A Year with the Saints – 19 November


Oh, how great must be the love that the Son of God bears to the poor! for He chose the state of poverty. He wished to be called the teacher of the poor, and counts most especially as done to Himself whatever is done for His poor. – Saint Vincent de Paul

Though this Saint loved all men, yet it may be said that He loved the poor above all; he bore them all in his heart; he had more than a father’s love for them so that this most tender affection gave rise in him to a keen sympathy with their miseries, and a constant effort to relieve them. When he met with any case of want, his heart was immediately filled with compassion, and without waiting to be entreated, he thought of some method of relief; so that his chief care seemed to be to help the needy and assist the poor. He showed this while talking, one day, about the bad weather, which threatened to cause great scarcity of food. “Ah!” he exclaimed with a sigh, “how anxious I feel, not so much for my Congregation, as for the poor! We will go out and ask food for our houses, or serve as vice-curates in the parishes; but what will the poor do? Where can they go? I say with truth, that this is my greatest affliction and trial.”

The same may be said of Saint Francis de Sales, with the addition that he showed a positive preference for the poor over the rich, in both temporal and spiritual things, for he looked upon them, as he said, as people abandoned by the Lord to our care. Many other Saints were remarkable for their tenderness to the poor. Sister Maria Crucifixa often told her Abbess that if it should ever be necessary to refuse alms to the poor, she would contrive not to be present, as she could not bear it. Saint Margaret, a Dominican nun, put so much refinement, delicacy and courtesy into her acts of charity, that the expression “This is not a leaf from Sister Margaret’s book” became a proverb to characterize anything that was not well arranged. Saint Hedwig, Queen of Poland, served the poor on her knees and washed their feet. Saint Stephen, King of Hungary, and others did the same.

MLA Citation