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St Vincent de Paul

Vincent was born in a town in Southwest France and was the son of poor French peasants. Today the town is called Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, Landes, France.

When he grew up and became famous, he loved to tell people how he had taken care of his father’s pigs. Because he was intelligent, his father sent him to school to study under the Franciscan friars at Acqs. And after finishing his studies from the University of Toulouse, Vincent became a priest at the age of 20.

At first, he was given an important position as the teacher of rich children, and he lived rather comfortably. But while he was traveling by sea from one city to another, he fell into the hands of Turkish pirates who sold him as a slave in Tunis.

Two years later after he was finally set free by one of his owners, who he converted to Christianity, he returned to France where he served as a parish priest.

Then one day, he was called to the side of a dying peasant. In front of many people, this man declared that all his past confessions had been bad ones.

Suddenly Father Vincent realized how badly the poor people of France needed spiritual help. When he began to preach to them, crowds went to confession. He finally decided to start a congregation of priests to work especially among the poor.

The charities of St. Vincent de Paul were so many that it seems impossible for one person to have begun so much.

He took care of criminals who worked on the sailing ships

He started the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity

He opened hospitals and homes for orphans and old people

He collected large sums of money for poor areas

He sent missionaries to many countries and bought back prisoners from the Mohammedans

Even though he was such a charitable man, however, he humbly admitted that he was not so by nature. “I would have been hard, rough and ill-tempered,” he said “were it not for God’s grace.”

“It is not sufficient for me to love God if I do not love my neighbor. I belong to God and to the poor.” Vincent de Paul died in Paris on September 27, 1660.

St Therese of Lisieux

Therese wanted very much to enter the Carmelite convent where two of her sisters were already nuns. But since she was only fifteen, they did not let her.

Therese felt sure that Jesus wanted her to spend her life loving him alone. She kept praying and asking the superior to let her join the convent. She even dared to ask Pope Leo XIII himself to grant her heart’s desire and finally she was allowed to enter.

Although she was only fifteen, Therese did not expect to be treated like a child. “Obedience, prayer and sacrifice” were her duty. She had a thirst to suffer for love of God.

Theresa had the spiritual courage of a real heroine. “May Jesus make me a martyr of the heart or of the body-or better, both!” she wrote. And she meant it.

In winter she suffered from the bitter cold and dampness of her plain bedroom. There were other kinds of sufferings, too. Whenever she was made fun of or insulted, she would offer her pain to her beloved Jesus. She would hide her hurts under a smile. She told Jesus to do with her whatever was his will.

Sister Therese tried hard to be humble. She called her great belief in God her “little way” to holiness. She always had a burning desire to become a saint.

The young nun wanted to find a “short cut,” an to take her quickly to heaven. So she looked in the Bible, and found the words, “Whoever is a little one, come to me.”

When she lay dying, she could say: “I have never given the good God anything but love, and it is with love that he will repay.

After my death, I will let fall a shower of roses. I will spend my heaven doing good on earth.” The Little Flower died on September 30, 1897.

“O Jesus, my love, my vocation, at last I have found it. My vocation is LOVE!”