St. Vincent De Paul, the Apostle of Charity

Article excerpt

We remember today the life and works of St. Vincent de Paul, patron of Charitable Societies.

St. Vincent de Paul was born in 1581 in Pouy, Gascony, France. Belonging to a poor family, he grew up tending sheep. He was just an ordinary boy but there was nothing ordinary about his character and intelligence. For his education, he was placed under the care of the Franciscan friars at Dax.

In 1596, after finishing his divinity studies at the University of Toulouse, St. Vincent de Paul was ordained priest at the age of 20 and soon became a chaplain of an aristocratic family in Paris. In 1617, while hearing confession, he realized the devastating state of the peasants in France who were suffering from the effects of religious wars. Seeing the need to care for the poor, the sick, the enslaved, and the abandoned, St. Vincent de Paul founded the Congregation of the Mission in 1626. The Congregation was devoted to missions and to the direction of seminaries. To attend to the spiritual and material needs of the poor, he founded the Confraternities of Charity and the Visiting Nurses' Association to handle home visitations for the sick. His foundations were funded by the wealthy women in Paris whom he called "Ladies of Charity."

St. Vincent de Paul sent relief goods to areas devastated by famine. To make them self-supporting, St. …