Written by Sunnie Lain, Director of Conferences and Community Outreach.
Life and Dignity of the Human Person
Our belief in the sanctity of human life and the inherent dignity of the human person is the foundation of all the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. Every person is created in the image of God. Every person is precious. All social laws, practices, and institutions must protect, not undermine, human life and human dignity – from conception though natural death.
–Taken with permission from the Leader’s Guide to Sharing Catholic Social Teaching
From its beginning, The Society of St. Vincent de Paul has been rooted in this belief. We believe that each and every person has innate dignity and worth, whatever circumstances life has brought them through. In serving those in need, we have a unique opportunity to see Christ in those we serve and to be the presence of Christ to them. When people are struggling with poverty or homelessness, it is easy for them to forget that they are loved—by God, or by others in their community. When we meet with those in need, we see their brokenness, but we also see their potential.
By helping those we serve to address the issues and challenges that have kept them in poverty and giving them tools to move beyond those challenges, St. Vincent de Paul volunteers and staff celebrate that innate worth.
From our Conferences, where we help those people in the community who are struggling to feed and house their families, to our shelters, food pantry, and housing programs, where we help those whose needs have reached a critical point, we see beyond our neighbors’ current circumstances to see them as individuals with a story and gifts all their own.
What you can do this week to help our brothers and sisters in poverty:
Practice seeing and respecting all people, the clerk at the store, the homeless man on the street corner, or anyone taken for granted or ignored. Recognize their inherent dignity, no matter their circumstances.