Born: 1813; Died: 1853; Beatified: 1997
He was the fifth of 14 children, a husband,
a father, a lawyer, an educator (Professor
at the Sorbonne), and Founder of the
Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
In Frederick’s eyes, faith without charity has no meaning. He once wrote, “The earth has become a chilly place. It is up to us as Vincentians,” as Catholics, “to become a great flame again and to bring warmth back into our society.” Can we remain blind and deaf and dumb in a world where human tragedy is
all around us? Where war is more common than peace? Where hatred out measures love in so many and varied ways?
We see today’s issues of human trafficking and the insensitivity to those immigrants trying to find a better life for themselves and their children. We see neighbors killing neighbors in drug wars and gang violence. Guns are easily accessible to all people. Drugs are killing family members and friends. Sadly, this is the chilly place that Frederick spoke of.
If Frederick was here today, he would tell us that we need to love God so we can love our neighbors into that warmth that will change society back to what was always intended in God’s eyes and the message of Jesus in the Gospels. And when we struggle to God for whatever reason, Frederick would tell us to love our neighbors, to love the strangers among us for, in doing so, we will surely see God in their faces, in their eyes, in their struggles, in their sadness, and in their lives. Frederick said this in his time and would now in ours. “My Lord and my God, You are our Master and we will be Your servants. You are, for us, the sacred image of the God that we cannot see. May we see you in those you put before us to nurture and to serve!”
Written by Sister Catherine Kelly, D.C.