Thrift Store Saints

Meeting Jesus 25c at a Time

1  Review
ISBN: 978-0-8294-3301-2
Paperback | 160 pages

“Jane Knuth's stories of the people that visit the store are very inspiring, and she uses these stories to teach us the Vincentian principles of divine providence, spirituality and seeing the face of Christ in the poor.”
—Ozanam News

“The stories are fascinating, the reflections probing.”
- Review for Religious

Thrift Store Saints is a collection of true stories based on Jane Knuth's experiences serving the poor at a St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in the inner city of Kalamazoo, Michigan. At the outset of the book, Knuth is a reluctant new volunteer at the store, sharing that her middle-class, suburban, church-going background has not prepared her well for this kind of work. By the end of the book, Knuth has undergone a transformation of sorts, and neither she nor we can ever view the poor in the same way again.

Knuth's transformation is rooted in the prevailing message of Thrift Store Saints: When we serve the poor, they end up helping us as much as we help them. Throughout the book we are introduced to new "saints," as Knuth thoughtfully, at times humorously, describes how her encounters with the poorest people led her to the greatest riches of God's grace.

Thrift Store Saints makes clear that it doesn't require heroic Mother Teresa-types to make a difference with the poor, and it even more powerfully shows us that working with them is not gloomy, depressing work. Knuth's moving stories demonstrate the profound joy any of us can experience when we see serving the poor not as social work, but as a spiritual path that leads us to the heart of Jesus.

Author Bio

Jane Knuth

Jane Knuth is a longtime volunteer in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In 2011, Jane's first book, Thrift Store Saints, was awarded first place from the Catholic Press Association for Popular Presentation of the Catholic Faith. She also writes a monthly column for The Good News, the newspaper of the Diocese of Kalamazoo.

First place winner for "Popular Presentation of the Catholic Faith" from the Catholic Press Association

Tour the Store


Discussion Guide

School Discussion Guide

Get Involved

Learn more about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Find a St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in your area.

The Society’s namesake, St. Vincent de Paul, is known as “The Father of the Poor.” Learn more about this saint by reading his biography.

Read more stories:

Jane Knuth’s Reflections at dotMagis, the blog of

If you work with children, download this guide (excerpted from Saints and Feast Days) to help the story of St. Vincent de Paul come alive. Also includes suggested activities.

Ratings & Reviews

1 review

  • 4 stars
  • 0 reviews
  • 3 stars
  • 0 reviews
  • 2 stars
  • 0 reviews
  • 1 star
  • 0 reviews
03/20/2022 10:13 am

Heart-Breaking in the Best Way

by Falco

This beautiful book will break your heart in the way we all need our hearts broken. If you're an eager reader like me, you can gulp the whole book down in a few short hours (I just did exactly that), but it's divided into short chapters that can easily be read one by one whenever you can squeeze them into your life. It will inspire you to be more loving, more patient, and more understanding. I actually looked it up here on Loyola (rather than, say, Amazon) because I want to inquire about buying a case wholesale that I can give to anyone I think would appreciate or benefit by it. You won't regret reading this book, but you should definitely have a box of tissues on hand!