People who are poor must wonder what makes us “tick”. One Daughter of Charity at a clinic in India who changed a filthy bandage and cleaned the infected wound of a woman with leprosy was asked this question by the grateful woman. “Sister, how can you do this work?” Sister responded, “Our founders taught us.” She went on to explain that St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac instructed the Daughters of Charity that Jesus Christ is in the person of those who are poor. “They are our lords and our masters.” The woman was amazed and honored.
(Take a moment and study this picture from the DePaul Image archive. Then visit a “reading” of this icon.)
Eugene Smith, past President of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, USA, writes: “Most of the people served by the Vincentian family do not know St. Vincent and St. Louise. Why, because most of us in the Vincentian Family seldom take the time to tell those we visit in their homes or hospital beds or wherever we serve them about our founders. We live out the charism as we serve but we don’t tell people why we do what we do.” In this Vincentian Year of New Evangelization, let us revisit this important article originally published as part of the monthly study material for the Vincentian Family’s 350th Anniversary celebration.