Third place essay: Amy Cultra on St. Vincent de Paul

The third place winner in the Saints for Our Times student essay contest is Amy Cultra, who write a fine essay on St. Vincent de Paul and important ways that his life serves as a model to us today.  Amy is an eighth grader at St. Edward the Confessor School in Dana Point, California.  She’s won $10 and a signed copy of the book.  Congrats, Amy!

Here is her essay:

“A Life of Servitude”

     Speaking to the Jews who had taken up stones with which to stone Him, Jesus said, “If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
           John 10:37

     These are powerful words of persuasion calling people then and always to take notice of the good works performed by Jesus, not for his own glorification, but in the name of God the Father.  They also call all of us to do the works of our Father in heaven by offering ourselves in service to others.  Loving kindness and generous compassion given freely and unconditionally will give opportunity for even the unbelieving to “believe the works” and experience the goodness of God. 
      Saint Vincent de Paul, born a little over 400 years ago, was a man who took deep into his heart Jesus’s call to action and he is a saint who calls me, and all of us, to bring the works of our Father to believers and unbelievers alike.  Through his good works and the grace of God, Saint Vincent de Paul brought the compassion and understanding that Jesus spoke of into the lives of many.  We are called to do the same.
      Saint Vincent de Paul is a saint we can and should relate to today because he dedicated his whole life to God through service to the sick, the poor and the suffering.  When he did, he changed many lives completely and yet he was very humble about the impact he had on the people around him.  He kept his focus on the people who were in need.  When he became a priest in the early 1600’s for example, Father Vincent de Paul refused to receive the traditional gifts and celebration given to a new priest.  Completely alone, except for the required altar servers, he offered himself for life and death to be a faithful servant of our Lord first and above all other things, when he celebrated his first Mass as an ordained priest.  People today should follow Saint Vincent’s example of humility.  We can do so by being careful not to get too caught up in the ceremonies, gifts and celebrations that can sometimes overshadow acts of goodness.
      Shortly after becoming a priest, Saint Vincent de Paul was captured by Turkish pirates and sold as a slave.  His faith was tested many times by two of his masters.  He was even offered a lot of money by one of them to convert from Catholicism to another religion.  Father Vincent never wavered in his devotion to the Church.  He remained faithful to God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  Allowing his masters and many others to witness the works of our Father through him, Saint Vincent de Paul didn’t turn against the unbelieving and eventually converted their hearts. 
      We today are not likely to be sold into slavery but we are challenged to endure hardships that can test our faith.  Others will also ask us to defend and justify the teachings of the Catholic Church.  We can do so by first educating ourselves and having a full understanding of Catholic doctrine.  It is important to be able to speak to others about our faith, and Jesus and Saint Vincent de Paul remind us that we can also touch the lives and hearts of others by doing His works.
      Saint Vincent put the needs of the poor, the sick and the suffering before his own.  His acts of goodness and charity were recognized by wealthy and influential people who begged him to live with them in grandeur.  Instead, he chose to live in a house next to a hospital in Paris so he could tend to the sick frequently.  Later he asked to become the pastor of a poor country- church where he took care of the people there and asked his wealthy followers to do the same.  Today, we also can choose between lavishing ourselves with more possessions and spending our free time frivolously or offering our time and treasures to better the lives of others. 
      We can see that Saint Vincent de Paul did many things in his lifetime that we can practice in our lives.  He is a perfect example of faith, humility and compassion to follow.  He has taught us that being mindful of other’s needs, always staying faithful to God and remaining humble while doing so,  can lead the way for others to know and understand that the Father is in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father.

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One Response to “Third place essay: Amy Cultra on St. Vincent de Paul”

  1. Michaela Says:

    Hey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Great job u helped me with my project.(=

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