Monday, September 15, 2008

St. Vincent...

A long time ago, in a land far, far away was a man named Vincent De Paul. He was born into a peasant family. Vincent studied humanities and he graduated in theology. Vincent de Paul was ordained in 1600, remaining in Toulouse until he went to Marseilles for an inheritance. On his way back from Marseilles, he was taken captive by Turkish pirates and sold into slavery. After converting his owner to Christianity, he was freed in 1607. Vincent returned to France and served as priest in a parish near Paris. He was sad to find that many babies were brought to Notre Dame by parents unable to care for them. So, he established a home for these children. A home...I just love that. The word home brings about such a warm, cozy feeling.

The name St. Vincent has always held a special place in my heart but I never knew the story behind the man. Both of my girls were born in a hospital back in Florida called St. Vincent's.

However, it wasn't until I came to London that I had the full impact of the man behind the myth. There is a Methodist church here that is the host to a place called the St. Vincent's Family Project. This place is a cute little center that is open to families. They have "Drop-In"center twice a week and then "creche" the other three days. When you are living in a city where the weather can change at the drop of a hat...and you have small children that need to let their energy out somewhere...a place like St. Vincent's is a true God send.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, you can go there and play with toys, do art projects, sing songs, have tea, visit with other moms (& dads), read books, play dress get the point. The other three days, there are activities just for parents and you can leave your kids and participate in the activities or run an errand. The amazing thing is that it is all FREE!

I questioned one of the workers as to why and her response was simple. "We want people, just like you, who are away from family to find a place to belong...find a home away from home!" There is that word again, Home.

Although I didn't find it in time to take advantage of the creche program, I did enjoy the Tues/Thurs drop ins and the girls and I loved it. All the BATS families enjoyed it. What a true credit to the name St. Vincent.

That is one thing I will say for the British...they don't seem to be a nations of "what's in it for me?" The majority of the activities in the city are free and people have been so helpful. Even whilst traveling by tube, there is ALWAYS somebody there to help you find your way or carry the buggy (stroller) or offer a seat.

It makes me think of what I will take away from this place..what will I bring HOME with me. Are there new comers to KC that are just looking for a place to belong? How can I impact their life? Will they see Christ in me or will I simply pass them by in my busy life? I hope I have learned something here about what it means to be without a home, away from home...lonely. "Lord, I pray that you will use me to make an impact in some body's life back home. Help me to remember what it is like to be a foreigner and always have an open mind and an open heart but most importantly, an open home. Amen"

Here are some pics of this lovely place and others like it.

Peace Out!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great post! I'm a better person because I met you. You truly have a servant's heart. Have a safe trip HOME!!

6:35 AM  
Blogger Addie said...


If my friend Marie feels she has a few lessons to learn on a servants heart and the art of hospitality, then holy cow I've got A LOT to learn!

I love her answer and all the beauty that you see in the city. Wish you had been able to find it sooner, but what a blessing for these last few weeks and the remaining BATS mamas. Take care these last remaining moments ... Can't wait to give you a big ole HUG!!

6:57 AM  
Blogger Rebekah said...

That is so cool. What a great program. I ditto what Ad said.
I can't wait to give you a huge hug!!! Be safe heading home.

7:15 AM  
Blogger Rob the Blog Ninja said...

Argh I am going to miss you when you are gone! If I could only clone you and the girls to keep me company for the next month!

Thanks for all of the help you've given me with bus info and cool places to visit. Thanks for all of the snacks for Ryan and secret backroutes to parks with fantastic views. It's been a blast and I wish you guys the best and easiest trip home ever.

Your blog looks great and I wish the people back home could know how nice the drop in places like st. vincent really are!

It's crazy how God would send me 4000 miles away and I'd still run into a bunch of believers to give me strength and help me through a tough time. He is Good!

Thanks for mentioning the dads in your blog too. hehe


1:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful story about St. Vincent. I have learned so much and I thank you for the insight. I can't believe that you all will be home tomorrow! We can't wait to see you guys!! We'll be waiting with open arms and all our love....Mom and Pops

7:05 AM  

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