“The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.” –St. Vincent de Paul
One of the primary ways we will celebrate the Year of Faith and the 25th anniversary of our diocese is a campaign, led by Bishop Stika, to create a St. Vincent de Paul Society (or a similar ministry to the poor) in every parish in East Tennessee. St. Vincent de Paul societies have long been a source of charity for those coming to the Catholic Church for assistance.
Since today is the feast of St. Vincent de Paul, it might be helpful to reflect on his life as an example of how the virtues of humility and charity can assist one to lead a life of holiness.
St. Vincent de Paul was born in 1581 to a family of simple farmers in France. As a young man he was captured by Turkish pirates and sold into slavery. He eventually was able to convert his owner to Christianity and returned home. As a priest, St. Vincent began his ministry serving the affluent. He later heard the call to serve the poor and spent his life showing others how to care for those in need. St. Vincent founded the Congregation of the Mission, more commonly known as the Vincentians. Along with St. Louise de Marillac, he also founded the Daughters of Charity. Both of these religious orders have service to the poor at the heart of their ministry
A little over a hundred years after St. Vincent de Paul’s death, a group of French university students founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The Society quickly spread around the world and continues to serve the needs of the poor.
Men and women like St. Vincent de Paul remind me of the difference one person can make in the world. He had the wisdom to listen to God’s call to service, trusting that God would not lead him astray.
May the intercession of St. Vincent de Paul assist us in our efforts to serve the poor in East Tennessee.