The theme for the parish’s Feast of St. Vincent celebration this year is “Find Your Inner St. Vincent!” This slightly hippy-dippy theme statement might seem simplistic, even flighty, at first glance. That is until you ask yourself what “finding your inner St. Vincent” might look like, which was directly inspired by the life of St. Vincent de Paul’s life.
Born into rural poverty in 16th-century France, St. Vincent thought his path out of poverty and into a comfortable “middle class” life might be the priesthood. This was fairly common in those days. There were a few bumps along the way (such as being kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery!), but all in all, he landed a pretty sweet gig ministering to rich folks. (See more of St. Vincent’s story on the reverse page.)
End of story, right? Mission accomplished? Pension and a high yield investment portfolio? He probably just packed it in and put his life on cruise control. Not St. Vincent! After an encounter with the servant of one of his wealthy patrons, his eyes were opened to the spiritual and physical needs of the poor. The rest is history.
Finding your inner St. Vincent means getting uncomfortable, unsettled, and unsatisfied with status quo in our lives. This will look different for different folks, and each of us will find this inspiration in a different place.
In this community there is any number of opportunities to take that step—meeting the people who visit and stay in St. Vincent’s Park, serving dinner at Breaking Bread With the Hungry in our undercroft on Friday evenings. We also might stop to look up from the frantic pace of our busy lives to see those in need around us—an elderly neighbor in need of company or assistance, a child struggling in school who could use a tutor. We ask God to help us follow St. Vincent’s trajectory from comfort to discomfort in the service of all people. —Lee Krempel