In the general history of the Congregation that I am working on, each province will have a chapter. Since each volume is chronological, based on the terms of office of the superiors general, the chapters on each province will cover that same period of time. Consequently, the materials on China begin in volume 2, which basically is the 18th century up to the French Revolution. The Philippines comes next in order of foundation. (I am considering here only East Asia, since Persia and the rest of the Middle East are also Asian; these will have their own chapters.)
The big problem, therefore, is that the recently founded provinces, such as India and Indonesia, with Australia, will not have a lengthy treatment in this general history.
My suggestion is that you put together a group of researchers who can review what you currently have available, either in printed form or in archives. This is the basic work that needs to be done before anything else can happen. Another course of action is to gather materials from houses and works. There is a surprising amount of materials in public documents, in newspapers, and in magazines. Many houses have this material sitting around. It can, and should be, copied and made available.
The larger issues, such as the impact of works on the local Church and society, the ideals governing certain activities, or the impact of certain non-Vincentian leaders on the works (positively or negatively) will have to come later, but there is no reason why researchers, such as in the schools, can't put together at least some initial attempts.
John Rybolt: "The big problem, therefore, is that the recently founded provinces, such as India and Indonesia, with Australia, will not have a lengthy treatment in this general history."
Well, I am thinking that India and Indonesia has been considered "recently", and yet they are among the "living hope" of the Congregation in Asia. In the case of Indonesia, the Indonesian CM has contributed several young missionaries to Solomon, PNG, and China-Taiwan. The Indonesian CM has been working in priestly formation in which the candidates of priesthood of more or less one third of the dioceses of Indonesia come to study.
My little suggestion would be a "new" perspective of historical research that includes also the sense of vincentian lively struggle of the "today", not just all about "glory of the past". And my little hope is that "local history research" can benefit also to the young vincentians in the future.
With me there are also materials of formation produced by the so-called APRF (Asia Pacific Regional Formators) and CCC (Commission of the Vincentian Charism and Culture in Asia Pacific) from the beginning (1985) up to the last meeting in Sydney (2007) -- Response to Fr. Rolando Delagoza
The problem with history is that it deals with the past, not the present or the future. On the other hand, understanding what happened in the past can be a guide to what might happen in the future. Also, the forthcoming history should not be judged as dealing with the "glory of the past" until it has been read. Readers will find out more about the truth of the past than they perhaps wanted to learn. I believe that those in formation will appreciate the real stories of real confreres. -- If someone could send me materials about their provinces up through 1984, especially ideas about what to include and which confreres to mention, I would appreciate this. Also, once the chapters for volume 6, about the most recent years, have been written, I will be happy to send them out for review (they are in English), to be certain that they cover the material adequately within the available space.