Charity Heroes: St. Vincent de Paul and Vogt

(Illustration by Pat McNamara)

Tomorrow is the feast day of St. Vincent de Paul, and if you’re not familiar with his story or why he matters, you’ll want to avail yourself of Doctor-now-Professor Pat McNamara’s excellent and informative profile of this enterprising and surprising saint, who started on his path for all the wrong reasons:

“An intelligent child from a poor family, he initially saw the priesthood as an escape from poverty. Once he acquired a wealthy parish, he planned to use his income to take care of his parents in their old age. In pursuing a religious vocation, he had mixed motives, to say the least.

A stocky man of medium height, Vincent was shrewd, astute, and possessed of enormous common sense. One biographer describes him as having “a gift for winning other people’s good will.” Another writes that he “charmed everyone on first approach.” He was undeniably ambitious, but he balanced this with a deep compassion for society’s least. In time, he would translate that compassion into action.

But as a young priest, he was less interested in reform than in his own income. In time he acquired several prestigious positions, including chaplain to the wealthy De Gondi family. It was there while ministering to the tenants on their vast estates that he discovered his life’s mission. It happened over time as he identified three major problems in seventeenth century France: religious ignorance, poorly trained clergy, and widespread poverty.”

Read the rest, here. It really is quite a story, and tomorrow you’ll find yourself feeling happy that you have come to know this great saint.

Meanwhile: he’s adorable, smart, authentic, passionately Catholic and just an all-around interesting guy to listen to, so I’m letting you know that Brandon Vogt will be featured tonight on EWTN’s “The Journey Home” at 8pm ET; he’ll be sharing share his conversion story and talking about his book, The Church and New Media of which St. Vincent dePaul would approve, since 100% of Brandon’s profits are going to charity.

By the way, the Patheos Book Club will be talking about The Church and New Media next week, along with another book…I wonder if you can guess which that might be?

If you guessed right, then don’t miss Kathryn Jean Lopez’ thoughts on it:

“the best sermon you’ve ever heard. The best class you’ve ever taken. Or the homily you’ve never heard and the classroom you never had available to you.”

And if that’s not high-praise enough (and there cannot be too much) read Tim Muldoon’s review

“What makes Cézanne’s painting remarkable is that it provides a transition between the Impressionist period (think of those color-splashed water lilies of Monet) and the work of modern painters like Picasso and Matisse). What Cézanne opened up for later artists was a new way of seeing things, and a new way of inviting people to look at the world. Instead of treating painting as a flat, two-dimensional representation of the world, Cézanne suggested that painting can move our minds to a consideration of the world that is not available to us in our normal way of seeing.

Barron’s book does something analogous: it invites us to see the forest of Catholic faith rather than the individual trees. And it does it in a way that expands our vision, recalibrates it. There is something deeply sacramental about his approach, by which I mean not only his interest in the fact that Catholics celebrate sacraments, but also his ability to use discreet images and examples as windows, as it were, into the mystery of Catholic faith. If a sacrament is a visible image that opens us up to an invisible reality, then Barron’s book is an understandable text that opens us up to a beautiful and ineffable mystery.”

I told you. A revolution!

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