term “sustainability” is relatively new, its implied goal – meeting the needs of the present without compromising future generations – has been rooted in the Catholic, Vincentian imagination for centuries.

“What Must Be Done?”
St. Vincent de Paul, and the Vincentian mission he inspired, sought to serve the material and spiritual needs of the poor and marginalized in a lasting and effective manner.

In 1617, Madame de Gondi, Vincent's benefactor, turned to Vincent de Paul and asked “what must be done?” Often referred to as the Vincentian Question, it has shaped the Vincentian mission ever since.

St. Vincent’s vision enabled him to see the hidden poverty and suffering so many refused to acknowledge. In response to such dire conditions, St. Vincent de Paul partnered with St. Louise de Marillac to create sustainable, institutionalized solutions to address the most pressing needs of their era.