We Are Still Trying to Catch Up to St. Vincent!

We are still trying to catch up to St.  Vincent! A heart on fire changed the church 400 years ago and set the stage for the best of the church we live in today.

Vincent’s influence today

On January 25, the Vincentians celebrated the founding of the Congregation of the Mission by St. Vincent de Paul. His glowing sparks of practical love ignite the hearts of countless women and men today as much as they did 400 years ago.

St. Vincent’s legacy has stood the test of time because he not only changed his world but anticipated many of the most exciting currents in today’s Church …

  • A lay-centered Church focused more on the People of God and the poor than the hierarchy
  • A concept of holiness that is more mission-oriented than a monastic ideal of personal sanctification
  • A vision of the role of women in ministry
  • A commitment to the formation of priests

In retrospect, we are still trying to catch up to him. Most people, even those who think they know St. Vincent, are unaware of how much he has shaped the Church of today.

So begins an article that appeared in the monthly Newsletter of the Miraculous Medal Association. Click here to read the full article.

The article also asks…

What was his genius?

  • St. Vincent was a genius at networking. He convinced others, who shared his vision, to be generous in meeting the needs of the poor and marginalized: “The poor suffer less from a lack of generosity than from a lack of organization.”
  • He was humble and not afraid to ask others to help. He was not wedded to any messianic delusions, “Lone Ranger” tendencies of thinking that he had to do it on his own.
  • He was adept at involving others in what he saw needed to be done. He found his strength in accepting his limitations.
  • He had the courage and the skill to walk where few had walked before.
  • He spoke the truth to power.

Stay tuned for the beginning of a series of video presentations illustrating the impact of sparks from the fire in Vincent’s heart.

The Vincentian Thing is Caught Not Taught

The Vincentian thing is caught not taught. Who is this Mr. Vincent who founded the Ladies of Charity, the Congregation of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity?

The Vincentian Family gathered January 25th at the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal in Philadelphia to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the Congregation of the Mission

I first heard the story of a man called Vincent 63 years ago. Let me correct that! I first experienced the spirit of a man named Vincent 63 years ago. I was a quiet Freshman from a working-class immigrant family in his first semester at St. John’s Prep. There I met Vincentians for the first time.

It was only later that I could name the fact that in these Vincentians I was meeting were, each of them, unique embodiments of a man named Vincent – a man who changed their world.  … And because he changed their world, they would, over the next few years, change my world.

In these Vincentians, I experienced the glowing embers of the ideals of Vincent – following Christ the Evangelizer of the Poor with Vincent’s characteristic virtues

  • Honesty (Simplicity)
  • Approachability (Meekness)
  • Self-disciplined (Mortification)
  • Realistic (Humility)
  • Hard working (Zeal for souls)

(Fr. Ed Udovic’s translations of the traditional words in parentheses here.)

I am privileged to see one of these men every day. Fr. Lou Trotta, at 94, is alive and well in St. Catherine’s Infirmary.

In the six decades since then, I have learned many things about this man people called Mr. Vincent. In hindsight, some things have become clearer to me. One is that the impact these role models had on me was probably the kind of impact Vincent had on idealistic young men of his day. Another is that I am still learning about this man called Vincent.

Let me unpack these two insights.

1. I am still learning about the impact of this man called Vincent. Of course, over the years I learned much about what he did and how he changed the face of France and the Church 400 years ago. But it is only in my later years that I have realized how he has impacted the Church in which I have lived for 80 years. And you in your lifetime!

Just look around at the most vital movements in the Church today. You will see the still glowing sparks of the practical love of Vincent de Paul that ignited the hearts of so many women and men of his day. With their help, Vincent changed his world. In doing so he also anticipated many of the most exciting currents in our Church today…

  • A lay centered church focused more on the People of God and the poor than the hierarchy
  • A recovery of the ideal of a church of the poor
  • A concept of holiness that is more mission-oriented than a monastic emphasis on personal sanctification
  • A practical vision of the role of women in ministry
  • A commitment to forming priests who have “the smell of the sheep”

When you think of it, in some senses, we are still trying to catch up to him!

Surprised at his influence on things we take for granted? Most people, even many who think they know Vincent, are unaware of how much Vincent de Paul has shaped the Church of today.

2. The other insight is particularly relevant on this day when we celebrate the impetus for his founding a group of men known as the Congregation of the Mission… his genius for networking and working smarter.

When I was ordained 53 years ago, I handed out a little memento with the words attributed to Vincent: “Let love light my mortal flame until others catch the living flame.” I now think I have an understanding that that was precisely how the Congregation of the Mission… and the Ladies of Charity, the Daughters of Charity, etc. … came into being.

Vincent did not have access to the media we have today. But long before the term was invented, he demonstrated the impact of word of mouth or viral media. His life was contagious and lit that flame in the hearts of those who resonated with the mission of Jesus to bring good news to the poor.

But there is more. Vincent was a genius, a genius at networking and bring people together.

It was just some 20 years ago when I had begun collaborating with the wider Vincentian family that I began to understand some forgotten or poorly understood truths about Vincent’s approach to ministry. I have come to call them “forgotten truths.”

    • The truth is that … he was convinced that others shared his vision and would be generous in their response to needs. “The poor suffer less from a lack of generosity than from a lack of organization.”
    • The truth is that … he was humble enough to ask others to help. He was not wedded to any messianic delusions or “Lone Ranger” tendencies of thinking that he had to do it on his own.
    • The truth is that … he was adept at involving others in what he saw needed to be done. He found his strength in accepting his limitations.
    • The truth is that … so often he had the courage and the skill to walk where few had walked before.
    • The truth is that… he courageously spoke the truth to power.

Thank you, Vincent de Paul.

Thank you for illuminating our lives with the flame of love manifested in your virtues of honesty, approachability, self-discipline, realism, and hardworking zeal.

The Vincentian thing is caught, not taught!

Thank you for teaching us by example the power of networking with others, working smarter and bringing about real systemic change in society.

Thank you, Vincent!

 

 

Why Bother About a Man Who Lived 400 Years Ago?

Why bother about a man who lived 400 years ago? Why are so many people all over the world on fire with a passion to serve following in his footsteps?

As we approach another celebration of the feast of St. Vincent it seems fitting to look at these two questions raised in J. Patrick Murphy’s booklet Mr. Vincent.

Vincent was a man of action who changed his world

Fr. Murphy first suggests we look at the works he started. He was a man of action. Look at what he and the people he invited to minister with him did

– 1634: the sick poor in public hospitals (Ladies of Charity, Daughters of Charity).
– 1638: abandoned children (Ladies of Charity, Daughters of Charity).
– 1639: war refugees (Daughters of Charity, Congregation of the Mission).
– 1645: Christians held captive in North Africa (Congregation of the Mission).
– 1648: the people of Madagascar (Congregation of the Mission).
– 1649: victims of the wars in Paris and the surrounding areas (Congregation of the Mission, Daughters of Charity, Ladies of Charity).
– 1650: assistance to people living in devastated areas (Congregation of the Mission, Daughters of Charity, Ladies of Charity).
– 1654: homes for the elderly (Congregation of the Mission, Daughters of Charity); wounded soldiers (Daughters of Charity).

And that is not to mention perhaps his greatest contribution.

His organization of the service of the poor was the first in the history of the world. At Chatillon he observed,  “the people of their town who have sometimes suffered a great deal, more through a lack of organized assistance than from lack of charitable persons.”[xvii]

With that insight, he gave birth not only to a branch of the Vincentian Family but to an approach that we are newly rediscovering.

What he taught by his example

He taught us the importance of consistent strategies, starting on a small scale, delegating tasks and responsibilities and providing quality services, which respect people’s dignity.

Vincent thought about a plan, he called a meeting, formed an association and delegated tasks and responsibilities to parish people, whom he included in the process. It is from this small beginning that the whole movement started. Laity, then and in later centuries, through the Society of St. Vincent dePaul and the Ladies of Charity (today the AIC) responded to his example of service.

Vincent was an ordinary person who discovered himself in midlife

And yet, Fr. Murphy points out that he was in so many ways an ordinary human guy – not always the saint we have come to revere.

  • He was depressed for three and a half years
  • He spent 25 years searching for himself before he found God and the poor.
  • He gave everything to the poor and became the richest man he knew

What’s in a name? He always remained Mister Vincent.

He always signed his name Vincent Depaul. He wanted to be sure no one mistook him for nobility—which one might if he had capitalized it—De Paul. He was called many things by those who revered him— saint, scholar, holy man, apostle of charity, and—at his death— “pere de la patrie”, father of the country. But he preferred to be called simply Monsieur Vincent—Mister Vincent—to reduce the barriers between him and others, especially the poor.

Hopefully, these hints help us answer the question posed… and think about what we, as ordinary people can do with the help of prayer and simplicity.

A thank you and an Invitation

We of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission thank all of you who have chosen to share your time, talent or treasure in walking in his footsteps. We invite any of you who might be interested to join us in the journey in any way you can.

Vincent Was a Life-Long Learner

Vincent was a life-long learner

Vincent didn’t just happen. Vincent spent his lifetime waking up to the demands of the Gospel and the needs of those who were poor.

I am reminded of the monk Bede Griffiths, a life-long learner, who said in the 81st year of his life that he learned more in the previous year than in the prior 80 years.

J. Patrick Murphy writes:

Vincent used mentors and he chose world-class advisors, Fr. Pierre de Berulle, St. Francis De Sales. Vincent became a mentor of others and brought out the best in them: Jean Jacques Olier, St. Jane De Chantal, and St. Louise de Marillac.

Lesson: Mentors make a difference. Get a good one. Be a good one.

J. Patrick Murphy is on to something. I have rarely thought of Vincent in terms of his mentors. Not only did Vincent have mentors, but he was blessed with some of the best. Here is not the place to dwell on the specifics of what Vincent learned from these world-class mentors.

Instead, I wonder how they happened to become his mentors. There is a saying, “When the student is ready the mentor will appear.” (This saying is apparently falsely attributed to Buddha.) Regardless of who said it, it speaks of life-long learning.

Recognizing my mentors

This raised the question for me, “Am I ready to be mentored?” Or am I too comfortable in my present stage of growth?

Apparently, Vincent was ready. So how did the mentors appear? My hunch is they appeared because Vincent was a seeker, restlessly looking for something more. Initially, he thought that “something more” was a secure position whereby he could take care of himself and his parents. But apparently, something more gnawed at him.

I suspect they appeared because he responded to people he sensed were on the “right track.” He sought them out, engaged them in dialog.

Who are the people I know who are on the right track spiritually? Do I seek them out in conversation? What can I learn from them? Do I reflect on why and how they are on the right track?

It might be very worthwhile spending a few moments thinking about the people you admire and what you can learn from them.

Being a mentor

This also raises questions for me about being a mentor.

A mentor is someone who walks with others and listens to the longings of their hearts. How often do I take the time to listen to the longing of others and walk with them on their personal journey?

Some lessons worth repeating: Mentors make a difference. Get a good one. Be a good one.

Questions

  • Who are the people I know who are on the right track spiritually?
  • Do I seek them out in conversation?
  • What can I learn from them? Do I reflect on why and how they are on the right track?

This post first appeared on FamVin

 

Millennials, Vincent and His 5 Virtues

A church characterized by the five virtues of Vincent de Paul might appeal to millennials and “nones”. “Millennials, Vincent and his 5 virtues” is a cross post of a reflection I originally wrote for FamVin.

One need only look around in churches on any given Sunday to see the millennials are missing.  A millennial recently wrote that he would very much like to feel positive about the church but can not.

“I desperately want to feel (head-over-heels) about church, but I don’t. Not even a little bit. In fact, like much of my generation, I feel the complete opposite.

According to a Pew Foundation study (and many others like it) church attendance and impressions of the church are the lowest in recent history, and most drastic among millennials described as 22- to 35-year-olds.

  • Only 2 in 10 Americans under 30 believe attending a church is important or worthwhile (an all-time low).
  • 59 percent of millennials raised in a church have dropped out.
  • 5 percent of millennials have an anti-church stance, believing the church does more harm than good.
  • Millennials are the least likely age group of anyone to attend church (by far).

Sadly, the phenomenon is reflected in wider studies which report that “nones” constitute the second largest religious category in the United States.

The same study linked above reveals five research-backed reasons why millennials have stopped attending church. They feel that

  1. the church is fake;
  2. the church is exclusive;
  3. ‘the church doesn’t care about their community;
  4. the church is aggressive and hyper-critical;
  5. the church ignores the big issues.

Strong reactions!

A way forward

I recently revisited Vincentian Fr. Ed Udovic’s video podcast about a contemporary approach to understanding the 5 virtues(values) of St. Vincent de Paul.

In his view, Vincent’s five virtues might be translated for today as being

  • Honest (Simplicity)
  • Approachable (Meekness)
  • Self-disciplined (Mortification)
  • Realistic (Humility)
  • Hard working (Zeal for souls)

He sees these virtues as expressions of the profoundly Christo-centric values of VIncent.

More specifically, he says that In order to serve as Christ the Evangelizer of the poor requires

  • simplicity that seeks the truth wherever it is to be found, recognizes the truth when found, witnesses to the truth in word, and lives the truth by actions as they relate to oneself, one’s neighbor, one’s my world and one’s God.
  • meekness which is a personal availability in relationships that are authentic, and thus inviting, inclusive, accepting, understanding. equal and loving
  • mortification which is self- disciplined and absolutely clear about what one believes, what one value and what are the priorities in one’s life. It must then imposed upon one’s self a self-discipline that will enable one to live these values in a consistent, integrated and effective manner.
  • humility that is realistic which means I must always creatively balance the inherent tensions between pessimism and optimism knowing full well what I and other human beings are capable of  and not capable of and gratefully relying on God’s grace and providence as the sustaining force of our lives and indeed all salvation history.
  • zeal for souls that is hard working. There always. much to be done in the kingdom of God and what remains to be done both personally and corporately is not easily accomplished without laboring with the “strength of our arms and sweat of our brows (St. VIncent).”

I do not think it requires much of a stretch of the imagination to see how a church characterized by the above might appeal to millennials and “nones”. The more I think of it, Vincent was on to something that explains what so many people have come to follow his way of life over the past 400 years.

Interestingly,  Fr. Udovic offers an insight into the meaning of the name Congregation of the Mission as  “people gathered together for the sake of the mission.”

What do you think of these insights?
How well we we live these values?

 

John the Baptist, Vincent and Consecration

Considering Consecrated Life: Patrick Griffin, CM reflects on St. John the Baptist, Vincent and Consecration

The Advent/Christmas Season holds up numerous individuals who can be placed in the category of “consecrated persons.” Some of them are easy to identify; others require a little more thought. For example, have you considered Simeon and Anna as “consecrated persons?”

Take Simeon:

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. (Lk 2:25-26)

And so, Simeon, devoted himself to awaiting the coming of the Lord. His life was dedicated to this purpose as a righteous, devout and spirit-filled individual. When he finally holds Jesus in his arms, he can pray the Nunc dimittis. He has been faithful to his calling to the end.

Anna soon follows Simeon on stage:

There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. (Lk 2:36-37)

Like Simeon, she has consecrated her entire life to the Lord and her calling. She offers a model of perseverance expressed through fidelity, discipline, and prayer from comparative youth to a great age. We can learn from her as from so many of our senior sisters and brothers.

These holy people prepare us for the emergence of the one who has consecrated himself to the Lord and awaits his coming in a particular way: John the Baptist.

John, from his first “appearance” in the womb of his mother until his beheading at the hands of Herod, consistently focuses our attention on the one greater than he and on the message which he brings. Nothing about John is speculative. He is grounded, in the literal sense of the word, as he dwells in the wilderness, dresses in clothes of camel’s hair, and dines on locusts and wild honey. He lives “off the land” with unmistakable simplicity. His message is one of repentance and preparedness for the coming of the Lord. When people ask him how they should change their lives, his response is firmly focused on the doable: persons who have an abundance should share with those who are needy, tax-collectors should be honest in their dealings, soldiers should treat people justly. Theory was not John’s message; he embraced the practical. When he becomes aware of the political realities of his time, he does not look the other way, but speaks boldly and fearlessly. He does not seek the agreeable or acceptable. This resolve costs him his life. It is the description of a prophet.

Many of us have read Pope Francis’ Letter on the opening of the Year for Consecrated Life (21Nov14). Among the many important instructions which he offers is the need to take up (again) the role of prophet. He reminds us that a religious must never abandon prophecy.” He speaks about the character of the prophetic ministry:

Prophets receive from God the ability to scrutinize the times in which they live and to interpret events: they are like sentinels who keep watch in the night and sense the coming of the dawn (cf. Is 21:11-12). Prophets know God and they know the men and women who are their brothers and sisters. They are able to discern and denounce the evil of sin and injustice. Because they are free, they are beholden to no one but God, and they have no interest other than God. Prophets tend to be on the side of the poor and the powerless, for they know that God himself is on their side.

Wow. This really sounds like John and, with God’s grace, should sound like us.

John is sometimes described as the last of the Old Testament prophets and the first of the New. In all his words and actions, he keeps his eyes firmly focused on that which is most important. He recognizes Christ at his coming and his unworthiness to baptize him, yet he obeys when called to do so. He points out Jesus to some of his disciples who then leave the prophet and follow after the Lord. John knows that to which his life has been consecrated and never compromises that resolution.

The University at which I work in NY with confreres and Daughters of Charity (as well as members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the Ladies of Charity, and other groups) was named after John the Baptist. That dedication makes sense to me. After all, the role of a Catholic University is to point to Christ in various ways. Interestingly, the statue of St. John the Baptist which is on the campus of St. John’s reminds me of the statue of St. Vincent in St. Peter’s (Rome)—the dramatic hand gesture, the movement forward, the readiness to speak, even the sash. There are more similarities in the hearts of John and Vincent than there are differences. Both seek to bring others closer to the Lord and to proclaim the message of the Messiah without compromise. Both are consecrated to God for this purpose.

How St. Vincent de Paul’s Spiritual Vision Evolved

Sometimes we think that saints emerge fully formed… but that is not the case. This video shows the growth of Vincent’s Vision

Our new video describes how St. Vincent’s spiritual vision evolved over the years, as he was influenced by his collaborators and by persons he encountered who were living in different forms of poverty. The video is based on the essay “Vincent de Paul in Châtillon: The birth of a new spiritual vision” by Jaime Corera, C.M.

 

Novena in honor of St. Vincent

Vincent cm sealThe Society of St. Vincent dePaul encourages parishioners to pray this novena in preparation for the feast day of St. Vincent de Paul by beginning on September 18 and ending September 26. The feast day follows on September 27.

The novena can be started anytime that one wishes to reflect on the teachings of the Saint. (Source: Frédéric’s E-Gazette An e-newsletter from the National Council of the U.S. Society of St. Vincent de Paul™) Printable PDF – St._Vincent_de_Paul_Novena

September 18, 2014

NOVENA TO ST. VINCENT DE PAUL

A novena is made up of nine days of prayers for a special cause. The novena in honor of St. Vincent de Paul is prayed in a reflective manner to help us gain a deeper understanding of the life of this saint and to ensure personal conversion and sanctifi- cation

NOVENA PRAYER

God you were patient with St. Vincent de Paul as you moved him from self-centeredness to be centered on you. Help me through his intercession to grant me this petition and to know that you will grant what I desire in your own time (your intention here) . I thank you God for everything and I will imitate St. Vincent de Paul in growing in holiness through prayer, participation in the sacraments and service to my neighbor especially the poor.

Amen.

FIRST DAY (Conversion)

Reflection on the life of St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent de Paul became a priest to better his social position and even tricked a bishop to ordain him at the age of 19. He showed us that no one is born a saint. We are all sinners on a journey to sainthood.

Reflection questions for your own life

What are the areas in my life that need to be purified and allow the light of God to touch it? This can happen only with God’s graces. In what ways do I call on God in my daily life for conversion? Do I see myself on a path to conversion as a convert?

Pray the Novena prayer, an Our Father followed by one Hail Mary to honor the Incarnation and one Glory Be to honor the Blessed Trinity.

SECOND DAY (Virtues)

Reflection on the life of St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent encouraged people to grow in all the virtues but especially that of simplicity, humility, gentleness, mortification (self- denial), and zeal for souls (love for others).

Reflection questions for your own life

Have I taken time to know what virtues are and to grow in them? Can I take time to learn about the five virtues that were so impor- tant to this great saint?

Pray the Novena prayer, an Our Father followed by one Hail Mary to honor the Incarnation and one Glory Be to honor the Blessed Trinity.

THIRD DAY (Defending the Faith)

Reflection on the life of St. Vincent de Paul

During his lifetime, there was a heresy called Jansenism?) St. Vincent fought to defend the true faith even at the cost of losing friends and reputation.

Reflection questions for your own life

Our faith is challenged every day. Like St. Vincent de Paul, how do I live and stand for the truth? Am I afraid to create ripples, to lose friends or to experience financial loss?

Pray the Novena prayer, an Our Father followed by one Hail Mary to honor the Incarnation and one Glory Be to honor the Blessed Trinity.

FOURTH DAY (Founder)

Reflection on the life of St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent cared for and worked with many groups. He lived his call to leadership by founding communities for religious and the laity.

Reflection questions for your own life

Each one of us is called to be a leader in our family, at work, in the neighborhood, wherever we find ourselves. How do I use my God given gifts to lead others to God?

Pray the Novena prayer, an Our Father followed by one Hail Mary to honor the Incarnation and one Glory Be to honor the Blessed Trinity.

FIFTH DAY (Eucharist & Confession)

Reflection on the life of St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent felt that one of the most important ministries he had to do was to encourage people to receive the sacraments especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation on a regular basis. In the rule of life for the members of his congregation they were to receive reconciliation at least once a week.

Reflection questions for your own life

When was the last time I went to confession to receive forgiveness for my sins by Christ the healer of souls? Do I worthily receive and know that it is truly Jesus when I consume His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity at the Eucharist? How is my faith change by these sacraments?

Pray the Novena prayer, an Our Father followed by One Hail Mary to honor the Incarnation and One Glory Be to honor the Blessed Trinity.

SIXTH DAY (Poor)

Reflection on the life of St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent is well known for his care for the poor. He grew up in humble surroundings.

Reflection questions for your own life

We are all poor in some way; perhaps not materially but spiritually. We all need God. How am I helping the poor when I see them in my neighborhood, my workplace, on the streets and when they come to my door? How am I living a life of simplicity?

Pray the Novena prayer, an Our Father followed by One Hail Mary to honor the Incarnation and One Glory Be to honor the Blessed Trinity.

SEVENTH DAY (Priests)

Reflection on the life of St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent felt working with the poor was as important as helping semi- narians and priests grow in holiness in order to be good shepherds of God’s people.

Reflection questions for your own life

Do I help in the formation of seminarians and priests through my prayers and financial support? What can I do to support the priest/s of my par- ish?

Pray the Novena prayer, an Our Father followed by One Hail Mary to honor the Incarnation and One Glory Be to honor the Blessed Trinity.

EIGHTH DAY (Evangelization)

Reflection on the life of St. Vincent de Paul

The congregation founded by St. Vincent was not named after a saint but was called the Congregation of the Missions. His experience showed him the need to preach the Good News of salvation to everyone, especially the poor.

Reflection questions for your own life

By virtue of Baptism we are evangelizers. How do I share the gospel in word and action daily? Are there more ways that I can evangelize? Do I take time to know my faith through faith formation?

Pray the Novena prayer, an Our Father followed by One Hail Mary to honor the Incarnation and One Glory Be to honor the Blessed Trinity.

NINTH DAY (Blessed Trinity)

Reflection on the life of St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent encouraged everyone to honor God – the Holy Trinity. They were to make this alive through prayer and intentional actions toward each person in daily living.

Reflection questions for your own life

How do I honor God in my life daily? How am I conscious of the pres- ence of the loving God around me? Do I pray everyday?

Pray the Novena prayer, an Our Father followed by One Hail Mary to honor the Incarnation and One Glory Be to honor the Blessed Trinity.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE LIFE OF ST VINCENT DE PAUL

Vincent was born April 24, 1581 in Pouy, France. He was ordained a priest at the age of 19. On January 25th ,1617, Vincent preached his sermon on general confession. This is traditionally regarded as the first sermon of the mission. This happened after he heard the confession of a dying man. In the same year, 1617, after encountering the needs of an ailing, poor family and inspiring an outpouring of generosity by parishioners, Vincent established a group of lay women to provide organized material service to the poor: the Confraternities of Charity. The group evolved into the Ladies of Charity, an organization of lay women who offer care, concern, and relief to the poor. In 1625 Vincent formally founded the Congregation of the Mission to evangelize the rural poor. Vincent co-founded the Daughters of Charity with Louise de Marillac in 1633. Vincent died in Paris on September 27th ,1660 and Louise de Marillac died the same year on March 15th. Pope Benedict XIII declared Vincent to be Blessed on August 13th ,1729 Pope Clement XII declared Vincent to be a Saint June 16, 1737. Louise de Maurillac was declared a Saint in 1934. In 1885 Pope Leo XIII declared Vincent to be the Patron of Charitable Endeavors.

Superior General – Feast of St. Vincent

GregGay1-208x300-150x150Superior General Father Gregory Gay writes of plans for the Vincentian Family to celebrate the Feast of st. Vincent.

Dear Members of the Vincentian family,

As we celebrate the feast of St. Vincent de Paul, on behalf of the Vincentian Family and the leaders of our various branches, I write to inform you that we have decided to dedicate this coming year to the “New Evangelization.”

We will do so as a Vincentian Family by focusing on  three key areas of fidelity in following Jesus Christ, evangelizer and servant of the poor:

  • a need for personal and communal conversion;
  • a need to go beyond ourselves by listening to the cry of the poor, especially those who live on the periphery of our cities, and on the margins of society today;
  • a need to evangelize and provide new ways of pastoral care for the family.

Full text VF Feast Day Ltr. 2014-ENG (pdf)