The Society of St. Vincent de Paul
This Thursday, we remember the life of St. Vincent de Paul, a man of prayer and action. He is a model for those who wish to be open to God's plan for their lives. He planned his priestly life to be a privileged life, tutoring the children of royal and wealthy families. However, it was on one visit to the property of a wealthy patron, that he had a conversion after hearing the deathbed confession of a poor man. This experience opened his heart to parish ministry instead of the comforts of being a tutor to the wealthy. He learned a great deal about the needs of the common person while serving as pastor. It was after preaching a homily to his parishioners about the needs of a family who had all become ill, that he witnessed the love and generosity of people. As he was going to visit the family that Sunday afternoon, he met on the path to the home, many of his parishioners who were returning after bringing food and love to the suffering family. While Vincent was struck by their love, he also realized that this ailing family could not possibly eat all of the food that had been brought to them this day and would be without food in just a few days. Vincent realized that "charity" must be organized - so food would be present always. He spent the rest of his life forming others to help the poor and suffering of the world. He started seminaries at a time when priests were not properly instructed in the teachings of the church. He trained priests (Congregation of the Mission) and wealthy women (Ladies of Charity) how to best help those in need. He worked with St. Louis de Marillac to train the Daughters of Charity to see Christ in those they serve. As the patron of charitable causes, he has been named the patron saint of numerous catholic lay organizations, including our own Society of St. Vincent de Paul. St. Vincent used his love for Christ, his God given talent for organizing,and passion for service, to bring hope to many whom the world had forgotten. St. Vincent de Paul, pray for us.