Four Members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Recognized by Catholic Financial Life with “Servants of the Poor” Award
Oct. 12, 2012... Four members of the nonprofit Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) have been recognized by Catholic Financial Life (CFL) with the inaugural Archbishop Listecki “Servant of the Poor” Award for outstanding service to people in need.
Named for the Most Rev. Jerome E. Listecki, the archbishop of Milwaukee, Wis., the award was established to honor Catholic Financial Life members who exhibit an ongoing commitment to serving the needs of the poor, as well as the spirit of prayerful giving demonstrated by St. Vincent de Paul, known as “The Apostle of Charity.”
The four members of the Society who were honored are:
John Feldner of Oshkosh, Wis.
A member of the Society since 1969, Feldner and his fellow volunteers have hosted bingo parties at two local facilities that care for those with physical and mental challenges. In addition, Feldner makes home visits to families to identify and address their specific needs (a cornerstone of SVdP’s outreach), delivers Thanksgiving and Easter food baskets, sorts clothes and repairs items to be sold at an SVdP store, and has served as an officer for the organization at several levels. In 2010, the City of Oshkosh awarded Feldner its Community Service Award.
Leona Katorski of Milwaukee, Wis.
A devoted volunteer and officer for the Society on Milwaukee’s south side, Katorski is called “the Energizer Bunny” by her fellow Vincentians. She enjoys delivering food baskets during the holidays and is a tireless supporter of SVdP’s Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run. For the latter, she raised close to $4,000 this year by soliciting donations from local businesses, surpassing her personal fundraising record of $3,000 that she collected for the 2011 event.
Mark Morand of Bay City, Mich.
Never too busy to help a family in need, Morand has served the Society since 1968. He coordinates the annual “Postal Food Drive,” conducted with several area food pantries, and manages the Society’s pantry for his own SVdP conference (chapter). Morand often provides transportation to the grocery store for those in need.
Thomas Parslow of Madison, Wis.
Parslow recruits volunteers to tend a 1.25-acre plot that produces some 12 tons of healthy, fresh garden produce every year. The garden was initially created using matching funds from Catholic Financial Life. Parslow also helps administer the Madison Area Food Pantry Gardens, which includes the garden for which he recruits help. The six gardens in the group produced about 50 tons of food for families in need each year. Having served as an officer for the Society at several levels, he is counted on to provide support for other SVdP outreach programs such as “Recycle the Warmth Blanket Drive” and “The Little Drummer Christmas Giveaway” for children of families in need.
The award recipients were honored at Catholic Financial Life’s national convention. Catholic Financial Life President and CEO, Bill O’Toole and Archbishop Listecki presented each with a signed limited edition print depicting the life of St. Vincent de Paul, the patron of the Society. The artwork, by artist Rev. Anthony Brankin, pastor of St. Odilo Parish of Berwyn, Ill., was commissioned by Archbishop Listecki.
One of the largest charitable organizations in the world, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is an international, nonprofit, Catholic lay organization of more than 770,000 men and women who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to the needy and suffering in 149 countries on five continents. With the U.S. headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., membership in the United States totals more than 141,000 in 4,300 communities. Programs include home visits, housing assistance, disaster relief, job training and placement, food pantries, dining halls, clothing, transportation and utility costs, care for the sick, the incarcerated and the elderly, and prescription medicine. Last year, SVdP provided more than $660 million in tangible and in-kind services, made more than 1.5 million personal visits (homes, hospitals and prisons), and helped almost 10 million people regardless of race, religion or national origin.