Mother of Good Counsel Convent in Chicago, IL, provided emergency hospitality for the annual gathering of the Vincent de Paul Society’s leaders and members of groups from the Chicago area on Sunday, October 20, when their previously scheduled facility was not able to be used.
Surely Blessed Angela looked down from heaven with a smile on her face as she watched her daughters scrambling to prepare for and host the large group setting up decorative tables for about 150 people, ordering food, welcoming guests and directing them to the chapel, washrooms, and Wellspring “dining room,” ensuring there was a traffic director outside with a bright orange security vest guiding dozens and dozens of cars to parking places and separating out cars that came for the big Ladies’ Auxiliary Bingo taking place at the same time in the auditorium.
The sacristan and helpers readied the chapel, and organized the celebrants and musicians for the 2 p.m. Mass. Practically every sister who was home and could walk without a cane became involved somehow, while many who couldn’t watched at least part of the lively liturgy on TVs throughout the house.
Surely Blessed Angela was smiling because she was an active member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, as quite possibly others of the early sisters also were. Surely she was smiling because most of the sisters excitedly cooperating were also present the day before for the Eco-Spirituality Study Day, and, whether they were aware of it or not, their actions resonated with the St. Francis Pledge.
From the MEMOIRS of the Congregation, (Second edition, revised):
CHAPTER VII. THE SPHERE OF ACTIVITY OF THE SISTERS OF ST. FELIX
*1. The sisters of this Congregation of St. Felix who claim Saint Francis for their father, that perfect follower of Christ, should more eagerly adopt his mode of life and approach the diversified work ordained for them by Divine Providence in the spirit of their holy father.
2. The sisters did not choose these activities for themselves, nor did they presumptuously inaugurate any movement. As they were guided in everything by Divine Providence, so also in their choice of work they were led by the express Will of God. In the Congregation, having its origin in social services rendered by the Charitable Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, 17 the diverse forms of charitable acts became inseparable from the Felician vocation. Henceforth orphans, aged women, and cripples gathered around them…
*FOOTNOTE 17 The Charitable Society or The Society of Ladies of Charity founded by St. Vincent De Paul in 1617 in France and existing until the French Revolution, was revived by Frederick Ozanam in Paris in 1833. In Poland the Society was first established in Lwόw (1843), in Poznań (1853), in Warsaw (1854), and then in other cities. In Warsaw it was established by Rev. Andrew Dorobis, Visitator of the Missionary Fathers, pastor of Holy Cross Parish. The first director of the Society was Rev. Matthew Gorzkiewicz; the president was Pauline Krasinska-Gorska but the real organizer was Rev. Msgr. Victor Ozarowski. The first Felicians came out of the ranks of this Society. See “Księga Pamiątkowa Trzechsetlecia Zgromadzenia Księzy Misjonarzy,” 1625m Krakόw, l7-iv-1925, pp. 246, 249-250, 267-269.”
Other stories of Angela’s life describe how Sophia was active in the earliest days of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul before November 21, 1855.