Do you have a loved one who has a heart for serving others? Perhaps a friend who volunteers at the local homeless shelter, a brother involved in prison ministry, a niece who helps at the children's hospital? Bless that charitable person with a bracelet of Saint Vincent de Paul as a way of thanking them for making the suffering of others more bearable.
Vincent, born into a poor French family in 1581, was such an excellent student as a young man that he earned money as a tutor of wealthy children of a nearby family. His earnings allowed him to study theology at the University of Toulouse. After his ordination to the priesthood, he and his master were captured and endured slavery for two years in Africa before escaping back to Europe.
Back in France, he was charged with ministering to the poor, convicts, and the sick. He was so overwhelmed with his work that he began the Ladies of Charity as well as priestly institute now called the Vincentians. In addition to the extensive charitable work for which he is best known today, Vincent also worked tirelessly to reform a generation of poorly formed priests and to run retreats and start seminaries.
St. Vincent de Paul's feast day is September 27, and he is the patron of charities; horses; hospitals; leprosy; lost articles; Madagascar; prisoners; Richmond, Virginia; spiritual help; Saint Vincent de Paul Societies; Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory; Vincentian Service Corps; and volunteers.