St Vincent de Paul, Priest – 27 Sep
Born to a peasant family. A highly intelligent youth, Vincent spent four years with the Franciscan friars at Acq, France getting an education. Tutor to children of a gentlemen in Acq. He began divinity studies in 1596 at the University of Toulouse. Ordained at age 20.
Taken captive by Turkish pirates to Tunis, and sold into slavery. Freed in 1607 when he converted one of his owners to Christianity.
Returning to France, he served as parish priest near Paris where he started organizations to help the poor, nursed the sick, found jobs for the unemployed, etc. Chaplain at the court of Henry IV of France. With Louise de Marillac, founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity. Instituted the Congregation of Priests of the Mission (Lazarists). Worked always for the poor, the enslaved, the abandoned, the ignored, the pariahs.
St Vincent was born on 24 April 1581 near Ranquine, Gascony near Dax, southwest France – the town is now known as Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, Landes, France.
He died on 27 September 1660 at Paris, France of natural causes. His body was found incorrupt when exhumed in 1712. His incorrupt heart is displayed in a reliquary in the chapel of the mother house of the Sisters of Charity in Paris.
“The first step to be taken by one who wishes to follow Christ is, according to Our Lord’s own words, that of renouncing himself – that is, his own senses, his own passions, his own will, his own judgement, and all the movements of nature, making to God a sacrifice of all these things, and of all their acts, which are surely sacrifices very acceptable to the Lord. And we must never grow weary of this; for if anyone having, so to speak, one foot already in Heaven, should abandon this exercise, when the time should come for him to put the other there, he would run much risk of being” – Saint Vincent de Paul