Saint Vincent de Paul


Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, priest
Lectionary: 452

Vincent de Paul’s life was quite varied. Born of modest means, he knew both the hardships of slavery (he briefly was a slave in Tunisia), and the luxuries of wealth; he was in service as priest to French royalty. His life as a priest had him work at both extremes of the social class. He worked with royalty, peasants, and convict-slaves. With these varied experiences, he could have easily put his hardships as a slave behind him when he began his work with royalty. His life could have taken a path avoiding that which was dis-pleasurable and succumbed to the vanities that so often plagues people of privilege. He didn’t though, he didn’t view his work with royalty as something he earned and something to advance his own comfort; instead he used his privileges to help others less fortunate. Rather than succumb to sins such as Vanity or Pride or Greed, Vincent aspired to the virtue of Charity, always thoughtful of those who suffered the misfortunes he came to know within his own life. Saint Vincent de Paul set up the Congregation of the Mission, also known as the Vincentians or Lazarists, and the Daughters of Charity with Louise de Marillac. He is known as the great Apostle of Charity.

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