The SVDP Conference has shared in this space the life of St. Vincent de Paul and the international society dedicated to the ministry of serving the poor that he inspired. We also have shared our local history and an overview of the numbers we have served in our community of Wellesley and Newton. Below, we would like to share a few reflections on some friends we have worked with through the generous donations of many parishioners and how that experience has inspired us.
A First Home Visit: It was to be my first home visit. I was to accompany two other members of our local SVDP Conference who had home visit experience. We began with a prayer in the car as we awaited the start of the visit. The friend who had reached out for help was a single mother with three school-age children. She found herself short of funds as she worked through the break-up of her marriage, and needed help to pay her children’s school tuition. As we listened to this mother’s situation, one thought ran through my head – this young friend is just like all of us. She wants to provide for her family as best she can. Her financial plight was difficult for her to discuss, yet her children’s welfare was more important. Working with the school administration, SVDP responded to the young mother’s immediate need. For me it was an important reminder that Vincentians and friends are all God’s children – we all need the same understanding, respect and caring.
An Indomitable Spirit: She was 23, had been educated in the Wellesley Public School system through high school, and was as intelligent and bright as anyone I have ever met. She was one of five children, and three of her younger siblings had been placed in foster care. As a single mother of a 5-year-old son, she had moved home a few years ago to live with her estranged mother to raise her child. Unfortunately, her mother had just passed away suddenly, leaving her with a large overdue rent payment. She needed to make the payment to stay in her public housing unit, and was grateful for any rental assistance she could receive. She was working but it wasn’t enough, as she was also helping her older sister get through community college. Her goal was to go back to school and ultimately bring her younger siblings out of foster care and into her home. I was amazed that throughout the visit she was thoughtful, gracious beyond her years, and full of hope despite her circumstances. She was determined to not only survive but to put the pieces of her family back together in any way she could. I remember thinking, as I was leaving, that we, as Vincentians, are told to seek the face of God in all those we help, and I had clearly seen the face of Christ in her. On that day, we had received far more than we had given.
Friendship, Grace, and Faith: A friend we recently assisted is an immigrant who has lived in Wellesley for more than 10 years. She works part-time as a nanny while completing her degree at a local college. She has a strong work ethic, and told us how she removed herself from governmental financial assistance several years ago. But due to more expenses for her children, rising costs, and diminished part-time work opportunities, she was now reaching out to St. Vincent de Paul for financial assistance for rent as well as help with processing the visa application for her husband. Our Conference provided rental assistance as well as contact information for immigration services, including an immigration attorney. Our friendship grew over the almost six weeks we worked together, and most touching was when she relayed how she found spiritual comfort in our parish. One evening she went to the rectory and rang the bell, and a priest came to the door – she requested that he hear her confession. They went together to the church and after what she describes as an emotional experience she left feeling the comfort and hope of God’s merciful love.
Second Collection September 24-25: Next weekend there will be a Special Second Collection at all Masses to support the work of the St. Vincent de Paul Conference of the SJSP Collaborative. Envelopes are available now at the back of the churches and will be in the pews next weekend. You may also give online at sjspwellesley.org/svdp
Please help us to help the many in need in our community with your generous donations.