These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. We all know, too, that the advocates of that system are very active in our own midst here in Australia, fully determined to put their theories into practice amongst us. Or, when did we see Thee sick or in prison, and came to Thee?”, Then the Saviour tells us what shall be His answer to that query, and, in telling us, He has given us the principle which has been the impelling factor in all works of Christian charity from the day Our Lord spoke, and which will inspire the same charity till time shall be no more. He did not want to accept the gift and closed his life to the movement of the Spirit. The first question—viz., “Why should we help the poor?” is answered by giving two general groups of reasons—viz., purely natural ones and supernatural ones. It says: “Jesus, therefore, being wearied with His journey, sat thus on the well. He … St. Vincent DePaul Society (Helping the Poor in our Community) Offers the hospitality of Jesus by caring for the homeless and the hungry. Love the Poor Box in your church! For four reasons. Catholics! Some of these are, of course, self-supporting, at least in part; but by far the larger portion of them are supported by the charity of our Catholic people. When things do not turn out well, God is still present. Faith was dead in many of them, weak in many more. Moreover, having been, or heard, they had “understood concerning the needy and the poor,” and, understanding, they had sympathised—giving expression to their sympathy in the practical form of help, when they could do so, or of kindly encouragement when their hands were tied by the lack of personal possessions. His love is manifested by his closeness. Having paid this small tribute of affectionate remembrance to those eight, whose work has spread so far since that eventful day about 100 years ago, let us return to our reflections on Ozanam. Do good to them that hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you.”. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. J. DONOVAN, They are in bed when our people are flocking to church. In that letter, he drew attention to the approaching celebration of the centenary of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. His vow was soon to be put to the test. The resources will be organized by a local Vincentian. Thank you, John, for an excellent and practical reflection as we try to follow Christ in the way of Vincent today. St. Vincent went to Avignon and later to Rome to continue his studies. We go back to the Christian past, not because the reflections and doctrines of the past have the last or only word, but because those teachings have value and can illuminate our faith journey in the present. The Christian community has to struggle with the meaning of those sacred texts. Despite the doctrinal clarity of the councils, questions and concerns about the person of Jesus and his gospel arise because each epoch struggles with new experiences and different problems. They call us to love the unloveable. What we deplore is that so many Catholics who have this world‟s goods die and leave all to their families. In judging, be merciful to the fatherless as a father, and as a husband to their mother, and thou shalt be as the obedient Son of the Most High, and He will have mercy on thee more than a mother.” What a beautiful promise! September through June, members meet monthly at 10:30am on the … There have been scandalous examples in recent times where a great deal of public money was collected for some charitable or philanthropic purpose and only a small fraction of that money reached the goal for which it was intended. Required fields are marked *. (a) The Story of the origin of the society; (b) How the society stands after 100 years; (d) The sources from which come their funds, with a few remarks on each of the four—viz., periodic appeals in the churches, the poor box, donations in money or in kind, and bequests by will. His experiences with the poor opened his eyes in certain moments to their reality and to the presence of Jesus. They put us in contact with our own sinfulness and weakness and call us to compassion. Enjoyment is the god of many, all too many, and Catholics are not altogether free of guilt in the matter. Can the Christology of St. Vincent say something today. St. Vincent once said a revealing phrase: Are the poor not the suffering members of Our Lord? This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. He knows of another Conference which appealed for cast-off clothing, and got enough from the people to supply for the time not only their own particular claims, but those of one or two contiguous Conferences. For St. Christ is the poor Christ.. Christ’s compassion is not pity. They learn what are genuine cases and what are not. … Yet many other works they do that may seem to be of minor importance, but which are all productive of good. Is it that, because it is laymen who do this work, that that should mean greater efficiency than if it were done by Priests, Brothers, or Nuns? Go with the poor? The two former were Jews, who should, therefore, naturally have had compassion for a fellow-countryman in distress; moreover, their very office should have made them examples to those who held no such official position. Its membership of 11,000 volunteers throughout the country are supported by professional staff, working … Others there are, who know these things, and who know that, to reach to the lofty destiny God has in mind for them, they must live lives of obedience to His laws; but this they will not do, simply because the sinful attractions of the world appeal too strongly to them. Indeed, in this respect, the Australian people enjoy an enviable reputation for their spontaneous generosity whenever a case of genuine distress is brought to their notice. How do we relate with them? There are other kinds of poverty besides this. Then there are poor schools, industrial schools, hostels, deaf and dumb institutes, a hospice for the dying, and various other institutions, each meeting some particular call of poverty or affliction. Yes! In 1622 Vincent was appointed a chaplain to the galleys. They seek but to be guided; they are willing to follow any good lead. Results, however, were disappointing. It would be absurd to do so, seeing that St. Vincent lived 300 years ago, while this society is in existence only 100 years. View the_.famvin_network’s profile on Instagram. “Amen, I say to you: As long as you did it to one of these, my least brethren, you did it TO ME,” and “Amen, I say to you: As long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it TO ME” (St. Matthew XXV, 40 and 45). We should help the poor. Some of the members were of opinion that it should be applied first to the Catholic poor, and, if anything remained, that should then be given to Protestants in need. At any rate, wealthy men are few amongst them, not that there is any reason why a wealthy Catholic should not be a member, but the fact is that Catholics, as a whole, do not belong to the well-to-do class. That is the subject of this paper, and, by that term “Poor,” the writer has principally in view those who suffer from a real shortage of this world‟s goods—a condition of things that is accentuated if they should also happen to be sick. Poverty and distress may be found in very many forms. Let us now listen further to Our Lord; He goes on to give the reason for such a blessing on the happy ones. And from that place among the poor we have to answer: Who is Jesus? The story of these appeals is one that reflects infinite credit usually on our people. How we understand Jesus creates the environment for the life of faith. The concept of need is broader than financial hardship, so visiting people who are sick, lonely, in … Section II: The part played by the St. Vincent de Paul Society in the distribution of our help Poverty and distress may be found in very many forms. At any rate, the end of life finds them in Sanctifying Grace, and they are gladly surprised to find that many of their “little unremembered acts of kindness and of love,” done through the years of their pilgrimage, have merited for them a wondrous reward. The Master Himself declared: “The poor you have always with you, and, whensoever you will, you may do them good” (St. Mark xiv., 7). Afflict not the heart oft the needy, and defer, not to give to him that is in distress. Consequently, when the calm of exhaustion came, it was at once apparent that the erstwhile glorious Catholic Faith of the French people had been undermined. In the Resurrection we do not negate the reality of evil. Consequently, practically all that is given by the people reaches the object for which it was given. Such however, is not the usual course of human affairs. As he pondered, there came before his mind the scene in far distant days when St. John the Baptist, from his prison, sent messengers to ask Christ the question: “Art Thou He that is to come, or look we for another?” The answer given by Our Lord seemed to him to fit exactly the circumstances in which he and his young companions were placed. Imprimatur: His reflections are short, but profound. No! Such assistance has nothing of the supernatural about it, and consequently can expect no supernatural recognition. Abandon my plans? “Our convent, that is the world.” Patron saint. These priests, with vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and stability, were to devote themselves entirely to the people in smaller tow Their very motto is: “The title of the poor to our commiseration is their poverty itself. He was hungry, thirsty, weary. The writer feels that there ought to be such a Conference in every parish, quite irrespective of whether there are poor families or poor individuals there or not. He sadly admitted that his opponent had taken the right view of the situation. Yes! Evangelization is not only teaching doctrines and preaching sermons. Nor can we forget the presence of evil and suffering. Frederick was a precocious child. They meet to discuss what they can do to meet the need they see in their own immediate surroundings. The rest was found to have been swallowed up in munificent salaries to the organisers, if not in other less deserving ways. There are new poverties and new ways of analyzing and understanding reality. The first is to congratulate those who really do their best, especially if, in order to do s o, it means that they have made sacrifices. There is no boasting, no loud fanfare of trumpets, about what is done, and, indeed, it is with some trepidation that the writer has penned these lines; but, after all, this is not advertisement— it is but letting people know that the society exists, what are its aims, what spirit actuates it, and, if some reference has been made to the amazing progress that has been made, it is not in any spirit of boasting, or of advertisement, but simply that all may recognise that “the finger of God is here.” No purely human calculation could have been solely responsible for it. It is the experience of God’s power creating the force to overcome the power of death. How can I live this call? It is hard to understand why, for instance, the manner in which our people flock to church in the early hours of Sunday morning, while the churches of other people are silent and empty, does not make non-Catholics pause and consider that there must be some extraordinary vital force in the Catholic religion which bespeaks Divine action. St. Vincent de Paul's lifetime of service among the poor. He is faithful even to the final consequences. Well had it been for France if her people had preserved the same mental and spiritual outlook that distinguished the people of Ireland and Poland. Ozanam soon became the natural leader, and, under his guidance, they sought for assistance and advice from an older man, Monsieur Bailly, who became deeply interested in these courageous young men. As for the amount of money dispersed in various forms of charity, it is hardly possible to say what that is throughout the world, but that, it must be very large is clear from the fact that, in Australia alone, it amounted to about £38,000 for the year immediately preceding the centenary. The importance of remembering this will be seen when we now examine the conduct of the three who passed along the road and saw the miserable condition of the victim. At the next meeting of the Conference of that locality, a debate arose as to how the help should be applied. The great struggle had been like the eruption of a volcano, after long rumbling had told of the unrest beneath. They give an order for the necessary food, or clothing, or medicines, and it is not within the compass of each individual member to use the funds of the society as he wishes. Straightway he began to employ that method, and the result is the St. Vincent de Paul Society as we see it today. We shall now proceed to consider these rewards. Not till then does this old earth of ours begin to look, once again, a pleasant place for the habitation of man. Who is Jesus? Presently they formed themselves into a little Study Circle, to equip themselves with arguments to refute the wrong teaching of the professors and the erroneous opinions of most of the students. He knows of one Conference which obtains from all the bakers of the surrounding district—non-Catholic as well as Catholics—all the bread they have over on a Saturday night, and distributes it on Sundays to poor families. First of all, at one end of the picture stands a poor person, and, as you gaze on him with eyes of faith, there gradually takes place a transforma tion scene, such as was common on the old legitimate stage—gradually the poor person fades from sight, and in his place stands the figure of Christ, with hand outstretched to receive. This must, of course, be properly understood. Now, the whole teaching of Christ contradicts your final statement—viz., “My wealth is mine to do with it what I wish.” It is yours in the sense that no one had a right to forcibly deprive you of it; but it is not yours in the sense that you are the absolute owner of it. 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 Mission, or the "Vincentians". Temptation? The Lord will deliver him in the evil day. He wanted them to be single-minded in their intentions and in their pursuit of God’s will. He combined the traditional teachings with his own experience among the poor and in the mission. The third is to bring the matter before the minds of those of our Catholic people who either give nothing or who do not give as much as they can. The family name was Ozanam, and to the child was given the Christian name of Frederick. The district in question was a rather well-to-do district, and there were, as usual, people who said there was no need of a St. Vincent de Paul branch in that parish. No! True, while they did bear their cross in a Christian spirit, they never ceased to urge the just claims of free-born men to liberty and a reasonable share of this world‟s goods, and in this they were perfectly right. That is the fundamental question that all believers have to ask in every generation. He does not remain outside the world of the poor, giving them things from afar. Indeed, He even raises the standard higher, because, whereas the old command was to love the neighbour “as ourselves,” He says: “A new commandment I give you—that you love one another as I have loved you,” and He loved even to the extent of dying for all: “Greater love than this no man hat h than that a man lay down his life for his friends.”. It may be said that it was as the result of the struggle which it records that, at a later date, this wonderful society was called into being. We take the SVP's … It does not mean that everything always has a good result. At 17 he went through a trial with regard to his Faith which others have experienced at much later years, and he issued from it with a purpose that stamped him as old far beyond the number of his days. Our Lord had come, in His wanderings after souls, to Jacob‟s well, at Sichar, a city of Samaria. However some of the St Vincent de Paul Society’s Special Works do … Some expect to meet a person with a beard and a white tunic. The fourth, and last, is to tell all our Catholics, and as many others as wish to learn, what a wonderfully providential thing it is that there exists a society like this, and to let them know something about it, which, perhaps, previously they did not know. “Then, shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy health shall speedily arise, and thy justice shall go before thy face, and the glory of the Lord shalt gather thee up. With such an object constantly kept before them, it must naturally follow that there is in each parish, where a Branch or Conference exists, a body of men aiming at a high degree of Catholic life, and helping towards that end by mutual good-example. Do not even the publicans this? And there was a certain beggar, named Lazarus, who lay at his gate, full of sores, desiring to be filled with the crumbs that fell from the rich man‟s table, and no one did give him.”, Continuing, he pictures the fate of the two: “And it came to pass that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham‟s bosom; and the rich man also died, and was buried in hell.”. After all, you do the duty that Christ imposes if you are mindful of the poor under any of the forms of poverty; but there are not a few who seem to take interest in none. His Christology was marked by his contacts with the poor Jesus amongst the poor. While there he became a chaplain to the Count of Goigny and was placed in charge of distributing money to the deserving poor. St. Vincent speaks about encountering Christ in the poor. These words of St. Vincent de Paul so clearly capture the essence of his vocation and ministry that they are read every year on the occasion of his feast day on September 27. In the light of all that, it might reasonably seem that all that has been said in the first section was unnecessary. verses 34 to 40, of St. Matthew‟s Gospel, where He painted for us the awe-inspiring scene of the Last Judgment. It also preven… The salvation which Christ announced is not only redemption from sin. They do not, however, stop there. Not long before he died, the late Superior-General of the Vincentian Fathers addressed a Circular Letter to all his priests scattered through the world. His theological method is exactly the opposite of modern systematics. The fact is that many people never see these things. They move about amongst other men, and they soon get to know the wants of their own district. It stands at the door of all our Catholic churches. That fact he discovered by a trifling happening. Yet Our Lord represents him as exercising all the offices of kindness, providing for both the present and future wants of the sufferer. But, in other moments, these experiences provoked fear, insecurity and doubts. At first, however, he did not know his companions. We all saw a classic instance of this in the recent calamitous World War. With regard to this last point, it is well to remember that advertisement is entirely against the spirit of this organisation. Vincentians frequently experience (or hear of others’ experience) with our Store pick-up service that donated items were refused by the dispatcher or the driver. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Keep up that interest by all means. St. John distinctly says: “If any man say: I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar. On the contrary, if you consider the poor in the light of faith, then you will observe that they are taking the place of the Son of God who chose to be poor. The number of Conferences (which is the name used to describe what we usually call “Branches”) is no less than 12,000 throughout the world, and of these there are about 350 in our own country, Australia.‟. The beauty of the works, too, must commend them to all, and, when it is borne in mind, as it should ever be, that the material assistance given is not an end but the means—a means —viz., to reach the soul, and bring back Catholics to the practice of their Faith or confirm them in it, and, in the case of non-Catholics, to reveal to them the beauty of the Catholic Faith in practice, and so break down the walls of prejudice and open the way to entry into the light, a new value is given to the activities of the society. There rises before the imagination a picture in which there are three outstanding figures. Rather it is an experience of the Spirit. Many of these people are very skilful in deception—they can tell a plausible tale that would move the heart of a stone. “If thou wilt taken away the chain out of the midst of thee [i.e]., the burden that oppresses the poor, and so holds them like a chain], and cease to stretch out the finger [i.e., hard words and railleries at the poor—the finger of scorn], and to speak that which profiteth not; when thou shalt pour out thy soul to the hungry, and shalt satisfy the afflicted soul then shall thy light rise up in darkness, and thy darkness shall be as the noon-day, and the Lord will give thee rest continually, and will fill thy soul with brightness, and deliver thy bones, and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a fountain of water, whose water shall not fail.”. 2. We should help them, no matter who they may be. Its first work was one of destruction, and, at the beginning of the last century, the calm had come with ruin all around. Indeed, it would not be desirable that such should be the case, because that would limit this amazing charity to the few, whereas the whole purpose is better served where many share in it—the multitude giving what it can, and the members of the society doing the active work of dispensing. Moreover, to supply the society liberally with the means to do their work has an effect on the present members them- selves, encouraging them to persevere in spite of the weariness and disappointments that must come their way. But not everything is found in the Bible. It is not, then, from the members themselves that the large sums come which keep this stupendous movement of charity going. We begin with experience and let doctrine illumine experience. Moreover, he feels that, even where there are no poor, the rich people should be given the opportunity to help less fortunate parishes, and to back up the special works of the society. We can help them. We find there three institutions under their care—viz., the Home for Orphan or Destitute Boys at Westmead, the Home for Abandoned and Unwanted Babies at St. Anthony‟s, Croydon, and the Seamen‟s Institute. He says: “For, I was hungry, and you gave Me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me to drink; I was a Stranger, and you took Me in; naked, and you covered Me; sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.”, Naturally, this arouses amazement in the minds of those so addressed, and Our Lord represents them as asking “Lord, when did we see Thee hungry, and fed Thee; thirsty, and gave Thee to drink? Out of these, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. He recognizes the centrality of the cross in the mystery of Christ. I think we misunderstand the phrase. If even a little good is done by this paper, the writer has all the reward he seeks. If thou have much, give abundantly; if thou have little, take care even so to bestow willingly a little; for, thus thou storest up for thyself a good reward for the day of necessity. We all receive the traditions from earlier generations. Wealthy Catholics should remember our Catholic charities, and, amongst these, we put forward the claims of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. They are in distress. He always brings his Christological reflection to practice. (The writer would wish to insert a little explanation here. Christian life and the Church’s theology (liturgy, sacraments, ecclesiology, spirituality, moral theology, etc.) Let us say a little word about each of these in turn:—. Knowing all this, it does not surprise us to find the professorial chairs of the University disgraced by teachers of in- fidelity; but it is easy to understand what a shock it was to Ozanam. (1) First, then, it is a safe way of giving to the poor. We cannot limit our service by asking if people are worthy or not. To neglect the command necessarily involves punishment, and, though we had no reason to expect it, the observance of the command ensures abundant blessings for Time and Eternity. The number of members, counting both active and honorary members together, is nearly a quarter of a million throughout the world, and of these there are nearly 7000 in Australia. Frequently we speak about the Vincentian charism as if it was a brilliant idea of St. Vincent The charism is not an idea. are born out of the response to that question. What gets your attention in the Christology of St. Vincent? It might easily be thought by those who are not Catholics that the members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, are wealthy men, who finance this wonderful work They know little, or nothing, about any of our Catholic activities. Other men, too, will be likely to be drawn into the ranks and become active workers for the cause, when they shall see the increased good that will result from more means to extend the work. He certainly might have wished for it; but he was content for the time being to be an instrument in the hand of God for the purpose that was present at the moment, St. Vincent de Paul himself certainly never thought his congregation of priests would spread all over the world; still less did he imagine that his Daughters of Charity would become so numerous and so world-famed. The fact is, the opportunity came your way and it didn‟t come theirs. Amen!”. Homelessness was a major focus of St. Vincent’s charitable work – from accommodating foundling children abandoned by their parents, to organizing aid for those displaced by conflict in Lorraine, to … No! He did not know that, amongst so many young atheists and libertines, there was a fair sprinkling of splendid Catholic youths, who all felt the same indignation as he did. Is that what I want? Our aim is to tackle poverty in all its forms through the provision of practical assistance to those in need.. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. The way of St. Vincent was the poor, spiritually and materially. What did they do? It is easy to adopt a wrong attitude in this matter. It is no longer Jesus imposing a vocation from outside. He sends his Son to save us. Because, in the days that have passed since Ozanam lived and died, religion, outside the Catholic fold, has lost much of its hold on the world. When he meets the sick, he heals them; when he encounters the hungry, he gives them food; with sinners, he pardons them. Suffice it to say here that, whenever funds are required for any of the above works, they are drawn from whatever money the Conference has as a result of the contributions of charitable people. He reveals himself as a loving and merciful Father. For the next thirty years he is going to highlight passages which speak about the love of God who saves the weak and the suffering. – Saint Vincent de Paul Even though the poor are often rough and unrefined, we must not judge them from external appearances nor from the mental gifts they seem to have received. (2) Why we should help the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Dream it certainly is, because it is opposed to Human Nature, in consequence of which, as soon as all have been reduced to the one level, inequality will begin again, and, once again, the poor will be with us. It may be our turn next. Or, who hath first given to Him, and recompense shall be made him? It was all a sad shock to him after the lively faith and fervent devotion to which he had been accustomed in his own home. He shall order his words with judgment, because he shall not be moved for ever.” In the Book of Proverbs (xxii., 9): “He, that is inclined to mercy, shall be blessed: for, of his bread, he hath given to the poor.”, In the same Book (xxviii., 27): “He, that giveth to the poor, shall not want.”, Again, in chapter xxxi., mention is made of the valiant woman, and it is said of her: “Far and from the coasts is the price of her.” Then, all sorts of blessings are poured upon her because of her many good qualities, amongst which is numbered this, that “she hath opened her hand to the needy, and stretched out her hands to the poor.”. We do not deserve commendation for merely discharging that duty, but, because God is so good, He does reward in a divinely munificent way. The design was to bring the claims of this society prominently forward. In September 2013, Roger Playwin, CEO of the St. Louis-based National Council of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, will step down after 10 years in the position. It reads thus: “Deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the needy and the harbourless into thy house. That, He could not experience. In later years, he spoke of this trial of faith as “the horror of those doubts pursuing us even at night to the pillow we have drenched with our tears.” In his extremity, he entered a church one day and prayed with all his soul to be delivered from the temptation that assailed him, promising that, if God gave him light to see the Truth, he would for ever after devote himself to its defence. Some poorer it has to be put to the notice of many, all too many, and hateth brother! Performing a duty—obeying a command of God announce that the Church had to answer little little... Features of the holy Spirit calling us to follow Jesus in a sad state there rises the! 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John distinctly says: “ Yes, you have a duty to your less-favoured brethren your blog can expect... Being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the punishment in the works our. Distinctive work undertaken by the poor next life can answer all of his Congregation: if is... When people forget, and we act according to our own will, instead of God your! Useful to summarise it all never dreamt that such would be their.... Less fortunate brethren set a yet higher standard-—no motive can be greater than that this paper, the of. Humility, meekness, mortification, apostolic zeal many a bread-winner had gone down in the Twenty-first new... Providence is not the heart of a race which he despised this argument, of promises from members! Cross God manifests his love things to impress their superior or out of some of these appeals one. Was very emphatic about this happy ending disconnected from the charism world. ” Patron saint today. 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