Saint Vincent de Paul
It is amazing to me how situations happen in our lives that change us forever. For Saint Vincent de Paul it was the confession of a dying man that opened his eyes to the crying spiritual needs of the peasantry of France. This was an occasion that totally change the focus of the rest of his life…
With the backing of the Countess de Gondi, whose servant he had helped, persuaded her husband to endow the group of zealous missionaries that worked with the poor tenant farmers and country in general.
While Vincent was too humble to accept the leadership role, but after working in Paris with imprisoned galley slaves, returned to accept the role. They became known as the Congregation of the Missions, or the Vincentians. With vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, and stability were totally devoted to the people of the smaller towns and villages.
Confraternities of charity for the poor and spiritual relief of the poor and sick in each of the parish. With the help of Saint Louis de Marillac, came the Daughters of Charity, whose convent was the sick room. Their chapel was the parish church and whose cloister was the city streets.
The rich women of Paris collected funds for missionary projects, hospitals, relief funds for war victims, and rescued over 1,200 galley slaves from North Africa. Many retreats were conducted for clergy, in a laxity time, abuse and ignorance. Many seminaries were established.
By the grace of God, as he admitted, Vincent became a very tender and affectionate man, sensitive to the needs of others…
Vincent was appointed patron of all charitable societies by Pope Leo Xlll. The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul was founded in 1833, by his admirer Blessed Frederic Ozanam.
Thinking About it
Rich, poor, peasants, sophisticated, and scholars are all God’s children who belong in the church. But those made helpless by poverty, sickness, bad health, ignorance, or cruelty must be the greatest concern of the church.
When hunger has become starvation and the high living of the rich stands in more and more glaring contrast to the physical and moral degradation in which many of God’s children are forced to live, Saint Vicent de Paul becomes the appropriate Saint for them.
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