The mission of VLM is to share the Vincentian charism with young adult Catholic men and women and to help foster systemic change in communities in Ethiopia and Kenya. Since 2005, 72 VLM have worked in seven communities in Ethiopia and Kenya.






VLM are men and women ages 21-35 who feel called to spend 4-6 weeks serving the poor while working alongside the Daughters of Charity in Africa. VLM live with or near the Daughters of Charity or the Vincentian Priests at all sites.

Volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and possess many talents. VLM are teachers, college and graduate students, school administrators, social workers, engineers, non-profit directors, professors, lawyers, and nurses who feel called to serve the poor in the spirit of Saints Vincent DePaul and Louise de Marillac.

Many VLM have also participated in other post-graduate service programs including the Vincentian Service Corps, Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), Gateway Vincentian Volunteers, Colorado Vincentian Volunteers, Teach for America, and the Peace Corps.

Want to learn more? You can read about current VLM happenings in our newsletter

Vincentian Values

VLM is a Vincentian service program. VLM work closely with the Sisters of the Daughters of Charity, and priests from the Congregation of the Mission. Vincentian spirituality is at the heart of the program.

What does it mean to be “Vincentian?”

  • Vincentians believe in creating lasting, systemic change.
  • Vincentians live in solidarity with the people they serve, and they listen to the needs of the poor.
  • Vincentians promote peace and dignity.
  • Vincentians live simply, but with a zeal for justice.
  • VLM serve with sisters and priests and live in the communities in which they work.
  • Reflection is key. VLM participate in daily reflections while working abroad.

Learn more about the work of the Vincentians:

The Vincentian Family
The Daughters of Charity
The Vincentian Brothers and Priests


Jessica Werner, Director

Jess has been involved with VLM since 2006, first as a missionary, then as a site coordinator, and now as the lay Director of the program. She has served in Bahir Dar, and also visited the VLM sites in Jimma and Kenya. Jess is a former elementary school teacher and a graduate of Notre Dame and the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) program. She has taught in several states and countries, and holds a Ph.D. in International Education Policy from the University of Minnesota. Jess is grateful to her friend and mentor, Sister Mary Beth, for taking her to Bahir Dar and introducing her to the Vincentians in 2006- because life hasn’t been the same since! Jess is married to Mike, who also served in Ethiopia with VLM. They are the proud parents of Lucy.

Sister Mary Beth Kubera, D.C., Spiritual Advisor

Sister Mary Beth, a Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul, has helped the VLM grow its present status. With a vision of a truly lay Catholic missionary organization, she worked tirelessly as an organizer and leader of the VLM in its founding years. She continues her association, providing spiritual guidance to the missionaries, and maintaining her own missionary spirit. She lives in St. Louis, where she is on the Council for the Province of St. Louise.