Monday, 1 November 2010
A (non-ghost) story for Halloween
An Irish Catholic friend of a certain age told me recently of the practice of many years ago when he, along with other laymen from his parish in Ireland would visit houses in the parish to collect money for the thriving Society of St Vincent de Paul which cared for the poor. (This was of course in the days before Vatican II when lay people did nothing whatever.) At one house he called at, there was an elderly widow who was obviously living in poverty. She went to fetch her purse and insisted on giving away her last half crown. This had a value of two shillings and sixpence and in those days was a substantial sum. She gave it willingly to help the poor, in the spirit of the gospel.
You might think that this is not a very spectacular story but my friend was in tears as he told me. We had also been discussing the sad demise of Catholic life in Ireland and this was an example of the faith, hope and charity of good Catholics in the old country.
I think we can be morally pretty certain that the poor lady is now in heaven, praying for us. She represents those millions of unsung heroes of the Church whose sanctity we celebrate on the feast of All Saints.
By the way, if you want to read a good sermon for the feast day, Fra Lawrence Lew has posted his homily which was given today. It was his first Sunday sermon in Oxford.