President Robert L. Manuel > Notes from Rob > 2022-23 > Radical hospitality and service

Radical hospitality and service

​​In my short time at DePaul, the warm welcome you have shown me and my family is nothing short of overwhelming. You have demonstrated openness to new ideas, availability to help, care for each other, and a willingness to begin anew—all qualities that showcase your Vincentian hospitality and service.

St. Vincent de Paul considered hospitality and service to be profoundly connected. When he saw a person standing in front of him, he saw more than their circumstances. He actively helped those in the margins and approached them with kindness. It’s St. Vincent’s compassion that moved him to develop new ideas to change the lives of the people standing in front of him. He advocated for others to become hospitable, welcoming anyone who wanted to serve and transform the lives of the poor. Ultimately, St. Vincent recognized the human dignity in every individual. What is more radically hospitable than to recognize one’s dignity? It’s the very basis for the principle of equity.

Radical hospitality and radical service are two concepts that contain something that is central to our Vincentian spirit — our vulnerability and the fear of not being seen, recognizing the dynamics of marginalization and exclusion. It’s a call for us to become a community in which diversity, equity, and inclusion are the very foundation of our peaceful and meaningful coexistence. The transformative power of hospitality opens doors, breaks down walls, and builds bridges. It means daring to go where no one else will.

It's clear to me our DePaul community demonstrates hospitality on a regular basis. Last year, for example, you welcomed a group of 10 students to DePaul who were displaced from Afghanistan. You not only opened the door, you also helped these new students acclimate to life in Chicago. Our student organizations, DePaul Sanctuary and DePaul United Muslims Moving Ahead, organized groups of peer mentors to provide ongoing support.

And last spring, in response to a call for help from higher education institutions in Ukraine, DePaul welcomed more than 100 Ukrainian college students into 42 of its online courses across many disciplines, including business, communication, liberal arts, science and health, education, and computing and digital media. When presented with the opportunity to help, you immediately jumped into action.

Today, on the anniversary of the death of our namesake, I ask you to reflect on St. Vincent’s theology of hospitality. This Feast Day, consider how hospitality is intrinsically connected to our work to instill intentional and systemic equity in our social fabric.

At DePaul, we believe the dignity and rights of every person are sacred. We believe respect and recognition of that dignity — and those rights — are duties we all have — duties capable of creating a community of peace that put a definitive end to senseless violence, inequity, exclusion, and discrimination. In our house, there is room for all.

Happy Feast Day, and I look forward to seeing you at the Vincentian heritage events planned throughout the week.