A “home visit” – getting to know you

by | May 4, 2014 | Society of St. Vincent de Paul

Larry HuberLarry Huber writes… “I spent 17 years as a Probation Officer in western PA (although only two of that was in field work). I never knew who would appear on the other side of the door when I would walk up and rap or ring the door bell.

Now, just before I knock on the door at the beginning of a (Vincent de Paul) home visit, I say to myself, “Jesus, I know you’re on the other side of this door. Help me to recognize you.”

A wise Vincentian told me that he would begin each home visit with a discussion about “what parish did you grow up in?” which is a very “Philadelphia” thing.  Not having that history, I learned that I could discover more about the person by asking a simple question, “How did we get to where we are today?” Usually, people start with a tale of recent events and I usually tell them, “No. Let’s talk about when you moved to this area. what made you pick this place and why is it so important to stay here?”

Remembering a calmer time usually takes the edge off the current crisis and helps focus on the energies they needed to get to where they are.

The best visits are the ones where we tell each other our stories and we become “neighbors” and not strangers.

Larry Huber


Philadelphia Archdiocesan Council

Society of St. Vincent de Paul