The provincial leader of the Vincentians in Austria Franz Kangler writes…
On February 9,2015 the well-known German painter and priest Sieger Köder died in Germany at the age of 90.
Sieger Köder painted the huge mural of Frederic Ozanam in 2000. The church press in Austria reprinted material on his famous mural of Frederic Ozanam in Graz.
It is the second widely known work of art in St. Vincent`s parish of Graz (next to “Vincent at the table of the Poor” by Kurt Welther).
You are probably familiar both with the mural and Fr. Pucher’s meditation on Ozanam (in German)
TO SERVE THE POOR IS TO SERVE GOD – Commentary on Vincent at the Table
Vincent de Paul is sitting among the poor as one of them. He has no halo, he does not stand above them as the great helper, he is one of them. It is as if all the people had just come in as Vincent was about to sit down and eat a simple meaL Now he is sharing it with them.
But are these people really the poor? Who indeed knows who the poor are? Sitting here are old people, and between them children wth deep-set eyes. We can see a tattooed man just released from prison and a prostitute who, like John at the Last Supper, lovingly sits close to Vincent. On his right sit a vagabond and people from foreign countries, refugees. Their eyes are not very clear. Vincent says: „Often enough the poor have no faces at all, but if you flip over the coin, you see, in the light of faith, that the Son of God is coming to us here through the poor.” The face of Christ that shines from the centre of the table gives us an idea of the presence of Christ in these people. That is why Vincent said to us: us serve the poor with a new kind of love.
Let us recognise before God that they are our Lords and Masters!” To serve the poor is to serve God. The twelve who are sitting around the face of Christ at this paupers’ supper remind us of the Last Supper, the supper of the love of God, the innermost secret of which is, according to Vincent, „compassion”.
See Ray Sickenger’s article Faith, Charity, Justice, and Civic Learning: The Lessons and Legacy of Frédéric Ozanam