The home visit is the founding action of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul which Frederic Ozanam and his fellow members began on the advice of Sister Rosalie Rendu who certainly knew how and where these young students could really seek and find Jesus Christ. I’m not sure if they even knew what they would experience during their visits to the poorest sections of Paris, but it must have had a life changing impact on each one of them as we still follow in their footsteps to this day.
On one recent evening of home visits with my fellow Vincentian, we visited four families with three of the four being from other countries. We spent time with families from Mexico, Sudan and Egypt and we both came away from these visits with a real sense of pride in the diversity in population that our Canada is undergoing. I can see the importance of embracing the fact that we are one global people, with one God and with the same common goals. It was amazing that while the families we visited were certainly struggling in their new country, they all had such a joy in being in a safe country and one where they can live in peace and practice their faith.
One family we visited had recently arrived from Sudan and while they are having a difficult time financially they still exhibited a real love for one another and were so pleased to welcome us into their home. This family has two younger children and an older son who has just moved to Canada from the USA, where he has been attending university. In speaking with this young man, he told us how much he enjoyed living in the USA but due to the current political climate he decided to move to Canada and plans to complete his studies here. His home country of Sudan is on the list of countries that have restrictions on immigration to the USA. As we ended our visit, I invited the father to lead us in prayer in his language to our God, which demonstrated to me how much we really do have in common with our new Canadians. Welcome to CANADA!!
About the author:
Jim Paddon lives in London, Ontario, Canada and is past president of the Ontario Regional Council of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. He is currently chair of the National Social Justice Committee of the Society in Canada. He is married to his dear wife Pat and they have six daughters and eleven grandchildren. Jim has been a member of the Society since the 1970’s.
Opinions expressed are the author’s own views and do not officially represent those of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.