This is an excerpt from Thrift Store Saints: Meeting Jesus 25¢ at a Time by Jane Knuth.
September 27 is the feast day of St. Vincent de Paul and therefore, by association, it is also the feast day of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
There are still times when I get caught unprepared for a rush on a particular saint, but that’s not going to happen this September 27. I have ordered a box of fifty paper holy cards with St. Vincent’s picture on the front and a prayer on the back. We are planning to celebrate by giving them away to our customers.
As the morning goes on, we slip one into each shopping bag like a promotional flyer, adding a brief mention of our feast day. Most people are too polite to refuse even if they don’t have a clue what a patron saint is or what the purpose of a holy card could be. They smile and thank us and leave quickly. Catholics will never win prizes as evangelizers.
The phone rings. I answer it with our usual greeting; “St. Vincent de Paul, may I help you?”
“Um . . . yes. May I speak to Vincent, please?”
This is clearly a telemarketer with a limited knowledge of Catholicism, but we are too busy at the moment for me to explain two thousand years of dead holy people.
I answer truthfully, “I’m afraid that he is deceased.”
“Oh. Are you his wife?”
Now I’m working hard not to laugh. “No. No, I’m not. She’s not here either.”
“I’ll call back next week and try to speak to Mrs. De Paul then.”
“That will be fine,” I tell him and he hangs up.
Obviously, I need help with promoting this saint thing.