Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Saint Vincent de Paul: The Blessing of Charity

Today is the Feast of Saint Vincent de Paul and he is a great saint to share with your children! He is the patron saint of charitable societies. I believe teaching our children about charity, mercy and loving our neighbors is more important now than it ever has been, especially with the increase of feelings of entitlement, instant gratification and social media feeding the insatiable need for fame. Ironically enough, Saint Vincent de Paul actually spent the first 20 years of his life in search of riches and becoming famous. He was also captured by pirates, just like Saint Patrick. What child doesn't love an exciting story like that? And most importantly, Saint Vincent was freed and in the end became dedicated to the spiritual and material needs of the poor. I hope my children will emulate the virtues that Saint Vincent has taught the world.

This feast day is special to my family. It is special because honestly we are not a rich family monetarily but we have been blessed in love. We do struggle financially and probably will for quite awhile, if not forever and that is ok. We do not have vehicle loans or even a mortgage but we do owe money to an attorney that saved our children from a dangerous situation. In addition to this $10,000 debt we pay large amounts for our youngest son to receive therapies he needs. I am not sharing this to bring anyone to feel bad for my family because I truly believe that we are blessed.

We are safe...

We are together...

We have all that we need to survive...

We are immeasurably blessed.

I am sharing this because we are a family that has received charity and I feel that it is important to share how that has touched us. There was a time when I had no home. My children and I slept on friends and families couches for several months. I have received food from friends and family because I was a single mom that was struggling more and more to pay my bills and provide for my children. I had three different jobs and still couldn't afford more than the basics. My parents helped me pay for an attorney once to get me out of the abusive marriage I was scared to leave. Charity is more than money, food or clothes. It is knowing that someone cares enough to help.

There were days I wanted to give up. The struggle was so great and I would come to work in tears. My coworkers and management supported me and I don't know how they managed to deal with me falling apart but they did and they never made me feel guilty. These people were more than coworkers, they became family.

I have to admit, I have tears running down my face as I share all this. Knowing the amount of people that have cared for me and my family in our great time of need will be something that I will never forget and I know that my children never will either. To anyone that has ever helped another human being not expecting anything in return, may God Bless You! May God Bless You enormously! It is because of people like you that I have crawled from the darkness back into the light. My family has been forever changed and we were saved. I hope that my experience with charity is something that can be inspiring. I want it to inspire others to help people. We need to help each other.

To honor Saint Vincent as a family, I decided that a classic Beans and Rice dinner would be perfect! It is a simple meal that many of the poor ate because it was inexpensive to make and it is quite filling. In addition to it being simple and inexpensive, my oldest son had a stomach virus yesterday so I am keeping our menu simple until I know that the virus is officially gone from the household.

Saint Vincent was born in France so Ratatouille, considered a peasants dish, would also be a great option or even Poor Man's Stew.

In addition to a simple dinner, donating items or money to a charity would also be a great way to reinforce the virtues of taking care of the poor. The Christmas Season is fast approaching, maybe going through your children's clothes and toys to make room for the gifts they will receive and having them bring it to a charity would instill a love of giving that will last a lifetime for them and the people they bless with that charity.

Start with the Spiritual Works of Mercy for inspiration if monetary donations aren't something you can do right now. I know I am not in a position to give a ton of extra monetarily but we do our best and that is all God asks of us.

Feeding the hungry
Giving drink to the thirsty
Clothing the naked
Burying the dead
Giving Shelter to the traveler
Comforting the sick
Freeing the imprisoned

Prayer to Saint Vincent de Paul:

Noble Saint Vincent de Paul, beloved servant of the poor, may we follow your example and do good works among those whom society has abandoned, enslaved, or forgotten. Inspire us to feed the hungry, to love a child, to provide comfort and medicine to the sick, to clothe those whose garments are threadbare, and to offer hope and our Lord's words to all who need respite. Pray for us to our beloved God that we may commit ourselves selflessly to doing the same charitable acts that you did all your life, and intercede with him that we may have the favor of his guidance and strength and love upon this important and meaningful work. 

Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us!


  1. This post is beautiful in its honesty. We, too, have been the recipients of charity when facing huge medical bills for our daughter. Thank you for sharing.