Friday, September 27, 2013

St. Vincent De Paul: The Story Continues

Saint Vincent De Paul
St. Vincent De Paul is the saint of the day.

For most of my life, I've been aware of his name. In Greenville, there was a St. Vincent De Paul Society set up to assist the poor in the community. In Jackson, there is a St. Vincent De Paul Society run out of Holy Ghost Catholic Church.

So, I'd always associated his name with "doing stuff for the poor" and maybe the University.

Last year, I read in Fr. Brett Brannen's "To Save A Thousand Souls" an account of Vincent rejecting his father, a pig farmer, because he was ashamed of his humble origins. He later regretted it and advanced his faith to caring for the poor.

This morning, I read that Vincent had also been enslaved by Turkish Muslims for two years.

A varied and exciting life. I think they should make a Netflix series of it. Ryan Gosling could play the saint. Of course, I'm not sure if there was ever a time Vincent had to take his shirt off so maybe not... scratch that.

Gosling is "Vinnie D-Paul" coming this Fall!
Concerning the slavery, I dug this up on the internet. It makes for a good story but if you're reading this on an iphone, it will kill your battery! Here's a taste picking up the narrative after Vincent is in captivity:

Vincent de Paul’s master had, after the Turkish manner, married three wives, and one of them, a Turk by birth and religion, hated the life of the town where she was shut up most of the day in the women’s apartments, and went, whenever she could, to her husband’s farm in the country, where Vincent was working. It was a barren place on a mountain side, where the sun beat even more fiercely than in Tunis; but at least she was able to wander in the early mornings and cool evenings about the garden, which had been made with much care and toil.
Here she met the slave, always busy—watering plants, trimming shrubs, sowing seeds, and generally singing to himself in an unknown tongue. He looked so different from the sad or sullen men she was used to see that she began to wonder who he was and where he came from, and one day she stopped to ask him how he happened to be there. By this time Vincent had learned enough Arabic to be able to talk, and in answer to her questions, told her of his boyhood in Gascony, and how he had come to be a priest.
“A priest! What is that?” she said.
And he explained, and little by little he taught her the doctrines and the customs of the Christian faith.
“Is that what you sing about?” she asked again. “I should like to hear some of your songs,” and Vincent chanted to her,
“By the waters of Babylon,” feeling, indeed, that he was “singing the Lord’s songs in a strange land.”
And day by day the Turkish woman went away, and thought over all she had heard, till one evening her husband rode over to see her, and she made up her mind to speak to him about something that puzzled her greatly.
“I have been talking to your white slave that works in the garden about his religion—the religion which was once yours. It seems full of good things and so is he. You need never watch him as you do the other men, and the overseer has not had to beat him once. Why, then, did you give up that religion for another? In that, my lord, you did not do well.”
The renegade was silent, but in his heart he wondered if, indeed, he had “done well” to sell his soul for that which had given him no peace. He, too, would talk to that Christian slave, and hear if he still might retrace his steps, though he knew that if he was discovered death awaited the Mohammedan who changed his faith.

The rest of the story is here.

I believe that sometimes the greatest tool in bringing others to Christ is patience and joy. The Church is often seen as the meanest institution ever and Christians are painted as joyless funsuckers.
However, if we live out the faith, we're happy. Blissful. Serene.

Even in captivity. Cutting weeds. And being bothered by Turkish women.

Infectiously happy!