St Vincent de Paul: his story and spirit
St. Vincent de Paul is known as “the saint of charity” throughout the world and his approach to serving the poor is held up as the example of how to go about helping others in their poverty of life. Vincent doesn’t offer us a spirituality, a teaching on prayer or the spiritual life. He offers us a Way. He shows us how we can meet our God in our everyday experiences, in the events, the persons, the circumstances of our lives. His Way is the way of the Church, a way of experience, of faith, and of practical wisdom …. all embraced in a spirit of love. For Vincent experienced true Charity – the Love that led God to send his Son among us… ‘to bring the good news to the poor’ (Lk 4:18). He responded to God’s love and call, and saw himself and his followers as being sent also ‘to bring good news to the poor’. Prayer was, for Vincent, a way of developing and deepening a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and with the poor. He had a deep faith and trust in God’s care for him and for all people, especially the poor. He shared their faith, his experience of God in prayer and in life and he encouraged his community to do the same. Vincent encouraged his followers to be contemplatives action, to respond to God in practical love both of God and of one’s neighbours, a practical love especially of the poor (material provided by Kevin Canty CM).