When Frederic Ozanam founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP), he wanted it to be a group of friends who worked together to fight hunger. But the work he undertook not only benefited the poor but the the members of the Society also received many gifts, including the gift of friendship.
The SSVPBRASIL website tells the story of Brother Anderson José Schreneir Petry, 26, a member of the St. Francis of Assisi conference in Medianeira (Paraná). Two months ago he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. It was a difficult time in this young man’s life; however, it also brought him many blessings and teachings. It was then that he realized how important it was to have friends and, especially , Vincentian friends.
His treatment was done in the city of Cascavel, about 60 miles from the municipality where Anderson lives. During those days when he received chemotherapy, he was so weak that it was impossible to return home.
While attending the meetings of the local Council, he met a Vincentian couple: brother Manoel and sister Elenir. An friendship was soon born between them. Seeing Anderson’s difficulty, Manoel and Elenir opened the doors of their house to welcome the young man. “They treated me like a son. They picked me up at the hospital and took me to their house. On the day of my treatment, my arms ached, my stomach was upset and I want to vomit, but sister Elenir insisted that I eat something.”
According to the young man, Vincentian support has been fundamental to his recovery. “I feel that I am not alone in my struggle for Life.
Anderson’s treatment is going to come to a conclusion this week. “I am sure that a new life will now begin. I feel stronger and I have a very solid and beautiful friendship with Mr. Manoel and Mrs. Elenir.”