From the road, Saint Vincent looks enormous and remote. But once we set foot within its community, we quickly discover how close it really is, and the only thing that’s enormous about it is its heart.
Saint Vincent was part of my very first neighborhood. Growing up in Latrobe, I was always aware of its presence; nevertheless, the bonds of friendship are what made it real to me. Even though my family has always been Presbyterian, one of my grandfather’s good friends was Archabbot Alfred Koch. My mother and father were close to Archabbot Denis Strittmatter. And Douglas Nowicki and I were friends long before he became the present archabbot – so the tradition continues. I certainly hope that my sons and grandsons will be able to know the joy of friendships with the fathers and brothers of this extraordinary Benedictine community.
Whether we talk about it or not, we human beings long to know that we are lovable, that we have value, that what we most deeply hope for is real. We want to be sure that the madness of violence, greed, hatred, even death itself is not the final word of our existence.
We long to know that the final word is Love. God gives that Word for all of us who will receive it… through lasting friendships, through the trust of children, through the beauty and power of art and science, through forgiveness, through comfort in sorrow, through hospitality to a neighbor, and ultimately through Jesus the Christ our Lord.
For 150 years Saint Vincent has been helping its neighbors to understand and to experience God’s Word. May it continue to grow from strength to strength and to share its hope and heart with our world which needs more than ever what Saint Vincent has to give.
Fred M. Rogers