1. How did you come to know St. Vincent de Paul?
I came to know Vincent de Paul through a call to participate in the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. I was eight years old and had just made my first communion when my grandfather, a member of the Society for many decades, brought me to a meeting of one of the conferences. In that conference and through my visits to poor families, I found my vocation of service.
2. What are the primary services that the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul provides?
Our service is to provide assistance to our sisters and brothers who find themselves in a vulnerable situation. The hope visit is one of the pillars of our support system. We reach out to those persons who are poor in order to know and understand their reality and in order to help them move beyond their material and spiritual suffering.
3. How have the members confronted this pandemic? What is your present situation?
We are living in the midst of very challenging times. We are reinventing ourselves as individuals and as an institution in order to serve the poor, our lords and masters. Most of our meetings have been either suspended or now take place through the internet.
In order to confront the pandemic:
- We created an orientation committee for our elderly residences.
- We created projects and are able to distribute resources through our various works … we have been able to provide this assistance especially to those persons who are elderly.
- We have developed a project called “Affective Network” … psychologist and volunteers are able to assist our members and our employees.
- Young people have created the means to maintain our calling alive and to serve the poor in the best possible manner. Indeed, young people have taken the initiative to act in an effective and efficient manner.
- Our children and adolescents have been motivated to write letters to the elderly and to other children.
- We have developed projects to serve people living on the streets.
- We continue with our various social projects on behalf of families in need.
4. Would you like to share with some any reflection about your personal experience of service and prayer as you continue to follow in the footsteps of Saint Vincent de Paul?
It is the example of Vincent de Paul who inspires us with this network of charity that we form together as a worldwide Vincentian Family. We proclaim words of hope and we lift up our voices on behalf of those men and women who are poor and who are often oppressed and forgotten. Our activities are intended to to contribute to structural change in the life of so many marginalized people. We cannot remain idle when there are so many people who are struggling to survive and who are deprived of those means that would enable them to live in a dignified manner. As we continue to follow in the footsteps of Saint Vincent, may we see Christ in our neighbor and may we also continue to act on behalf of our neighbor.