The second video of this series takes us to the small church of Folleville. Father Tomaž Mavrič recalls to us Saint Vincent entering that place to encounter a reality of spiritual poverty. Today, after 400 years, we see that the charism inherited from Saint Vincent remains current and challenging in the Vincentian Family’s dedication to evangelization.
And here we are, after 400 years, called to go to Folleville again, to our own Folleville. Vincent was not really enthusiastic, at the beginning, really joyful, but did go at the end, passing through different obstacles to get the experience that was a gift from heaven. And we are now called to go through obstacles, not to be stopped, not for long roads, not for bad weather, snow, rain, or any other obstacles that we can find on the road. We are called to get to our own Folleville.
Folleville is waiting for us. It is waiting for us in so many parts of the world, in cities, villages: small, medium-size, big. In all the continents, there are Follevilles: the experience of spiritual poverty that Vincent experienced in Folleville so much, now in today’s world, as well, in all the continents.
The second video in this series takes us to the small church in Folleville. Father Tomaž Mavrič recalls Vincent’s entrance into that place where he encountered the reality of spiritual/material poverty. Today, 400 years later, we see that the charism, inherited from Saint Vincent, remains relevant and challenging as the members of the Vincentian Family engage in the process of evangelizing those persons who are poor.
In his book, Return to the Sources: Folleville and Châtiillon, Father Luigi Mezzadri reminds us of the time when Vincent de Paul arrived in these pivotal places. Father Mezzadri writes:
The presence of a city priest, as Vincent was seen, did not go unnoticed. A peasant, who lay terminally ill in a nearby farmhouse, sent for this new priest. In 1658, Vincent spoke about those events and stated: Would you call the origin of our missions human? One day I was called to hear the confession of a poor man who was seriously ill. He had the reputation of being the most upright of men — or at least one of the most upright men — of his village. Yet, he was burdened with sins he had never dared to confess, as he himself afterward declared aloud in the presence of the late wife of the General of the Galleys. “Madame,” he said, “I would have been damned had I not made a general confession, because of the serious sins I had never dared to confess.” The man died shortly afterward and the said Lady, realizing the necessity of general confessions, wanted me to preach a sermon on this subject the next day (CCD:XII:7).
From the reaction of this poor country man, we gain insight into Vincent’s attitude. In Vincent’s presence, the man lowered his guard and as a result, the man was saved (but Vincent was also saved). As Vincent listened to the confession of this person, he became aware of this man’s spiritual poverty … a poverty that was widespread throughout Europe during that era.
Folleville marked the beginning of an adventure that has touched the hearts of countless men and women. As people read the signs of the time, they are very aware of the fact that such poverty is a reality in the twenty-first century and therefore, we, as members of the Vincentian Family, must continue to proclaim the Good News.
Translated: Charles T. Plock, CM
 CCD:XII:7 refers to Vincent de Paul, Correspondence, Conference, Documents, translators: Helen Marie Law, DC (Vol. 1), Marie Poole, DC (Vol. 1-13b), James King, CM (Vol. 1-2), Francis Germovnik, CM (Vol. 1-8, 13a-13b [Latin]), Esther Cavanagh, DC (Vol. 2), Ann Mary Dougherty, DC (Vol. 12); Evelyne Franc, DC (Vol. 13a-13b), Thomas Davitt, CM (Vol. 13a-13b [Latin]), Glennon E. Figge, CM (Vol. 13a-13b [Latin]), John G. Nugent, CM (Vol. 13a-13b [Latin]), Andrew Spellman, CM (Vol. 13a-13b [Latin]); edited: Jacqueline Kilar, DC (Vol. 1-2), Marie Poole, DC (Vol. 2-13b), Julia Denton, DC [editor-in-chief] (Vol. 3-10, 13a-13b), Paule Freeburg, DC (Vol. 3), Mirian Hamway, DC (Vol. 3), Elinor Hartman, DC (Vol. 4-10, 13a-13b), Ellen Van Zandt, DC (Vol. 9-13b), Ann Mary Dougherty (Vol. 11-12); annotated: John W. Carven, CM (Vol. 1-13b); New City Press, Brooklyn and Hyde Park, 1985-2009.
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