St. Vincent de Paul Society is a non-profit, religious organization that provides outreach and resources to people and families who are experiencing temporary set-backs due to unemployment, illness or other life-changing events. We are always happy to meet new people - all are welcome! Whether the need is material or spiritual, we want to help. If you are struggling and need help, please call our emergency hotline at (715) 736-1601 and leave a message.
The St. Joseph Conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul provides invaluable community services, such as alleviating hunger, temporary shelter for displaced families, clothing and household items for our neighbors in poverty, micro loans, financial assistance and more. In addition to our community service activities, we have regular meetings at our downtown location so that our members can join together for spirituality and plan new goals for the future. Browse through our website to learn more about our work.
INTERNATIONAL ADVENT GREETINGS!
My very dear sisters and brothers in Saint Vincent, May the grace and peace of Jesus be always with us!
For all of us, life is a pilgrimage. We are constantly in motion. This pilgrimage is not so much a physical movement from one place to another, but an inner movement of our thoughts, reflections, sensory perceptions, and prayer.
The Church offers us special times of the year, pauses along the way, to help us deepen our understanding of our life’s pilgrimage and find meaning in every single day, even minute, that makes up that path. We learn to be more and more attentive to daily events, people whom we meet, thoughts and emotions that arise, and the nature – trees, flowers, rivers, mountains, animals, sun, moon, etc. – that surrounds us. Through our attention and care, we progressively embrace all humanity and the whole universe.
One of these special moments is Advent. In this privileged time of year, we continue our reflection on the elements that shaped Vincentian spirituality and led Saint Vincent de Paul to become a Mystic of Charity. In addition to those on which we reflected over the past three years, another foundation of Vincentian spirituality is Providence.
The following terms could express the essence of Providence: “Jesus’s vision for my life,’ “Jesus’s project for my life,” “Jesus’s recipe for a meaningful life.” Providence works its way into our being, our mind, and our heart on one condition: trust. Trust in “Jesus’s vision for my life,” “Jesus’s project for my life,” “Jesus’s recipe for a meaningful life.”
We put ourselves in Jesus’ hands, trusting that His vision for our life is the best possible vision, His project for our life is the best possible project, and His recipe is the best possible model for a meaningful life. Providence will be effective in our lives according to the depth of our trust in Jesus. The deeper our trust in Jesus, the more we will allow Providence to perform miracles in lives. The more we place ourselves in the hands of Jesus, the more we are able to read daily events, encounters, and places as means through which Jesus communicates to us. The more we come to trust in Jesus’s plan for us even if what is happening may be somewhat incomprehensible or even very painful, the more we will rely on Providence. What helps us to let Providence work in us in all life’s circumstances is placing ourselves in Jesus’s hands, trusting Him to the fullest.
This way of “abandoning” ourselves into Jesus’s hands in all situations changes our perspective. We will not evaluate life events as good times or bad times, but will look at them through Jesus’s person, trusting Him totally, and recognize them as “the right times.” This choice will make two terms, “fate” and “chance,” disappear from our vocabulary. We will realize that they are not compatible with our way of understanding the Gospel and Jesus.
Total abandonment into Jesus’s hands, total trust in Jesus’s plan, and total trust in Providence help us discover or rediscover the beauty, the positive, and the meaning behind every event. This contrasts with looking at events through just our human eyes, mind, and feelings. In that case, the mentality of fate and chance points to the negative and conceals the beauty, the positive, and the meaning of all that touches and shapes us.
As we enter this Advent season, let us be inspired by …our Holy Founder, Saint Vincent de Paul, and all the other Blessed and Saints of the Vincentian Family embodied total trust in Jesus in their own lives and, in their own time and place, composed an “Ode to Providence.”
May each one of us compose our own “Ode to Providence.”
Your brother in Saint Vincent, Tomaž Mavrič, CM
This is an edited version of Father Mavric’s Advent letter.