To Pope Innocent X whom he is asking on 16 August 1652 to intervene in favour of peace he describes the horrors of the war and he adds: It is a small thing to hear or read these things; they must be seen and ascertained with one’s own eyes ( IV, 458) (4, 446). Let us recall it in a few words. As a teenager he felt called to ministry and in 1600 was ordained a priest. In 1608, he entered the service of Queen Marguerite de Valois, as one of her chaplains, with the task of distributing her alms. Vincent was a model of zeal in ministry and he appreciated the power of prayer, the need for spiritual growth and the happiness that comes from doing the work of God, especially among the poor. But Vincent left this parish and in 1613, on the recommendation of de Bérulle, entered the powerful de Gondi family as tutor. With the new school year starting over the next few weeks, most Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have pulled out all the stops to be able to provide their students with in-person instruction in accordance with state health guidelines related to COVID-19. But this lived experience of poverty nevertheless had not for him been transformed into awareness of a challenge to be met. In Châtillon, M. Vincent discovered two facts which would profoundly mark his action in the future: In Folleville, M. Vincent had been struck by the spiritual misery of the poor who were abandoned by the Church, and by priests. What are my key texts? He got food distributed, nourishing tens of thousands of poor in Paris and the provinces. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! These words of St. Vincent de Paul characterize this saint who "ran" with every opportunity to provide for the spiritual and material needs of the poor, and indeed, of all the people of his time. It is this openness of the heart to the neighbour and to God which enabled him to read the meaning of events and to see God’s call in them. He was to do the same thing in nearby villages on subsequent days. It seems to me that if we want our present-day ministry of parish missions to really get to grips with our times we must draw inspiration from the Vincentian procedures which we have just focussed on. We belong to Him and not to ourselves. In fact, in the face of all corporal and spiritual suffering, he would be captivated by the very charity of Christ who lived in him and “worked on” his heart. Saint Vincent knew the problem well for it is likely he was one of these priests who, without living a scandalous life, had progressed towards the priesthood without a vocation in order to ascend the social scale. St. Vincent de Paul. Your email address will not be published. The royal house is divided by dissensions; the people are split into various factions; cities and provinces are ruined by civil wars; farms, cantons and towns are destroyed, ruined and burned. It continued to spread into France where the priests were not very competent or caring about giving good spiritual teaching to their parishoners. He maintained a deep sympathy for them. c) In addition, being badly instructed in their faith, many became Protestants. Because, as Saint Vincent said, in a conference to missionaries: I must love my neighbour as the image of God and the object of his love, and likewise bring it about that people should love their Creator who knows and recognises them as his brothers and has saved them ;and that, with a mutual charity they should love oneanother for the love of God who has so loved them as to deliver his own Son to death…… (XII, 262 – 263). At the age of 17, he joined the St. Vincent de Paul Society and dedicated much of his spare time to serving the sick and the needy, caring for orphans, and assisting the demobilized servicemen returning from World War I. This alarming discovery of the immense spiritual needs of the poor country folk and their abandonment by the Church was for him the revelation of a challenge, and a powerful appeal. St Vincent de Paul charity prepares for tough winter as pandemic bites Lack of face-to-face interaction due to Covid-19 has made volunteers’ work more difficult Mon, Sep 28, 2020, 06:00 The beds at St. Vincent de Paul homeless shelter on Apple Street in Dayton had to be moved farther apart because of the coronavirus. There are many biographies of Vincent in English. We find in mission reports very numerous descriptions of these broken relationshps and of the missioners’ attempts to repair them in order to build up a family, or village or parish community where there would exist a practical charity worthy of true christians. It ought to be said at the start that for several years the material and spiritual misery of the poor, although he was aware of it from close quarters, had not constituted for him a challenge. We are aware of what took place. Please partner with St. Vincent de Paul and donate. (XI, 201). Let’s cite just one example from among the worst, taken from the account of a mission at Niolo in Corsica: vengeance was so rife that no sooner had children learned to walk and to talk than they were taught how to seek vengeance at the slightest offence. They were in such ignorance about their salvation that it was hard to find a hundred people who knew the commandments of God and the Apostles’ Creed. That will help us to stand back and assess the outlook which we direct on to the world and the Church and which determines our manner of situating ourselves there and acting there. Then a parish priest whose nephew had been killed and the murderer was present at the ssermon came to prostrate himself on the ground and asked to kiss the crucifix. This early experience, this first viewing by Saint Vincent was formative, and often enough he will refer to it in his writings. St. Vincent de Paul, (born April 24, 1581, Pouy, now Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, France—died September 27, 1660, Paris; canonized 1737; feast day September 27), French saint, founder of the Congregation of the Mission (Lazarists, or Vincentians) for preaching missions to the peasantry and for educating and training a pastoral clergy. Vincent was sensitive to the needs of the people and the difficulties of the Church in his time. After working for some time in Paris among imprisoned galley slaves, he returned to be the superior of what is now known as the Congregation of the … And so Saint Vincent would be able to say: Turn the medal and you will see through the light of faith that the Son of God who wished to be poor is represented for us by these poor people….Lord! For the future he will have his eyes and his heart wide open to welcome and discern the various spiritual needs of the poor so as to respond to them. "I learned about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul during the start of the pandemic. Your email address will not be published. We find a very evocative picture of this in his letter of 16 August 1652 to Pope Innocent X whom he asks to intervene in favour of peace. The Church is directly concerned in this question and cannot close itself off into the purely spiritual dimension of ministry. diversifying, ceaselessly adapting and gearing down his action, seeking numerous collaborations: priests, consecrated women, and laity; simultaneously pushing forward evangelisation and assistance or promotion of the poor, giving priority now to one , now to the other, but always linking them closely. The missioners were to give themselves with zeal to this interpersonal and communitarian ministry of reconciliation. This exposé will be esentially focussed on St Vincent unlike most of the other presentations which will have present-day missions as their starting point.. He was seeing things from the viewpoint of the wealthy. Because of all of his work raising money and helping the poor, Vincent is now considered the patron saint of charitable societies. It is the parable of the Last Judgment (Mt 25, 31-46): Then the King will say to those on his right hand : Come, you whom my Father has blessed…….. for I was hungry and you gave me food; I ws thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me…….. So people began to accept what was said by Protestant ministers who were often zealous and explained the gospel to them. In January 1617 Vincent was with the de Gondis as tutor. The IMMERSION Reentry Program has been designed by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul USA (SVdP) to serve as a continuous improvement national model reentry program focusing on the special needs and challenges of returning citizens – those returning to our communities from incarceration. He almost changed the face of the Church, Henri de Maupas du Tour was to say in the homily at Saint Vincent’s funeral. St. Vincent de Paul is such a saint—a saint who was clearly a man who also happened to be a saint rather than a saint who also happened to be a man: a man who clearly relied on the grace of God in order to collect the lowly in his strong and rough embrace. What’s the remedy for this? His personal spirituality is revealed in these words addressed to his priests: "Do the good that presents itself to be done. Saint Louise de Marillac, cofounder with St. Vincent de Paul of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, a congregation of laywomen dedicated to teaching and hospital work. And that is why, a few months after the experience at Folleville, he secretly went away from the de Gondis and from any idea of personal promotion. (XI,4) Mme de Gondi begged M. Vincent to preach on the theme of general confession in the church in Folleville. To all his religious he wrote: "It is our duty to prefer the, service of the poor to everything else and to offer such service as quickly as possible." He adds to our strength also.". He was discovering also the generosity of these rich people who were helping the poor with their money and sometimes visiting them. Mission reports provide abundant descriptions of this profound ignorance of the country people. We are now going to reflect for a moment on our own personal outlook and on its evolution. b) Other challenges By way of exemplifying the work of converting the day-to-day living of people which takes place during missions let’s briefly mention: concubinage and irregular unions. Support the Catholic Services Appeal. And the result was that the people were deeply moved, and crowded along to confession. The Society of St Vincent de Paul currently has eight regional offices located around the country. Masks will be required, social distancing will be followed and student mobility will … He wouldn’t hesitate often to take the side of these poor country folk, feeling himself to be one of them. We will briefly trace this evolution. The missioners could also propose to the priests of the parishes in an area which had received missions to gather together and under their direction make a retreat in their house. They don’t know how many gods there are, or how many persons in God. ..Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Volunteers are needed during the afternoon to assist with golfer registration, as well as in the evening to help with raffle sales, silent auction table monitoring, and registration for the wine and bourbon tasting. The next day — Communion Day — a general reconciliation took place. 239 Selby Avenue If you need to make contact or you are looking for information that you can not find on the website please feel free to contact your closest office. The spiritual formation of priests and the education of seminarians were priorities in his endeavors on behalf of all He wanted his priests and religious to be as sensitive to all the needy as he himself was. He was to admit this later: I’m a farmer’s son who looked after pigs and cows. As well as the “Catechism Lessons” which deal with the principal aspects of the faith, the missioners each day gave what they called a “preaching”, that is to say a sermon with a moral purpose, envisaging the different concrete areas of the lives of the people so as to lead them to renounce sin and embrace the corresponding virtues of their state. Saint Vincent explains : Now working for the salvation of the poor country people is central to our vocation and all the rest is only accessory; for we would have never got involved in the ordinations, the ecclesiastical seminaries if we hadn’t judged that that was necessary to maintain the people and preserve the fruit brought about by the missions when there are good ecclesiastics, imitating in that the great conquerors who leave garrisons in the places they capture, for fear of losing what they have acquired with such effort (XI, 133). Cathedral of Saint Paul It was this tenderness which caused him to come down from heaven, seeing people excluded from his glory. Moreover all rules must lead to charity." 2) was one of the aims of the missions mentioned by the Common Rules. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Quite definitely the whole missions consists in that: relationships based on love! The St. Louise chapter of St. Vincent de Paul has seen a large increase in requests for assistance in the past few weeks and expect this increase to continue. But parish missions would also make a specific contribution to remedying this problem. He had the confidence of Mme de Gondi and was her spiritual director. In order to remedy this inefficiency, due to lack of organisation in their generosity, Saint Vincent set them up as a Confraternity of Charity to help the poor who have often suffered owing more to lack of order in assisting them rather than lack of charitable people (First Rule of the confraternity of Charity of Châtillon, XIII, 423). LEARNING TO SERVE VINCENTIANS A Formation Network on St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac and the Vincentian Charism and Works in the world, yesterday, today and tomorrow. We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Custodians of this land, with deep respect. However, if we are here, it’s because we believe that parish missions are capable of being a response, albeit partial, but an effective and appropriate response to the true problems of the Church and of our present-day world. St. Vincent de Paul helps local people with groceries, utilities and rent assistance. Let us reflect on what was decisive for Saint Vincent in his sensitivity to the great challenges of his day. It would therefore be helpful for us to continue our reflexions concerning our way of a) perceiving the big challenges of today, discerning particularly the needs of the poorest and most abandoned of our times, b) facing these by seeking suitable and effective solutions with regard to assistance and evangelisation. After 1617 and up to his death, M. Vincent was to devote all his time to the evangelisation and service of the poor. Saint Vincent would, as we know, invent new structures for forming good priests: ordination retreats, Tuesday conferences, and seminaries. Review Cathedral Protocols for Mass. Greatly moved with compassion, I strongly urged that he should be helped, and with such feeling that all the women were touched (IX,423). He was touched by their misfortune (XII, 270). This gap between a professed christian faith and a life which contradicted the gospel was a challenge which Saint Vincent and his missioners clearly discerned and to which they would try to bring a solution in the course of missions. The results would often be impressive, securing astonishing reformations of life: reconciliations between enemies, mutual forgiveness, restitution of property, regularisation of unions,etc. He travelled to Châtillon in order to be free from every constraint so as to preach and administer the sacraments. The country people are perishing with hunger for the word of God according to Saint Vincent’s beautiful and touching phrase. Local SVP groups are working hard to help people in Sudan get access to safe medical aid and with the added challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, healthcare is even more vital for millions of people. In villages where missions had been given, in order to reply to daily and permanent misery especially among the sick poor he wished that after each mission a Confraternity of Charity should be set up composed of christian parishioners (generally women in fact), to take care of the poor in that place. All these good people, he recounts, were so touched by God that they were all coming along… But the crowd was so great that, being unable to cope, we had to call upon the Jesuits from Amiens (XI,4). 216. 3:30- 5:00 p.m. For those attending the 5:15 p.m. Mass, doors open at 4:50 p.m. "You should never tread on the heels of Providence; but if Providence opens the way, you should run." If we were to fail to identify today’s challenges and to face them with inventiveness and a spirit of faith, we would be staying at the edge of the real problems of the Church, and parish missions would be insignificant and without real impact. This year 1617 was therefore decisive for Saint Vincent. Many parishes today have a St. Vincent de Paul Society which carries on Vincent's work with the poor. In the Islands of the Hebrides Dermot Duggan thus described the situation in Eigg and Canna: God has converted eight or nine hundred people who were so poorly instructed in matters concerning our religion that there wern’t fifteen who knew any of the mysteries of the christian faith….I found thirty or forty people aged seventy, eighty and a hundred or more who hadn’t received holy baptism (IV, 516). Saint Vincent didn’t begin by reading learned reports, of which however he knew the usefulness as well as the limits, as we see in his already quoted letter to Pope Innocent X: It is a small thing to hear or read these things; they must be seen and ascertained with one’s own eyes (IV, 458). Charity, he said to his Missioners, makes us unable to see the neighbour suffer without suffering with him, to see him weep and not weep with him. Saint Vincent believed that their eternal salvation was in danger. 2). God is not neglected if your leave him for such service. The situation is quite serious more or less all over Europe. Holy Cross partners with St. Vincent De Paul and West Virginia University Extension Services to expand the food bank and develop educational backyard garden projects, including courses and resources for raising poultry at home. b) Another Gospel text would help Saint Vincent to re-read and understand in depth the Châtillon event and the foundation of the first Confraternity of Charity. Archdiocesan Year of St. Joseph- Read the Decree here. Volunteer with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVP) and become part of the largest and oldest voluntary charitable organisation in Ireland. Soldiers do as they please; the people are exposed not only to their thefts and pillaging, but also to murder and all kinds of torture. He became aware of this misery in Folleville. b) Help given to the clergy through the missions. He always linked evangelisation to the giving of material aid, asking the missioners to preach missions while they were organising relief aid. That will be my second point. These basic experiences which vigourously challenged Saint Vincent’s conscience were principally: After these basic experiences Saint Vincent was always attentive to the signs from God who ceaselessly speaks anew through events. Indeed, to establish the Confraternity of Charity (C.R. This subject was dealt with in preaching. Further Reading on St. Vincent de Paul. The great challenges which St Vincent faced up to. Second Place, 2017 Vinny Prize, Office of Mission and Values at DePaul UniversityBy Chaz Bottoms His heart would then quicken, being profoundly touched. Coming to another stage, the re-reading of the experience in the light of the word of God would enable Saint Vincent to move deeper into his understanding of reality and to confirm his discernment of the callls which God was expressing there. We know about this episode which is at the origin of the popular missions. The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia Inc., ABN 50 748 098 845, Charity Number 23838, is endorsed by … This basic experience which enabled him to see the poor from the inside certainly contributed to give to his charity its realism, its sense of the concrete needs of the poor for which practical and effective solutions needed to be found. Let’s give one example from among very many, drawn from the Niolo missions account: Finally, on the eve of the general Communion, I was coming to the close of the sermon, after exhorting the people once again to forgiveness, God inspired me to take in hand the crucifix I was wearing and to say to them that anyone who was willing to forgive should come and kiss it. (I, 514). Francisco Javier Fernández ChentoOctober 19, 2016Missions, Vincentian SpiritualityLeave a Comment, Available at: http://via.library.depaul.edu/vincentiana/vol41/iss4/3. Because, as a result of this very focussed look which became aware of the cries of the poor, the signs from God, the challenges to be faced, there was born his missionary and charitable work by way of appropriate and effective response. These two wer followed by a throng of others, so much so that for the space of an hour and a half, we saw nothing but reconciliations and embraces. I will divide my esposé into three parts: Fr Jean Morin in a fine study of the outlook of St Vincent’s which appeared in the book about the fourth centenary of St Vincent, “1581 – 1981”2, begins with this penetrating remark that in the portraits of St Vincent which have been preserved, “it is doubtless the eyes which are most impressive.. Noticeable in them is a great quality of attention, of observation; one also discovers a suggestion of Gascon mischievousness; above all one finds there a great goodness”. If we wish today to get to grips with our world we must, like Saint Vincent, know how to view and understand situations in their context and distinguish what exactly is at stake and what challenges need to be met. As a young student at the Sorbonne, Antoine Frédéric Ozanam was appalled by the conditions he saw in Paris. These words of St. Vincent de Paul characterize this saint who "ran" with every opportunity to provide for the spiritual and material needs of the poor, and indeed, of all the people of his time. That Protestant whom Saint Vincent met at Marchais in 1621 was right; he made the objection: One sees the Catholics of the countryside abandoned to vicious and ignorant pastors, without being instructed in their duties, with most of them not even knowing what is the christian religion; and on the other hand one sees the towns full of priests and monks who are doing nothing; and in Paris perhaps there are ten thousand who however leave these poor country people in this dreadful ignorance which causes them to be lost (XI, 34). At present we are at the first stage: “Seeing”. After the experience of Folleville, this text of the Gospel affirming that Jesus came to evangelise the poor confirmed Saint Vincent in his call to evangelise them. It was this faith proclamation through the “catechism classes” during missions which in Saint Vincent’s eyes was most useful to the people. It really struck me that many of the challenges people are facing today--lack of food, housing, and clothing--were things Frédéric Ozanam and his friends saw when he started SVdP. But he also never ceased to keep up contact with the well-off and to seek their collaboration. His method of proceeding could be summed up thus: A criticism which one sometimes hears about parish missions today is that they limit themselves to being a pious exercise or a nice celebration for christians, but having no tomorrow. They would do it by preaching forcefully on the subject and by making much personal contact with the people concerned so that they might become reconciled and forgive one another and might restore ill-gotten goods. At least while giving a mission one is in the church protected from the weather, the heat of the sun and from the rain, to which these poor people are exposed… ! One need only think of the numerous Ladies of Charity from among the nobility and the WEALTHY. Often the deplorable state of the clergy ran the risk of compromising the fruit of the missions., since good priests are needed to ensure developmeent after the missioners have gone away. Saint Paul, MN 55102, © - Cathedral of Saint Paul. This text throws a clear light on the Châtillon event and gives him confirmation of his call to relieve all suffering, since anyway, it is Jesus whom one meets and helps in the person of the poor and the suffering. And some eight years later (1633) together with St. Louise de Marillac, the founded the Sisters of Charity, whose main work was care of the sick and care of orphans and children in need. It is interesting to note that above and beyond an indispensable effort towards individual conversion, the mission was the occasion of a whole drive to build up a communitarian life of fraternal charity and peace which should be a gospel sign at the level of the family, the village and the parish. Mission reports sometimes tell of spectacular cases of conversion of priests and more frequently of priests committing themselves to take zealous care of their parishes. He, in November 1611, had him appointed parish priest of Clichy, near Paris, where he was to spend 16 months happily in the midst of poor country people (IX,646). Such was, in broad outline, the story of Saint Vincent’s outlook with its stages and its maturing. It is interesting to note that Saint Vincent and his missioners were very aware of this since it represents a clear contradiction of the gospel message given to us by Jesus. He was noting the material and moral resources of this milieu. Letters of St. Vincent de Paul, translated and edited by Joseph Leonard (1937), reveal the religious spirit and practical genius of the man. We cannot remain satisfied with walking in the steps of our predecessors, for the world is changing (even if we cannot of course belittle the experiences of the past). Monday- Friday: 7:15-8:15 a.m. (for morning Mass); 3:45-5:00 p.m. (afternoon confessions). We know how, in the case of Saint Vincent, this love would not be merely affective but very effective indeed, practical, active and inventive in relieving any suffering and for bringing the good news of salvation. From humble beginnings in the village of Pouy, in France, Vincent, at an early age displayed quick intelligence and a keen wit. I refused to go out and see him.” Effective intervention for improving conditions in the lives of the poor must go hand- in-hand with evangelisation. It would at the same time enable him to focus more deeply on the poor to the extent of seeing there the presence of Christ himself. His various foundations would adapt themselves to respond to these needs. LEARNING TO SERVE VINCENTIANS A Formation Network on St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac and the Vincentian Charism and Works in the world, yesterday, today and tomorrow. It was definitively directed to the poor country people and their spiritual needs. Three weeks after his arrival there took place the second event which was to challenge him as at Folleville and through which God was again going to speak to him. (XI, 32). Challenge yourself to do something tough or wacky to make a difference, have fun and tick off a new accomplishment. It is good, at the beginning of the Vincentian Month, to plunge back into our roots. For greater assurance the most important matters were put in writing and authenticated by a notary public. The result was that the course of his life was changed. Daily Confessions: 3:45-5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday   Click here for Confession Protocols. Most of the country people are perishing of starvation if not by the sword…. You can also request assistance online by filling out our form. Get them to repeat it fifty times and you’ll find that in the end they’re as ignoraant as at the start (XIII, 305). Vincent de Paul (24 April 1581 – 27 September 1660) commonly known as Saint Vincent de Paul was a French Catholic priest who dedicated himself to serving the poor.In 1622 Vincent was appointed a chaplain to the galleys. He praised their faith and their courage under trial, setting it in contrast to missioners who were unwilling to suffer and sought their own ease reluctant to do much work: “It is in these poor people that there continues to exist the true religion and a living faith….poor wine growers, who offer us their work, who count on us to pray for them while they wear themselves out in order to nourish us! "You should never tread on the heels of Providence; but if Providence opens the way, you should run." Baseball Card Auction for Charity: Read more here. It would be one of the principal aims of the missions to try to remedy this. We don’t wish to go out into the sun! Thus at Niolo in Corsica, Etienne Blatiron writes: We found almost no other traces of the faith except that they said they had been baptised; and there were a few churches, but badly kept. In order to become aware of the challenges of his times Saint Vincent would have to undergo certain powerful experiences which would entail the blending of: a) certain important events, and b) an opening of the heart to be sensitive to them, an opening to the neighbour as well as to God and towhat God wanted of him. St. Vincent de Paul said : “As a young man, when my father took me to the city I was ashamed of going with him and of recognizing him as my father because he went poorly dressed and limped. He hears his confession. In spite of a period of separation from his milieu, as we shall see, he maintained his awareness of belonging to these needy small farmers, having been immersed among them during the 14 years spent in Pouy. 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