From centuries ago, the words of our founders still resound, full of wisdom and insight for today. Saints Elizabeth Ann Seton, Vincent de Paul, and Louise de Marillac invite us to open our hearts to Christ’s gift of the Holy Spirit, to our neighbors around us, especially those in need, to all the members of the Body of Christ, near and far, and to God’s glorious creation.
Charity Wisdom from Our Saints
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
[God] will direct your heart to that prayer of the Spirit which neither occupations nor pain can drive from it – though it may not be active, still it is there.
Heart of Jesus, receive me.
Spirit of Jesus, enliven me.
Goodness of Jesus, pardon me.
Beauty of Jesus, draw me. (excerpt from Mother Seton’s adaptation of the prayer, Anima Christi)
I hope you continue to enjoy that happy peace which surpasses all understanding. Should it, however, be disturbed by doubts, anxieties, etc., do not get discouraged. In the midst of the storm and when Jesus seems to be asleep, call upon him with earnestness. He will arise, and everything will be calm within you. (Bishop John Cheverus to Elizabeth Seton, 1805)
St. Vincent de Paul
The inspirations of God are gentle and peaceful, inclining us lovingly toward the good He desires of us.
Remember that patience is as necessary to bear with ourselves as charity is to bear with the neighbor. May God be pleased to give us both.
The poor who do not know where to go or what to do, who are suffering already and who increase daily, are my burden and my sorrow
St. Louise De Marillac
I beg the goodness of our Lord to dispose our souls for the reception of the Holy Spirit so that, burning with the fire of His holy love, you may be consumed in the perfection of this love which will enable you to love the most holy will of God.
I adore You, Most Holy Trinity, one God in three persons and I thank You for all the graces that, in Your goodness, You have bestowed on me. I give You my heart and all that I possess so that henceforth I may accomplish Your holy will.
They [the Sisters] should be the image of the Most Holy Trinity; and even though they are several, they should form but one heart and one mind.
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Charity Wisdom from Our Friends
I will never cease entreating Thee for a heart of tender love, patient love, forbearing love, resigned love, love turned all to heaven, and united as purely as possible to the love of Thy divine heart. –Mother Elizabeth Boyle, first leader of the Sisters of Charity of New York (1846-1849), dec. June 21, 1861
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St. Paul says that “the love of Christ compels us,” but this “compels us” can also be translated as “possesses us.” And so it is: love attracts us and sends us; it draws us in and gives us to others.
― Pope Francis, The Church of Mercy
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Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it. – Arundhati Roy, author
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There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives. – Audre Lord, writer, poet, civil rights activist
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You are not dead yet, it’s not too late
to open to your depths by plunging into them
and drink in the life
that reveals itself quietly there. – Rainer Maria Rilke, poet