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A new president for our St. Vincent De Paul Society

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This past October 1st, as required by the bylaws, a new president took office in our beloved St. Vincent De Paul Society, to lead its destiny in the Archdiocese of Miami, from Broward to Monroe, during a three-year term.

Her name is María Pilar Pérez de González, someone I know, and who has often worked side by side with me. Born in Havana, Cuba, she came to this country in 1963 with a strong Catholic upbringing. Having gotten to know the work of St. Vincent de Paul, she embraced it wholeheartedly and felt the Vincentian vocation, joining our ranks 14 years ago. Although she worked as a teacher in the bilingual program at Miami-Dade Public Schools, she always took the time to work on behalf of those who lack everything.

She has demonstrated great dedication to her work in our Society, carrying out duties as vice president for the Conference of St. Kevin Parish, Miami; director of Vincentian formation in English and Spanish for 12 years; and district president for South Miami, with 15 conferences under her care. She was married to Diego González, now deceased, a Vincentian from the Dominican Republic, of whom I have many great memories. He was always willing to help, especially with paperwork, because he was an accountant who never denied me the audits that I requested from him.

As someone who loves teaching, María never stopped improving herself, and obtained several master’s degrees and recognitions at work. One of her achievements, which she is very proud of, is a master's degree in ministerial theology from Barry University. This increases her knowledge and ability to communicate with new Vincentians, who need a solid formation to address the different situations they will encounter while helping the needy.

Many of us hope that the new administration, now under the leadership of a mother, wife and exemplary teacher, will help us to strengthen the right hand of our Catholic Church. Vincentians visit the homes of those who need bread at their table, but we also provide the spiritual bread that strengthens their souls so that, taking the hand of our Lord Jesus, they will have strength to face the misfortunes of life.

Onward, María, with your new challenge! And remember the words of St. Vincent, our mentor, that the poor are “our lords and masters” yesterday, today and forever.

Comments from readers

BOB TARQUINIO - 12/12/2017 06:48 PM
I have been a Vincentian for the past 27 years. I have been blessed to have experienced great SERVANT LEADERS to mentor me as I have progressed with this Ministry. President of 2 Conferences, District Council President and Executive Director. Victor Martel, Vince Murphy, Frank Voehl with many others, have lead the SouthFlorida SVDP the way the Rule has set. With the new SERVANT LEADERS in place to set the tone for the next 3-6 years, I am confident that we are in good hands. We now have the first female Archdiocesan SERVANT LEADER in Maria and the first District Council SERVANT LEADER in North Broward, Diane. Their progression from Conference to Council to Archdiocese Leadership gives both of them the support of the the entire Council. I am proud to work with these new SERVANT LEADERS and will support them in our mission to assist our neighbors in need. Our Mission Statement says, "Inspired by Gospel values, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic lay organization, leads women and men to join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to those who are needy and suffering in the tradition of its founder, Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, and patron, St. Vincent de Paul." They understand the statement. Our opening prayer at each meeting says, " to seek and find the forgotten, the suffering and the deprived and bring them your love." God Bless our new SERVANT LEADERS
Frank Voehl - 12/12/2017 01:12 PM
For the past twenty years, the St Vincent de Paul Society in Miami/Broward has been blessed with strong leadership, going back to the leadership of Vince Murphy and Victor Martell. In an increasingly digital world where authenticity is so important, leading with a clearly defined purpose that staff, volunteers and clients connect with has never been more relevant. Having served as President for 6 years myself, I Learned and practiced key skills, like having difficult conversations, dealing with stress and challenging emotions, partnering with others across issue areas, and planning for large and small projects. I encourage Maria to allow herself to be completely present and focused on connecting with herself and the work, while in a caring, supportive community, and in a beautiful, relaxing natural setting. My message to my successor is: You are not alone. Connect deeply with people in our movement, in other issue areas, even outside of the nonprofit sector, and leave others with a new definition of community. As a leader, your communication should be simple, clean, and clear as a bell. Examine both written and verbal communication for simplicity and clarity. Use as few words as possible, and eliminate jargon and “big words” from your vocabulary. Express yourself in a way that your listeners can understand. y a show of courage, you will inspire others to follow and to walk in your footsteps. Spend 15-30 minutes each day doing something simply for the sake of developing courage: speak to an audience, make a difficult phone call, learn a new skill, write an article or a top ten, or visit someone you have always wanted to meet. As Eleanor Roosevelt acknowledged: “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

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