“Sell your desk!” – Francis, the Vincentian

by | May 5, 2014 | Pope

Francis Vincent eyesIs Pope Francis a Vincentian? Not explicitly, perhaps. But in his call for a Church “that is poor, and is for the poor” – that is, for a Church that identifies closely with the poor – and in his insistence that this entails personal, loving service to our brothers and sisters, as well as systemic change, the answer is most certainly “yes!” Pope Francis, like Blessed Frederic Ozanam before him, is calling all of us to “go to the poor.” One way you can do that is through a local conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.”

The above quote is from a commentary in Aleteia reflecting on”Sell Your Desk, You Don’t Need it”: Pope Francis’ Radical Call to Serve the Poor

Pope Francis told the Archbishop in charge of the Vatican’s charity, “Don’t wait for people to come ringing. You need to go out and look for the poor.'”


“Pope Francis’s emphasis on the poor finds great resonance for members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, an international lay movement founded by Blessed Frederic Ozanam in Paris in 1833. Frederic, a student at the Sorbonne, was challenged by his socialist colleagues to demonstrate that his concern for the poor was more than mere words. “Don’t try to impress us with what priests and nuns are doing for the poor,” cried one of Frederic’s critics. “Tell us, what are you doing for them, you and your fellow Catholics in this room? Come, show us your works!”

That very evening, Ozanam gathered a group of companions in his quarters and admitted that the socialists had a point. Frederic recognized that his concern for the poor was largely rhetorical, even theoretical, but lacking in concrete action and a spirit of self-sacrifice. “We laymen must do our part to prevent the cold wind of materialism from snuffing out the warm flame of charity in France,” he declared. “We must proclaim through our acts that man is still his brother’s keeper. And in doing so, let us heed our old French proverb that says, “He gives nothing who does not give himself.’”

This article in Aleteia is well worth a read for all the followers of Vincent, Louise, Elizabeth, etc.

See earlier articles on this similarity in FamVin

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