Yesterday was the feast of St. Vincent De Paul.
St Vincent was not a born saint. He had to grow like all of us. From all accounts he needed to move beyond his ‘Ego’ limitations. He allowed Jesus to change him and to grow and become a Saint.
He is known for his love of the poor and neglected.
He is also known for his work in the formation of priests, and the founding of religious orders.
He saw the miserable plight of the poor in his time ,and with the help of some French ladies went about doing something about it.
Together with St. Louise de Marillac he found the Daughters of Charity, who to this day are dedicated to working with the poor.
He also could see that many remote areas were not looked after by priests. He also noted that many priests were not formed properly in preparation for their ministry. So, he started the Congregation of the Mission, now known as the Vincentians.
They run seminaries for the formation of priests, as well as running missions for neglected areas.
I am indebted to the Vincentians since they ran the seminary of St. Francis Xavier in Adelaide where I prepared for priesthood. Great men who inspired me.
St. Vincent said many good things, many of them resonate with me.
He said ‘we need to apologise to the poor because of the circumstances that brought about their poverty’.
When the daughters of Charity complained to him that so often when they went to pray they were interrupted by people seeking help! He responded that there are times when we need to leave Jesus for Jesus!
He also inspired, many years after Vincent’s death, Frederick Ozanam who, together with fellow students, founded the conference of Charity, later known as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
St. Vincent knew well the privileged place that the Gospel gives to the poor.
Christians we are also called to have a ‘fundamental’ and special love for the poor. Jesus certainly did.