BILLINGS — Feast Day is a day when St. Vincent Healthcare celebrates their employees who make their values a reality every day. Values that were passed on from their namesake centuries ago.
It’s a day of employee celebration for St. Vincent Healthcare and the St. Vincent de Paul society as their employees were treated to lunch from various local vendors at Grandview Park. It’s based upon the two organizations' commitment to the message that St. Vincent himself based his life around in the 1500s: giving back to those less fortunate than yourself.
"People's value is not based upon what they can do and what they can give to society. People aren’t human doings; people are human beings. And we treat our patients, and we treat our caregivers with that same human dignity," said Doug Shepherd, regional director for mission integration at St. Vincent Healthcare.
But who was St. Vincent de Paul?
"St. Vincent was a priest and he had great care for the poor. He spent a lot of his life trying to help the poor get better off in life and make sure that their needs were met. He loved them so much that he worked with Louise de Marillac to form the daughters of charity, which became the sisters of charity eventually," said Father Leo McDowell of St. Patrick Co Cathedral in Billings.
Those sisters of charity founded what is today St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings. The hospital opened its doors in 1899, and the vision of St. Vincent has been integral to the way the hospital is run.
"We provide physical nourishment, medicine, knowledge and all kinds of skills that come to the bedside, but really when it comes down to it, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. And so, St. Vincent de Paul Feast Day reminds us that it's our duty to care. It's placed upon us as caregivers to bring the charity that we've received to the poor and vulnerable," added Shepherd.
The St. Vincent de Paul society, which provides meals and other services for the homeless, shares the same message.
"It’s just an opportunity really to serve those that aren’t being served elsewhere and or serving those who are rejected in other places. Just being able to bring love and light into their lives as well is important," said Cameron Cook, development director for St. Vincent de Paul society.
It’s a message that got its start in the 1500s and one that continues in part because of these two organizations.
"He (St. Vincent de Paul) inspired that legacy that continues to live and give through the daughters or sisters of charity and also through the St. Vincent de Paul society’s that are still around," McDowell added.