St. Vincent de Paul was born in 1581 in Gascony and ordained in 1600. In 1617 two events changed his life. After hearing the confession of a dying man he resolved to preach about Christ’s promised redemption and, later that year, after appealing for help for a poor sick family he saw many local people bringing them aid. This inspired him to found the Ladies of Charity (AIC), devoted to-person-to person help. Many other Vincentian organisations followed. He died in 1660 and was canonised in 1737.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was founded in 1833 by a group of students in Paris. They were challenged to serve the poor of the city and, inspired by the example of St Vincent de Paul, served the local population face to face, as part of their spiritual formation. In 1844 a group of men came together in London and started the first group here in Britain. Since then the SVP has worked the world over to bring help to the poor and the marginalised via face to face contact.
St. Anselm’s once ran its own branch of the SVP but, after it grew too small to be sustained, it folded and the remaining committed members moved over to the Tunbridge Wells chapter. But it was always hoped that we might re-visit it and breathe new life into our local chapter here in Pembury. Now is the time!
I was therefore delighted when my daughter, Jemima, joined a branch of the SVP at school. She became a ‘Mini Vinnie’, the charming name given to junior members. And, having drawn inspiration from her involvement at school, she feels called to re-launch and lead the St. Anselm’s branch and re-establish its good work.
To this end she is inviting people to attend a taster session this coming Saturday morning. Coffee and cake will be served and people will be asked to consider becoming formal members. The group will meet monthly, on a Saturday morning, for devotions and refreshments, to consider how to best help the local needy.
Could you come and support her this Saturday morning? The meeting will aim to be brief and will take place following the Mass at 9am.