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." A A. It is only if the popular mission is centred in on the real needs of our age that it can be an effective instrument for the new evangelization to which the Church is calling us. He became aware of this misery in Folleville. After the people had asked pardon of God, they asked it also of their pastors and vice-versa; it was all very edefying…. St. Vincent de Paul. Faced with this type of problem the missioners would do what the Common Rules states about taking as an objective during the missions to settle differences and lawsuits ( C.R. Such was, in broad outline, the story of Saint Vincent’s outlook with its stages and its maturing. Paul was born in Tarsu (now in the south east of Turkey) to a Jewish family. His heart would then quicken, being profoundly touched. 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. Even if nowadays research and reports can be very usseful they are not sufficient to make us notice the challenges of today’s world or at least they do not constitute stage one.. What was Saint Vincent’s stages of procedure, and what might be ours? The farmers cannot harvest what they have sown and no longer plant anything for the coming years. ..Charity is certainly greater than any rule. 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 … 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. Becoming sensitive to the challenges of an era is a complex process, taking place at several levels. 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. St. Vincent de Paul Is a Model of Servant Leadership St. Vincent de Paul for the love of Christ and the poor was a - • visionary innovator, model collaborator, • successful fundraiser, • careful manager • holy mentor He would send them into Champagne, Lorraine, Picardy, and the war-striken Paris region. 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. Let’s cite another great challenge which anyway is closely linked to the mission’s: Saint Vincent saw clearly that the clergy of his day, often lacking a true vocation, badly formed and with lax morals were incapable of looking after the ordinary spiritual needs of the people, especially in the country, as well as assuring a follow-up to the missions. His work with the poor and his preaching attracted widespread attention, and his spiritual character was recognized by St. Francis de Sales who appointed him spiritual director to the Visitation Community that Francis founded together. From 1610 to 1617, Vincent could see the short-comingS of the wealthy but also the values and resources of this milieu which he was to direct towards the service of the poor. I shall take principally the example of interpersonal relations. 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). Various translations of his work enjoyed wide distribution. Since the ecclesiastical state was the quickest way for young men from his background to climb the social ladder, they set him out along this way. Daily Confessions: 3:45-5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday Click here for Confession Protocols. Ill- at- ease with his unsuccessful efforts and the lack of direction of his life –he had been a priest for 10 years and had exercised almost no priestly ministry– he placed himself under the direction of Pierre de Bérulle, the founder of the Oratory in France. a) It is in a re-reading of the Gannes-Folleville event in the light of the Gospel, especially Luke 4, 17-22, that he understands the depth of the challenge which is thrown at him. the meeting with the countryman from Gannes and the subsequent very successful missions; the encounter with the poor invalid at Châtillon and the formation of the first Confraternity of Charity; to which one could add: the encounter with the Protestant from Marchais who threw it in his face that the Catholic church cannot be led by the Holy Spirit since in it the poor are abandoned; and then a year later the conversion of this same Protestant when he sees in the course of a mission that the poor are evangelized. 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). But this lived experience of poverty nevertheless had not for him been transformed into awareness of a challenge to be met. This is because in certain places the priests see them as such, even if this is incorrect, and they demand nothing more and missions are frozen out. He was to admit this later: I’m a farmer’s son who looked after pigs and cows. a) Disrupted interpersonal relationships. St. Vincent dePaul is open at Sacred Heart Church Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 - 11:45 a.m. For more information call 256-737-5131. 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). We are aware of what took place. Quite definitely the whole missions consists in that: relationships based on love! Many parishes today have a St. Vincent de Paul Society which carries on Vincent's work with the poor. The essential place of the laity, their irreplaceable role both at the level of evangelisation and that of material sevice and promotion of the poor. Mission reports provide abundant descriptions of this profound ignorance of the country people. 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. Letters of St. Vincent de Paul, translated and edited by Joseph Leonard (1937), reveal the religious spirit and practical genius of the man. But then the old man makes an admission to Mme de Gondi concerning: grave sins of his past life, as Vincent recounts to his missioners. This is also what is at stake concerning our reflexions here and the very reason for this Vincentian Month. The Church is directly concerned in this question and cannot close itself off into the purely spiritual dimension of ministry. 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. Further Reading on St. Vincent de Paul. 1952), is unsentimental and historically sound. b) In addition to this permanent daily misery, already bad enough, there was an exceptional misery provoked by “extraordinary” phenomena which settled in and lasted several years : the wars with their train of murders, brigandage and famines, epidemics like the plague, etc. 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. The missioners would try to bring those whose situation was amenable into a true religious marriage and would try to persuade others to separate. Châtillon was going to reveal to him another dimension to his vocation. He maintained a deep sympathy for them. Archdiocesan Year of St. Joseph- Read the Decree here. It is only little by little that he learned to “see” in depth the world and the Church with the very eyes of Christ, and to read there how God was calling him through the appeals of the poor and the abandoned. Watch a WCCO interview here. 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. Indeed, to establish the Confraternity of Charity (C.R. In 1608, he entered the service of Queen Marguerite de Valois, as one of her chaplains, with the task of distributing her alms. I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine , you did it to me. The congregation was the first noncloistered religious institute of … A bishop, in a letter to Saint Vincent, complained of the large and inexplicable number of ignorant and lax priests who compose my clergy and who can’t be corrected either by word or by example. What’s the remedy for this? 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. Francisco Javier Fernández ChentoOctober 19, 2016Missions, Vincentian SpiritualityLeave a Comment, Available at: http://via.library.depaul.edu/vincentiana/vol41/iss4/3. It was definitively directed to the poor country people and their spiritual needs. In their name he was meeting the poor, distributing the alms of Queen Margot or, in the company of Mme de Gondi, visiting the villagers working on her lands. The missioners were to give themselves with zeal to this interpersonal and communitarian ministry of reconciliation. 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”. We’re such great seekers of our ease! 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. It is an act of love which makes us enter into the hearts and feelings of each other. One could mention still other challenges which Saint Vincent had perceived and had taken up (unworthy bishops, Jansenism, etc.). 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. 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). We belong to Him and not to ourselves. The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia Inc., ABN 50 748 098 845, Charity Number 23838, is endorsed by … You can also request assistance online by filling out our form. 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. And now he had arrived at the decision to devote the rest of his life to the evangelisation and the material support of the poor whose real needs he had been able to discern as a result of the basic experiences of Folleville and Châtillon. Most of the country people are perishing of starvation if not by the sword…. Saint Vincent developed an apostolic outlook which enabled him to grasp the great challenges of his day and which directed him towards practical and effective solutions. 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. Do not become upset or feel guilty because you interrupted your prayer to serve the poor. St Vincent is a man of the concrete whose starting point is direct knowledge of events about which he reflects before acting. The beds at St. Vincent de Paul homeless shelter on Apple Street in Dayton had to be moved farther apart because of the coronavirus. By reflecting on his experience we can ask ourselves through what stages did he pass in order to identify the challenges. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul began with a personal challenge to provide individual help to the needy and it remains true to that mission today. Other moral disorders ought to be mentioned which the missioners tried to remedy: blasphemies, excesses of the carnival, drunkenness, etc. 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. 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. He is called to visit Lazarus and he goes… He weeps with them, so tender and compassionate is he. 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. This experience marked him with regard to a large part of his social and pastoral activity, especially in respect of the confraternities of Charity. The results would often be impressive, securing astonishing reformations of life: reconciliations between enemies, mutual forgiveness, restitution of property, regularisation of unions,etc. 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! Thus, meeting with the galley-slaves, the sick in hospital, the abandoned children, the aged, the war-refugees, the Catholics persecuted in Ireland or in the Hebrides, etc. They don’t know how many gods there are, or how many persons in God. It is far from being purely intellectual. | 239 Selby Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55102 | 651.228.1766 | Website by St. Paul Training, Baseball Card Auction for Charity: Read more, Monday-Friday at 7:30 a.m (also livestreamed, scroll down to see video). View a seating map and entrances/exits to plan for Mass. But he was still far from his hoped-for wealth. Cf., Denys L’Areopagite, in “DS” 3 (1957) 244-429. Join St. Vincent de Paul for our annual golf outing, and wine and bourbon tasting benefiting the Charitable Pharmacy. 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. In 1625 Vincent founded his own community, the Congregation of the Mission, which was devoted to working among the poor and for the formation of priests. This specific “at risk” group, “at risk” to re-offend, and… In the midst of the political, social, religious, and economic turmoil of early 19th century France, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul originated. For greater assurance the most important matters were put in writing and authenticated by a notary public. 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’s where a new outlook on the world was to develop thanks to contact with the wealthy, an outlook from which he would subsequently know how to draw great profit in his apostolate. 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. b) Help given to the clergy through the missions. He provided agricultural inplements and seeds to enable people to return to work and themselves take care of their needs. This is indeed the challenge which God asks him to take up after the example of Jesus. He had the confidence of Mme de Gondi and was her spiritual director. Little by little he eased his way into the world of the influential and the rich. As the Society continues its work in the community, it faces a number of challenges. Effective intervention for improving conditions in the lives of the poor must go hand- in-hand with evangelisation. “In a frail human being, each one of us is invited to recognize the face of the Lord, who in his human flesh experience the indifference and solitude to which we so often condemn the poorest of the poor, whether in developing countries or in wealthy societies. We know about this episode which is at the origin of the popular missions. 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. This is in line with the mission of Jesus who, returning to Nazareth at the start of his public life, reads out in the synagogue a text of the prophet Isaiah:”The spirit of the Lord has been given to me for he has annointed me to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.” Jesus rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down. If He increases our work. Monday- Friday: 7:15-8:15 a.m. (for morning Mass); 3:45-5:00 p.m. (afternoon confessions). He was touched by their misfortune (XII, 270). Among the many challenges that rural parishes face, dwindling numbers are one of the most common. For the future there would constantly come to his lips the two adverbs: spiritually and corporally, which became for him inseparable and which were found in the very first rule of the Confraternity of Charity of Châtillon: a few women of the village agreed to give spiritual and corporal assistance to those in the town (XIII, 423). He sees clearly that announcing the good news to the poor puts him at the heart of the Gospel and in line with the mission of Jesus. The most fundamental experiences which were to establish definitively his outlook as apostle of the poor took place in the year 1617. Doors open 25-30 minutes before each Mass. Bonus Fact: St. Vincent de Paul did not found the St. Vincent de Paul Society When St. Vincent was canonized by Pope Leo XIII, he became the patron of charitable societies. He was out to seek his fortune, but with little success. Suddenly he had evidence that the poor country people were left abandoned by the Church and that all that was needed was a priest and a sermon in order to arouse in them an unexpected longing for conversion. Then he wished to get away from it for twenty-two years. (IV, 415). 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. These include external challenges such as: • Ongoing societal changes including globalisation and modernisation, economic upheaval and changes to Australia’s demographics. Saint Vincent was able to involve himself and his various foundations (Confraternities of Charity,Congregation of the Mission and Daughters of Charity) in appropriate apostolic action which had a profound effect on the social and ecclesial life of his time because he could see and discern clearly the challenges of his times and the call of God involved in these. 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. 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. He acquired it progressively along a complex route. It is because we believe that in actualising the Vincentian charism of evangelisation and service of today’s most abandoned people the parish mission can contribute effectively and in a concrete way to the new evangelisation which our world needs. He would then understand the real challenges facing society and the Church, and at the same time would discover that he was capable of taking action with regard to them in order to bring about an effective solution. They cannot be separated. He died in Paris in 1660 and was canonized by Pope Clement XII in 1737. The lady is alarmed: “Ah!, if this man who was taken for a good person was in a state of damnation, what about others who live worse lives?  Jean Calvert, Saint Vincent de Paul and his world, (a book limited to private distribution) p, 334. Up to now we have been trying to take a look at the reality surrounding us: the world, the Church, the needs they have, their challenges, our difficulties….I would now like to offer you a reflexion about the way that St Vincent focussed on the social and ecclesial reality surrounding him. His focus was now no longer on himself, on his social success, on his family. 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. It’s an event which might appear common-place for a priest . 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 was short and squat with a square jaw and a square beard. I am now going to evoke briefly 4 of the biggest challenges which Saint Vincent discerned and which are linked to missions. 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). They are frequent more or less everywhere and damage the constitution of true christian families. 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. 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