Saint Vincent de Paul: The patron of Charitable Societies
Born: 1581 :: Died: 1660
When he grew up and became famous, he loved to tell people how he had taken care of his father's pigs. Because he was intelligent, his father sent him to school to study under the Franciscan friars at Acqs. And after finishing his studies from the University of Toulouse, Vincent became a priest at the age of 20.
At first, he was given an important position as the teacher of rich children, and he lived rather comfortably. But while he was traveling by sea from one city to another, he fell into the hands of Turkish pirates who sold him as a slave in Tunis.
Two years later after he was finally set free by one of his owners, who he converted to Christianity, he returned to France where he served as a parish priest.
Then one day, he was called to the side of a dying peasant. In front of many people, this man declared that all his past confessions had been bad ones.
Suddenly Father Vincent realized how badly the poor people of France needed spiritual help. When he began to preach to them, crowds went to confession. He finally decided to start a congregation of priests to work especially among the poor.
The charities of St. Vincent de Paul were so many that it seems impossible for one person to have begun so much.
- He took care of criminals who worked on the sailing ships
- He started the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity
- He opened hospitals and homes for orphans and old people
- He collected large sums of money for poor areas
- He sent missionaries to many countries
- and bought back prisoners from the Mohammedans
Even though he was such a charitable man, however, he humbly admitted that he was not so by nature. "I would have been hard, rough and ill-tempered," he said "were it not for God's grace."
"It is not sufficient for me to love God if I do not love my neighbor. I belong to God and to the poor." Vincent de Paul died in Paris on September 27, 1660.
Vincent de Paul (24 April 1581 – 27 September 1660) was a priest of the Catholic Church who dedicated himself to serving the poor. He is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church and theAnglican Communion. He was canonized in 1737. De Paul was renowned for his compassion, humility and generosity and is known as the "Great Apostle of Charity"