I was so impressed with my study of Joseph René Vilatte and the experience of being able to celebrate Mass in his two Churches especially on such a significant anniversary, that when I got back to St. Louis, I decided to develop a ministry in his honor.
During the next couple of months, I talked to friends about my plan and in July 1992, I enlisted three very close friends to serve as incorporators for the Vilatte Institute as a State of Missouri Not-for-Profit Corporation. After more than 23 years now (July, 2015), the Institute still remains true to its founding goals that were designed in imitation of Archbishop Vilatte:
1) To support the founding and growth of ministries that are designed to work with people who are alienated or otherwise disenfranchised from their birth or adopted church;
2) To help people in spiritual or physical need as much as possible within the financial capabilities of the Institute;
3) To invite people of all faiths to become associated in a loosely bound organization of spiritual enhancement that we call the "Vilatte Society."
4) To encourage, especially members of the Vilatte Society, to practice the Spiritual and Corporal works of Mercy both through the works of the Vilatte Institute and through opportunities that come their way in their daily lives.
5) To become a depository of information about Archbishop Vilatte.
During the past twenty-three years, the Institute has given grants totaling more than $25,000 to organizations with an emphasis on those who serve children in spiritual or physical need. Since many members of the Vilatte Society are teachers or former teachers, it seemed especially appropriate that the Institute should provide gifts of grants to groups which are concerned directly or indirectly with the education of children. A special emphasis of giving has been for children with their mothers in women's abuse centers.
The formation of communities which serve the spiritual needs of God's people has also been a consistent emphasis.
The following is a partial list of grantees receiving help from the Vilatte Institute. Note that grants have not been large, generally four to six hundred dollars or less; these gifts are called grants because being a not-for-profit organization, the Institute makes grants rather than donations. Some have been educational materials and supplies, most have been cash, and all have been given to purchase items used directly with children and not for support of the organization's operating budget. Limited financial help has been given to individuals, families, as well as a few Roman Catholic and Independent Catholic priests in need of assistance. The following have received one, two, or several grants:
The Bridgeway Center for abused women and their children.
American Red Cross
Hamilton Christian Church Christmas Collection for Homeless & Needy
Cardinal Glennon Hospital for Children (Reading Books for Children)
The Children Home Society of St. Louis (Backpacks, Books, Grants)
The Learning Club of the Family Center in East St. Louis, Illinois
The Pallotine Retreat Center
Sisters of the Most Precious Blood
St. Benedict Oratory
Ecumenical Catholic Church+USA
Order of Mary Theotokos
Sts. Peter and Paul ECC+USA
Good Tidings, Inc.
Sts. Simon and Jude Congregation
Edgewood Children's Center (Youth Bibles)
Kathy J. Wyman Center
Community Hope Center
Photovoice in Uganda (Camera equipment)
Katrina Relief Project
Youth in Need (School Supplies)
Vilatte Theological Seminary (Library books)
Covering House, St. Louis
Saint Charles Outreach Coalition Against Human Trafficking
Women's Prison Ministry Program
New Life Evangelistic Center
First Step Home
Financial Assistance to Individuals & Families (who shall remain nameless).
Founded in 2015,
The Workers of Mercy are a group of five
people who have agreed to use the $100 entrusted
to them to buy small items to help needy persons
they encounter who need small items to help them
get by (e.g., soap, bandages, diapers, gloves, socks).
"Whatever you do to one of these, the least of my brethren, you do unto me,"
says the Lord Jesus.
Rev. Carl T. Swaringim
Page updated: December, 2015