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Father McCullen left to our absolute discretion the choice or selection of his writings for this volume. Only one paragraph of all his writings did he tentatively suggest be included. It is the final paragraph of his personal reflection on the state of the Congregation of the Mission at the close of his twelve-year mandate as Superior General. It was delivered on 3 July 1992.

In a moment of intimate self-disclosure Saint Vincent remarked one day: 'There are two things in me: gratitude and an inability not to praise the good. ' (Abelly, III, p. 208, 1st edition). At the end of my mandate as Superior General, I find much gratitude in my heart for all the good I have seen in Saint Vincent's two Communities, and even more gratitude for all that I have received from the members of our Vincentian Communities. It has not been difficult for me to praise the good that I have seen and that I have experienced. My difficulty has been in not being able to see its full extent and to find adequate expressions of gratitude, and l continue to labor under that difficulty. In those who worked closest with me I have seen great depths of goodness. To the Assistants, then, and particularly to the Vicar General, Father Miguel Pérez Flores, whose competency and loyalty during a span of twelve years has carried me at times over difficult terrain, I owe an incalculable debt of appreciation. Let me also express my gratitude to the Sisters and Confreres who worked with me in the General Curia and of whose goodness I have been a daily witness and beneficiary. It was G.K Chesterton who said that 'we choose our friends, but God gives us our neighbors. ' In the neighbors God gave me in the Curia, I found excellent friends.

How better can I end than with the words with which Saint Vincent concludes our Common Rules: "We must get it firmly into our heads that, when we have carried out all we have been asked to do, we should, following Christ's advice, say to ourselves that we are useless servants, that we have done what we were supposed to do, and that in fact we could not have done anything without Him. " (CR Xll, 14).


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