Founder of the Congregation of the Missions and the Daughters of Charity – (1580-1660)
+ Born in 1580, Vincent was ordained when he was only twenty-years old and appointed to serve as chaplain of Queen Margaret of Valois. He later became the private chaplain to the powerful Gondi Family.
+ While ministering to peasants on the Gondi estate, Vincent came to understand that God was calling him to serve the poor and most marginalized.
+ Returning to Paris, Monsieur Vincent helped galley slaves, organized charitable confraternities to provide food and clothing for the poor, and founded a new community of priests and brothers dedicated to the missions and formation of the seminarians: the Congregation of the Missions (now more commonly known as the Vincentians). A short time later, aided by Saint Louise de Marillac, he founded the Daughters of Charity.
+ Always gentle, understanding, and aware of the needs of the poor, Vincent de Paul died in 1660. Canonized in 1737, he is honored as the patron saint of social workers.
There is some conjecture among historians who propose that Saint Vincent was kidnapped by pirates from the Barbary Coast as he was sailing from Marseilles, after selling property that he had inherited in Toulouse. Taken to Tunis, he was auctioned off, and spent two years as a slave before gaining his freedom and making his way back to Europe.
“We must love our neighbor as being made in the image of God and as an object of his love.”—Saint Vincent de Paul
To learn about the Congregation of the Missions (the Vincentians), visit:
Western Province: www.vincentian.org
New England Province: www.cmnewengland.org
Eastern Province: www.cmeast.org
O God, who for the relief of the poor
and the formation of the clergy
endowed the Priest Saint Vincent de Paul
with apostolic virtues,
grant, we pray, that, afire with that same spirit,
we may love what he loved
and put into practice what he taught.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Profiles prepared by Br. Silas Henderson, S.D.S.Access our archives of daily saint biographies here