Thursday, September 27, 2007

Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul

Today is the Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul. He was a great apostle of charity, and brought about a great revival of the priesthood in the 17th century. He was born near Dax in the Landes (France) in 1581. As a young priest he was captured by Moorish pirates who carried him to Africa. He was sold into slavery, but freed in 1607 when he converted his owner. After returning to France, he became a parish priest and chaplain to the galley-slaves. He founded a religious Congregation under the title of Priests of the Mission or Lazarists (now known as Vincentians), and he bound them by a special way to undertake the apostolic work of charity. In order to help poor children, the ill and incapacitated, and the insane, sick and unemployed, he and St. Louise de Marillac founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity, now better known as the Sisters of St. Vincent. St. Vincent worked tirelessly to help those in need: the impoverished, the sick, the enslaved, the abandoned, the ignored. He died in 1660 at St. Lazarus's house, Paris. His motto: "God sees you."

"Let us love God; but at the price of our hands and sweat of our face."

Patron: charitable societies; horses; hospitals; leprosy; lost articles; prisoners; volunteers; spiritual help; Saint Vincent de Paul Societies; Vincentian Service Corps; Madagascar; diocese of Richmond, Virginia.

A particular Society of St. Vincent de Paul worth bringing to others' attention is in Lane County, Oregon. See here. Theirs is a permanent link I keep in my Sustainable Industries section. They have received numerous awards from the State of Oregon and others for their innovative programs: they have and continue to create numerous jobs for those in need, while also diverting significant resources out of the waste stream (recycling: see here). They have made good use of LIHTC projects to provide housing, they feed the hungry, clothe those in need, operate a bank, operate multiple retail stores . . . the list goes on. You can see some of what they reclaim below (note that they repair and make guarantees on their products too):
I am not sure their Executive Director knows the meaning of the word theology (sorry Terry, but somewhere in your heart you know it's true); God can and does, however, work through us in-spite of ourselves.

This is not yet to mention that, by any reasonable measure, they are significantly more successful (financially and otherwise) than the (in)famous Goodwill of Portland - the one that pays their Executive Director an unconscionable sum.


M. Jordan Lichens said...

As an Oregon native, I can affirm that St. Vincent de Paul has helped out so many families throughout the state. They're a good testament to what a sustainable industry can do to help families in need. Good show!

verily prosaic said...

Thanks for your post. Now you'll have another person praying for you as you study your Hegel.