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Saint Vincent de Paul
Born: April 24, 1581 in Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, Guyenne and Gascony
Died: September 27, 1660 in Paris, Kingdom of France
Venerated: Catholic Church
Beatified: August 13, 1729 by Pope Benedict XIII
Canonized: June 15, 1737 by Pope Clement XII
Feast Day: September 27
Patronages: Charities; Horses; Hospitals; Leprosy; Lost Articles; Prisoners; Spiritual Help; Saint Vincent de Paul Societies; Vincentian Service Corps; Volunteers
PLACES: Madagascar; Richmond, Virginia; Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory
Saint Vincent de Paul was born of poor parents in the village of Pouy in Gascony, France, about 1580. He enjoyed his first schooling under the Franciscan Father at Acqs. Such had been his progress in four years that a gentleman chose him as a tutor for his children, and he was thus enabled to continue his studies without being a burden to his parents. In 1596, he went to the University of Toulouse for theological studies, and there he was ordained priest in 1600.
In 1605, on a voyage by sea from Marseilles to Narbonne, he fell into the hands of African pirates and was carried as a slave to Tunis. His captivity lasted about two years, until Divine Providence enabled him to effect his escape. After a brief visit to Rome, he returned to France where he became tutor in the family of Emmanuel de Gondy, Count of Joigny, and general of the galleys of France. In 1617, he began to preach missions, and in 1625 he laid the foundations of a congregation which afterward became the Congregation of the Mission, or Lazarists, so named on account of the priory of Saint Lazarus, which the Fathers began to occupy in 1633.
It would be impossible to enumerate all the works of this servant of God. Charity was his pre-dominant virtue. It extended to all classes of persons, from forsaken childhood to old age. The Sisters of Charity also owe the foundation of their congregation to Saint Vincent. In the midst of the most distracting occupations his soul was always intimately united with God. Though honored by the great ones of the world, he remained deeply rooted in humility. The Apostle of Charisty, the immortal Vince de Paul, breathed his last in Paris at the age of 80; September 27, 1660. He was canonized in 1737 by Pope CLement XII.