Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, the patron of all charitable societies. What a wonderful example of being a people for others as we read today’s gospel reading. One would wonder if he ever experienced hostility in the areas he visited, as Jesus and the apostles did between the Jews and the Samaritans in today’s readings. Would it have been difficult to visit the poor, to mission to them as St. Vincent did? I continue today’s reflection with some facts about St. Vincent…
St. Vincent went to Avignon and later to Rome to continue his studies. While there he became a chaplain to the Count of Goigny and was placed in charge of distributing money to the deserving poor. He became pastor of a small parish in Clichy for a short period of time, while also serving as a tutor and spiritual director. (Thank you to the website Sacred Space for the historical information – a great resource for background information!)
From that point forward he spent his life preaching missions to and providing relief to the poor. He even established hospitals for them. This work became his passion. He later extended his concern and ministry to convicts. The need to evangelize and assist these souls was so great and the demands beyond his own ability to meet that he founded the Ladies of Charity, a lay institute of woman, to help, as well as a religious institute of priests – the Congregation of Priests of the Mission, commonly referred to now as the Vincentians.
Let us be mindful of those in need, regardless of what society in general may believe, or what convention may prescribe. God cares about his people, and when we can love each other and serve without bias, we are more capable of doing God’s work in this world.
God bless you!
Patty Masson serves the Passionists from Spring, Texas.