The hallmark of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s work is the Home Visit. Vincentians go and meet their neighbors in need in their homes, where they are at ease, and feel comfortable sharing their story. There, we can determine the best way to help. Be it financial assistance to keep utilities running, putting food on the table, or help making rent. Other times, the help they offer, can mean so much more.
Vincentians Fred and Susan from the St. William Conference in Round Rock, Texas went on what they believed would be a run-of-the-mill Home Visit, but it turned out to be anything but normal.
When they arrived at Rocio’s home, they immediately noticed that something wasn’t right. They were met by broken dishes all over the house and holes in the walls. They had stopped by to offer help with utilities, but as soon as they walked through the door, they knew there was so much more they could do.
Fred and Susan helped Rocio with her utility bill and left. But they knew Rocio needed more help. “God was talking to us, telling us we needed to go back,” said Susan.
Over their next few visits with Rocio and her family, they learned that she was the victim of domestic violence. Her husband was a U.S. citizen, but Rocio was undocumented, and therefore, stuck in a bad situation.
From that moment Fred and Susan dedicated themselves to walking Rocio’s journey with her. They helped her secure her Green Card, assisted her with her finances, and even helped her rekindle her faith.
“They have taught me everything I know,” said Rocio. “From how to be a mother and raise them and teach them and bring them up in a Catholic home. How to stay stable and how to learn how to manage your money.”
Fred helped to repair the damage that Rocio’s now ex-husband did to their home.
Rocio is now living a happy life with her new husband and her five children, and they have come to consider Fred and Susan family as they have walked with them every step of the way.
“They’re like the parents that are teaching me the proper ways of life,” said Rocio. “But they’re also like mentors to my children and myself.”
“Rocio’s like a daughter to me and her husband is like a son,” said Susan. “Over the years she has come a long way.”
While she had accomplished so much thanks to the support she’d received from SVdP, there was still something that Rocio hoped for. She yearned to become a U.S. Citizen. The SVdP Council in Austin stepped in to help.
The Council offered Rocio a Systemic Change grant to help offset the cost of the citizenship process. And Rocio went on to pass her Citizenship test on the first try!
“Transformation is possible. It’s not easy. It’s a challenge, and it takes a lot of commitment, but it is absolutely possible,” said Joleen Boyer, a Vincentian with the SVdP Council in Austin.
Rocio’s life was changed when Fred and Susan arrived on her doorstep. But Fred and Susan were forever changed as well.
“They have become my family,” said Susan. “Even if I never did anything else I my life, I’ve saved seven souls. That’s pretty good.”