ST. VINCENT DE PAUL
Universal Patron of Charitable Works
St. Vincent de Paul was born in Pouy, Landes, France on April 24, 1581. His family was a French peasant and lived on a farm in Pouy. His father, Jean de Paul; reconizing his son's talents resolved to give him a good education. His mother Bertrand de Moras, guided him so well, too.
He was ordained a priest at Chateau-L'eveque on September 23, 1600. At first he worked in Paris in the parish ministry, and later he accepted the position of chaplain in the household of the De Gondi family. Vincent came under the influence of Bishop Peter De Berulle and his life changed. In 1617, while in the country, he heard the confession of a poor peasant and suddenly realized how badly the poor of France were being cared for. He devoted himself entirely to the alleviation of the poor and to that purpose he established the Congregation of the Mission, which he also entrusted with the formation of a saintly clergy. Resolving to give his life to serving the poor, he left the home of the count and countess De Gondi and began to work among the prisoners and galley slaves, who suffered from deplorable conditions, He was officially appointed chaplain of the galley slaves in 1619.
Soon after, he was captured by sea pirates and enslaved in Turkey. His master was converted and both escaped to France. He catechized and converted Protestants, galley slaves and prisoners.
Realizing that the great needs of men has always been charity and social justice, he enlisted village people and the assistance of Queens, Duchesses and Countesses to tend to the sick and the poor as Ladies of Charity. He worked for change sin society by having the rich and the state provide hospitals like the St. Salpetriere Hospital, homes for the aged and orphans like the Queen Bicetre Castle.
He organized the Confraternity of Charity on August 23, 1617, and the Congregation of the Mission on January 25, 1625 and the Daughters of Charity on November 29, 1633 with the assistance of St. Louise de Marillac.
On September 27, 1660 Fr. Vincent at the age of 79 received his just reward in the kingdom of God. The church honors St. Vincent on this day.
On August 13, 1729, Pope Benedict XIII declared Vincent "blessed", and was canonized on June 16, 1737 by Pope Clement XII. Pope Leo XIII constituted him as the "Universal Patron of Charitable Works" on April 16, 1885