Friday 27 September 2019

Happy Feast of St. Vincent De Paul!

"There is scarcely a single form of charitable activity existing in America at the present time that was not successfully undertaken by St. Vincent in France three centuries ago."  
 -- Henry Somerville
Today, September 27th, is the Feast Day of St. Vincent de Paul, patron saint of charities.

The Archdiocese of Toronto has shared St. Vincent de Paul's charitable spirit from its founding when Bishop Power and the Loretto Sisters risked their lives to help the sick and poor Irish immigrants.

Since then there have been too many charitable endeavours in our history to cover in one post, so this week we are highlighting the particular organizations and places in the Archdiocese under the patronage of St. Vincent de Paul.

  In addition to having an amazing cover page, this booklet details the many charitable deeds undertaken by St. Vincent to help the sick and the poor.

St. Vincent de Paul booklet by Henry Somerville, Paulist Press, 1916.

Archbishop McNeil Fonds
MN AP06.26

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a lay organization formed under the direction of Blessed Frederic Ozanam in 1833. The society is inspired by the words and deeds of its patron saint, developing programs, distributing resources, and advocating for those in need. The Toronto Council was established in the 1850s, and continues to offer thrift stores, residential housing, and programs such as sending children to summer camp and prison and home visitations.

St Vincent De Paul Society Bulletin for Toronto Particular Council, Vol 1, No. 1

February 1957

Other Collections - St. Vincent de Paul Society
 OC 012 BU12

St. Vincent's patronage has also been present in the Archdiocese through the works of the Congregation of the Mission (also known as the Vincentian Fathers). The order was founded by St. Vincent de Paul in 1625, and our very own Archbishop Lynch was ordained as a Vincentian in 1843. Like St. Vincent, Archbishop Lynch cared lovingly for Toronto's poor, who were often Irish Catholics.

Archbishop Lynch remained in close contact with his Province after leaving for Toronto. The following letter was written to Archbishop Lynch after he was named Bishop of Toronto in November 1859:

“It is the last time that I can presume to address you by the familiar and sweet name of confrere. You shall soon be, but in a fuller sense, what I always considered you, a dear and venerated Father.

So we have lost you in our poor litter Congregation! […] I can say emphatically and all who know you say, that your loss will be keenly felt by the Province in general and by the Seminary at the Falls in particular.
May Almighty God be with you in your new and higher sphere of action, and as when amongst us you were a faithful imitator of St. Vincent so may as a Bishop walk in the holy footsteps of St. Francis de Sales and St. Charles Borromeo"

November 8th, 1859

Archbishop Lynch Fonds
L AB01.10

After Archbishop Lynch's death, the Vincentian Fathers would not return to the Archdiocese until 1933 when they would administer different parishes in Toronto. The Slovenian Vincentians continue to be present in the Archdiocese, administering the parishes of Our Lady Help of Christians and Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.

St. Vincent de Paul is also the patron saint of a Toronto parish of the same name, which appropriately celebrated its first mass on September 27th, 1914. The parish's St. Vincent de Paul Society and St. Vincent de Paul Separate School were both also established in 1914.

The first mass was celebrated by the parish on September 27th, 1914 in a storefront on Roncesvalles. The church building was dedicated 10 years later in September, 1924.

St. Vincent de Paul Parish 75th Anniversary Booklet, 1989

Parish Collections - St. Vincent de Paul - Publications

These instances of patronage to St. Vincent de Paul are only a small example of his influence in our Archdiocese. You can find out more about St. Vincent de Paul here.
"We ought to deal kindly with all, and to manifest those qualities which spring naturally from a heart tender and full of Christian charity; such as affability, love and humility"
-- St. Vincent de Paul

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