The History of St. Vincent de Paul
St. Vincent de Paul was born in Pouy, France in 1580 and died in Paris in 1660. In 1617,
he founded the first charity to assist the poor. It was not long before several more Paris priests, encouraged by his example, joined
him in his mission. These first missions lasted until the French Revolution.
With the help of a wealthy benefactor, Vincent founded his religious institute of priests, the Congregation
of Priests of Missions who vowed to evangelize the country people. He realized priests were needed to spread the mission work. At
the time of his death, Vincent was acting director of eleven seminaries and before the French Revolution his Congregation was directing
one third of all of the seminaries in France.
In 1629, Vincent established the Daughters of Charity to help care for the poor. Conditions
were so deplorable for many poor children that he worked to establish food, shelter and health care for children and meaningful work
for their families. He used the newspapers to print accounts of their misery and raised more funds for their care. The Sisters of
Charity made and distributed soup every day to 500 poor besides taking care of 60 to 80 sick people during war time.
By 1638 Vincent
was sending his mission priests to other countries to care for the poor and the slaves in many parts of the known world. Vincent was
devoted to prayer and the faith that God would provide for all of their needs as He saw fit. "His zeal for souls knew no limit; all
occasions were to him opportunities to exercise it." (New Advent.org)
June 16, 1737, Vincent was canonized by Clement XII.