|Samantha Vosters and Shannon Seegers (Photo Credit: Tom Klind)|
During Mass at St. Casimir Church, concelebrated by three priests with a standing room only crowd, Samantha vowed to remain poor and pure and to follow God's will in her life as she gives herself more completely to serving the poor. Those in attendance included not only Sam's family and close friends, but also all of those in the parish and community whom Sam serves in her work. The love that the congregation has for Sam, and the admiration that they feel for the good that she does, was palpable.
|photo credit: Tom Klind|
In his homily, the priest, a personal and long-time friend of Sam's, was visibly choked up as he shared the story of how, when he first came to know Sam, he felt that she was simply a happy and joyful person, full of laughter and smiles, and he didn't see much beyond her good-natured personality. But when he came to see her heart, he knew that she was someone truly special with a deep love for the Lord and a desire to give her all to Him. I was moved to tears by the priest's emotion.
But it was during the offertory that I really became emotional. It's the custom at our parish for members of the congregation to come forward bringing gifts, both food and financial donations, leaving them at the foot of the altar for the poor within our community. As people were moving forward, I noticed an elderly woman walking very slowly and deliberately, not to the altar with a gift, but to where Sam was sitting with her parents. Sam turned to the woman, grinned her huge smile, and stood up to embrace the woman. They held each other long before the woman finally released her hold and shuffled slowly to the back of the church and out the door. It was a deeply touching and beautiful scene, evidence of the kind of love that Sam so freely gives and receives day in and day out in her life devoted to giving to the poor. And I knew that it wasn't just any elderly woman embracing Sam, but it was Christ in the distressing disguise of the poor, giving love and gratitude for a saintly young woman who has already, and will continue, to give her life for her brothers and sisters in need.
"The poor are not only brothers and sisters to be loved in a brotherly way because they are our brothers and sisters, they are also "our lords the poor" because the poor man is Our Lord. He is the sacrament of our encounter with Christ, of our love given to Christ."
~Servant of God, Madeleine Delbrel