Saint Vincent de Paul is the patron saint of charitable organizations, among other things, including lepers, prisoners, volunteer workers and (curiously) horses. I googled it. I don’t pull these things out of my hat, you know. He was a pretty wonderful guy, actually, and spent his life helping the sick and the less fortunate. Strangely enough, at one time in his life, he was captured by pirates and sold into slavery. He won his freedom by converting his owner. So, that’s pretty cool.
He is also the patron saint of frickin’ awesome shopping.
I am reedonkulously fond of our local Vinnie’s. We have several local thrift stores. Value Village I like for books, but I’m finding their clothing is pretty pedestrian (although it was always great for kids’ stuff), their jewellery is mostly tacky and their prices are becoming a little silly for used stuff.
But Vinnie’s – AHHH! It used to be down in the slightly shady part of town, which was honestly probably better for a lot of people who need clothing at affordable prices. But since they’ve moved, their space is big and bright, and it’s pretty well organized. I have fantastic luck there. I’ve been three times now, and never been disappointed with their beautiful, weird and wonderful stuff. I also like the eco-friendliness of recycled clothing, as well as the charitable aspect. Vintage shopping is all good, in my book. I make my own style.
Because I’m not finished with this weight-loss thing, I really don’t want to spend a whole pile of money on clothes right now. Well, honestly, I’ve never liked spending a whole pile of money on clothes. But I looooove clothes. I love putting slightly odd, quirky-but-beautiful outfits together. I like juxtaposing formal and casual, masculine and feminine aspects. Because of my height, and previously because of my weight, it’s tricky to find affordable stuff that really works, and isn’t cheaply-made Walmart sweatshop junk. That’s why I wear a lot of dresses and skirts, too, because finding pants that both fit and are long enough is nearly impossible, unless I want to spend an arm and a leg at a specialty store (which I don’t).
So, on nights like this, when the kid is working and I don’t have to rush home and slam food on the table, I like nothing better than to just poke around thrift stores for a while. You can’t go with any preconceived notion of what you’re looking for. Sometimes it’s not clear what sizes things might be. Sometimes you have to ask other people (who thought to actually WEAR their reading glasses) what the tags say. There’s a camaraderie in shopping at the vintage store. Vintage people are generally friendly, often a little odd, but pleasant and helpful.
Here’s a little prayer to Saint Vincent that I found:
Prayer to Saint Vincent de Paul
Dear Saint, the mere mention of your name suggests a litany of your virtues: humility, zeal, mercy, self-sacrifice. It also recalls your many foundations: Works of Mercy, Congregations, Societies. And the Church gratefully remembers your promotion of the priesthood. Inspire all Charitable Workers, especially those who minister to the poor – both the spiritually and the materially poor. Amen.
Amen indeed. I’m not Catholic, but honestly – that’s all good, right?