Thursday, September 27, 2012

St Vincent de Paul

Born to a peasant family on April 24th 1581 near Ranquine, Gascony near Dax, southwest France, Vincent was a highly intelligent youth. He spent four years with the Franciscan friars at Acq, France getting an education. He began divinity studies in 1596 at the University of Toulouse and was ordained a priest at age 20. He was taken captive by Turkish pirates to Tunis, and sold into slavery. Eventually he was 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. He founded the Order known as the Vincentians. He also became chaplain at the court of Henry IV of France. With St Louise de Marillac, he co-founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity. St Vincent died on  September 27th, 1660 at Paris, France of natural causes. His body was found incorrupt when exhumed in 1712. He was canonized on June 16th, 1737 by Pope Clement XII. Many St Vincent de Paul Societies flourished around the world, helping the poor and the homeless.

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