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Catholic and Vincentian


DePaul University is named for St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660), the French Catholic priest known as “The Apostle of Charity.” In 1625, St. Vincent founded the Congregation of the Mission, known as the Vincentians, dedicated to continuing his mission of service, especially to those most in need. The Western Province of the Vincentians in the United States sponsors DePaul.

  • DePaul became the largest Catholic university in the United States in 1999 and has held this distinction ever since.
  • DePaul’s interdisciplinary Catholic Studies Program continues to grow by recruiting top-notch faculty scholars and expanding its curricular offerings for an increasing number of students.
  • DePaul and Catholic Theological Union, the largest Roman Catholic graduate school of theology and ministry in the United States, formed an educational alliance in 2011 as a vehicle for both institutions to explore exciting new ways to deliver educational opportunities to their respective students, faculties and staffs.
  • The university’s Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology, under the leadership of the distinguished scholar and theologian William Cavanaugh, continues to offer internationally acclaimed symposia and speakers who have reflected on the Catholic Church’s demographic shift to Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa. The center also offers an annual World Catholicism Week.
  • Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, the crusading New Orleans nun
    and a leading voice for abolishing capital punishment, donated her personal archives to DePaul in February 2011. Her papers join other archival collections donated by leading Catholic peace and social justice activists and housed at the university’s Archives and Special Collections.
  • DePaul produced an award-winning documentary titled “Charity’s Saint: Vincent de Paul” in January 2010. The documentary has been shown on national television, and is available in French, Spanish, Slovak, Ukrainian and Chinese.
  • DePaul and another Vincentian university, St. John’s in New York, are known for their success in enrolling and graduating low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students of color. Among Catholic universities in the United States, only Xavier University in Louisiana, a historically black university, enrolls more African-American students, and only Incarnate Word in Texas, an institution that serves primarily Hispanic students as a part of its mission, enrolls more Latino students.
  • University Ministry sponsors several Christian retreat programs for students throughout the year, including the popular Search Retreat, as well as the First Year Retreat, the Men's and Women's Retreat, the Senior Retreat, DePaul's Christian Ministries' Leadership and Women Spirituality Retreats. The retreats explore various elements of the Christian faith, including topics of community, identity, discipleship, forgiveness, prayer and the body of Christ.
  • University Ministry also hosts an annual Interfaith Retreat for students of all faith backgrounds, and several other retreats are organized and hosted by DePaul’s many and diverse student religious organizations each year.
  • University Ministry sponsors a Vincentians in Action program in which students inspired by the example of St. Vincent de Paul pursue service opportunities with communities in need while being encouraged to develop their faith in light of their service involvement.
  • University Ministry also sponors Quarterly Interreligious Celebrations (QIRC) and other events promoting interreligious dialogue among students of all faith backgrounds. In addition, several of DePaul's many and diverse student religious organizations host retreats throughout the year. 
  • Catholic Campus Ministry, in collaboration with St. Vincent de Paul Parish, offers Catholic students a vibrant liturgical and sacramental life. The 8:30 p.m. Mass on Sundays attracts over 200 hundreds of students and is known for the beauty of its music, provided by a student choir and musicians.
  • DePaul’s Division of Mission and Ministry sponsors a wide range of programs and activities that actively engage faculty, staff and students in ways that enhance their understanding and support of DePaul’s Catholic, Vincentian and urban identities. These internal constituencies in turn provide the leadership that enables DePaul to serve its students and maximize its strategic capacities as the leading urban, Catholic and Vincentian university in the United States.
  • Located at DePaul, the Vincentian Studies Institute of the United States serves as the premier international resource that promotes a living interest in the historical, spiritual and charitable heritage of the Vincentian family under the patronage of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac. In February 2011, the institute began an online Vincentian History Research Network site. In April 2011, the institute debuted its first virtual exhibition, “Saint-Lazare as a Women’s Prison 1794-1932. In 2014 the Vincentian Heritage Journal began being published exclusively as an open source ejournal.
  • The Center for Interreligious Engagement in the university’s Department of Religious Studies addresses important ecumenical concerns by exploring the requirements for building sustainable bridges between individuals and communities associated with different religious cultures.
  • The Division of Mission and Ministry coordinates DePaul’s participation in the Vincentian Mission Institute, an intensive training program for more than two dozen top lay leaders from  DePaul and the other two
    VMI logo
    Vincentian universities in the United States—St. John’s and Niagara—to further deepen the Catholic and Vincentian character of the universities. The Office of Mission and Values has also established a Vincentian Mission Fellows program for DePaul’s most highly mission-engaged undergraduates.
  • Numerous university departments continue their educational partnerships and other efforts centered in Kenya. These range from educating Catholic religious sisters to establishing HIV-prevention efforts for youth, sponsored by the Kenyan bishops. These efforts are coordinated with the extensive ministries of the Vincentians and Daughters of Charity in Kenya.
  • The Institute of Global Homelessness at DePaul is an alliance between DePaul University and Depaul International, a London-based charity that supports homeless and marginalized people around the world. Established in 2013, the institute, serves individuals, organizations and policymakers by focusing on three areas: research, leadership and responding to need. Across these areas the institute connects leaders to create a global voice on homelessness informed by data and practice.
  • The university has expanded its efforts to support Catholic K-12 education in the Archdiocese of Chicago through its Catholic Schools Initiative, headquartered in the Center for Access and Attainment and the Catholic School Council in the School of Education.
  • In 2012, DePaul created an academic partnership with DePaul College Prep, a high school on the north side of Chicago. Formerly Gordon Tech College Prep, DePaul College Prep works with the university to deliver a strong, Catholic and college-prep education to students from across the city and surrounding suburbs.
  • The university continues to welcome numerous Vincentian priests from the developing world as they earn graduate degrees at the university and then return to their home countries to continue their ministries.
  • Each year, DePaul presents Christmas at DePaul, a retelling of the birth of Christ in word and song. Unlike many other
    Christmas at DePaul
    events which charge for admission, Christmas at DePaul is offered as a gift to the community. The admission to Christmas at DePaul is a donation of either money or a requested item, which go to support the operations of the St. Vincent de Paul Parish Food Pantry.
  • Many more Catholic resources around the university are available here.