Vincentians Benefit from Home Visits

(posted: August 1 2018)

Vincentians Benefit from Home Visits

FAMVIN's daily emails are a great source of information and inspiration. I am particularly fond of those days when there are excerpts from the actual commentaries of our Vincentian saints and founders. This one, an address made by Blessed Frederic at a General Meeting on December 12, 1847, made me think:

What constitutes the life of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is the home visit to the poor;
it is not enough to attend meetings regularly...
The visit, in order to obtain from it the fruits that one has the right to expect,
must be punctual, respectful and fraternal...
It is necessary to avoid, especially with the poor of Paris,
a familiarity which would seem to them to be arrogance.
We will achieve much more precious results if they perceive our visits to be fraternal,
if we sincerely accept their kindness,
if for our part we entrust to them our sufferings and our sorrows,
while asking them for the alms of their prayers.

Blessed Frederic reminds us that the Home Visit is the very life of our Society. Our other special works are good, but Home Visiting is our life. As such our Home Visits need to meet the standards of punctuality, respectfulness and fraternity.

Is it enough to decide that we do visits on set days and at certain times to suit ourselves? If a mother needs food for her family on Tuesday, can I justify that I don't do visits until Saturday? How can my conference serve those who need help on their schedule and when they call?

Do we Vincentians sometimes think we are the experts? Do we try to solve problems for people who need us? There is a difference between offering suggestions and telling people what they should or shouldn't be doing. A gentle attitude goes much further than sounding like an authority.

Meeting our friends in need as sisters and brothers should be a no-brainer. We are all poor in one way or another. I need those I encounter as much as they need me – perhaps more, because they are Christ to me. It is through them that I see Him in the flesh and that I am able to do for Him, what he has asked us all to do.

I always pray for those whom I have visited. I have often told people that Vincentians are praying for them and their families and I will always pray with anyone who asks. Blessed Frederic's remarks opened my eyes to another option that I have not yet used, but I will. From now on, when someone I visit is open to prayer from me, I will ask for her/his prayers. These special people who personify Jesus for us are surely some of the best to offer up our needs to our Father in heaven. In fraternal love I will ask those I visit to pray for me and for the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul.

The Lord hears the cry of the poor,
Blessed be the Lord.

Spirituality Corner

Monthly Reflections
by Denise Bondy, Chair
ONRC Spirituality Committee