Saint Vincent De Paul was the Patron Saint of charities. He served in France and Rome and helped people who were poor, suffering, in need of support, and sick. We celebrate St. Vincent De Paul on September 27th and honor all his contributions to France in the early 1600s.
Saint Vincent De Paul was born on April 24, 1581, in the French village of Pouy. His family was very poor, and his mother was a peasant. He was given an education by the Franciscans and he was so bright, he tutored the children of the nearby wealthy family. St. Vincent saved up enough money to attend the University of Toulouse, where he studied theology. While in Toulouse, he was ordained (made a priest) and stayed there. He was on a ship that was traveling from Marseilles to Narbonne, but was captured and taken to Tunic, where he was sold as a slave. Around two years later, he was released with his master/teacher and they went back to France.
St. Vincent De Paul decided to finish his education after being released. As the chaplain, he oversaw distributing money to the poor and then became the pastor of the small church in Clichy, as well as serving as a tutor and spiritual director. After his early encounters with helping others, St. Vincent De Paul wanted to do more. He began preaching and helping more people in need.
St. Vincent De Paul spent the rest of his life preaching at missions and helping the poor find relief and spiritual help and guidance. He even established hospitals for them! Soon, St. Vincent’s work became his passion. He loved helping others and preaching the Word of God as he did so. He then decided to help convicts (people in prison for committing a crime or unlawful act). He felt a need to help these people, so he evangelized the Word to them. He found the need to assist them quite hard, for there were so many people who needed help, so he founded the Ladies of Charity, a place for women to go for spiritual help and guidance, and The Congregation of Priests of the Mission, a religious institute for priests, but is commonly known as a Vincentian today. He also helped reform the clergy of France so that more priests could retreat and have a place to be with other priests. With that clergy, he infused the Christian spirit to 20,000 people in just 23 years! Lastly, he co-founded the Daughters of Charity, a charity where more than 18,000 daughters serve in more than 94 poor countries!
There have been two miracles that are associated with St. Vincent; the curing of a woman with ulcers and a laywoman cured of paralysis. He was later beatified by Pope Benedict XIII and then Canonized by Pope Clement XIII eight years later. Today, you can find St. Vincent’s incorrupt heart and his bones (which have been made of wax) at the Sisters of Charity and the Church of Lazarist mission in Paris, France.
We honor Saint Vincent de Paul for all his contribution to charity and to the sick, poor, suffering, helpless, and needy. His missions have evangelized the Word that we still believe today. He has helped countless people, and for that, we honor him as the “Father of the Poor” and his reformation of the clergy.