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Saint Vincent de Paul

Saint Vincent de Paul
  • Century: 16th & 17th Century
  • Patronage: Charities, Horses, Hospitals, Leprosy, Lost Articles, Prisoners, Spiritual Help, Volunteers
  • Feast Day: September 27th

St. Vincent was born in France to a family of peasant farmers.  He had four brothers and two sisters.  He studied in Dax, France, with the Cordeliers, and graduated in Theology in Toulouse.  He was Ordained in 1600.  He remained in Toulouse until he went to Marseille for an inheritance, and in 1605 on his way back from Marseille Turkish Pirates took him captive.  They brought him to Tunis and sold him into slavery.  St. Vincent converted his owner to Christianity and then escaped in 1607. 

After returning to France, St. Vincent went to Rome where he continued his studies until 1609.  He was sent back to France on a mission to Henry IV of France, and served as chaplain to Marguerite de Valois.  It was here that he began preaching missions to the peasants.  In 1622 St. Vincent was appointed chaplain to the galleys and started preaching missions to the galley slaves. 

In 1625, St. Vincent founded the Congregation of the Mission, a society of missionary priests commonly known as the Vincentians.  In 1633 with the help of Louise de Marillac, he founded the Daughters of Charity.  He was renowned for his compassion, humility, and generosity, and it was for this reason, that he was known s the “Great Apostle of Charity”.  He died on September 27th, 1660 and his body lay in a glass reliquary in the Chapel of the headquarters of the Vincentian Fathers in Paris.  His heart is still “Incorrupt”, and is on display in a reliquary in the Chapel of the motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity in Paris.  Pope Clement XII canonized him, in 1737. 

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is a charitable organization dedicated to the service of the poor.  French University students established it in 1833, led by the Blessed Frederic Ozanam, and the Society is present and active in 132 countries – present in nearly every parish in the United States. 

Practical Take Away

St. Vincent de Paul was born into a peasant farm family.  He studied and became a Priest, and was noted for missions and his preaching.  He had profound gifts of compassion, humility, generosity, and charity.  He was the founder the Congregation of the Mission, a Society better known as the Vincentians.  He also founded the Daughters of Charity.  University students in 1833 established the St. Vincent de Paul Society, a charitable society that is present in most parishes.  St. Vincent accomplished a lot in his lifetime and his heart was found to be incorrupt.  It is displayed in a reliquary in the Chapel of the motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity in Paris.