The name of the French priest St. Vincent de Paul (priest and founder) is today synonymous with charitable activities on behalf of the poor. Vincent was born c. 1580, the son of a peasant farmer, and was ordained at the relatively early age of twenty. For the next ten years, Fr. Vincent was content with an unchallenging, comfortable life in the bosom of the Church.
However, he came under the influence of the saintly priest Fr. de Berulle, and began to work among the poor. Their material and spiritual needs moved Vincent profoundly, and from then on he devoted himself to serving the forgotten members of society. Fr. Vincent arranged for groups of lay persons to minister to the poor, and in 1625 he founded the Congregation of the Mission (also known as the Vincentians), a group of priests who dedicated themselves to working with people in small towns and villages.
In 1633 Vincent, along with St. Louise de Marillac, founded a congregation of religious women known as the Daughters of Charity. Vincent's generosity and goodness attracted many people, and he had little difficulty finding helpers for his ministry.
A gentle manner was not something that came easily to him, however; he had a severe temper, and stated that, without the grace of God, he would have been "hard and repulsive, rough and cross." St. Vincent de Paul died in Paris in 1660, and was canonized in 1737. Pope Leo XIII made him the patron of all charitable activities in the Church, particularly the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which was founded in 1833 by Frederic Ozanam.
When we are discussing things which it is good and proper to talk about, we should hold back any details which would not be for God’s glory, or which could harm some other person, or which would make us foolishly smug. In actual practice this virtue is about choosing the right way to do things.
— From a rule of St. Vincent de Paul
Calumny, detraction, and slander: these are three ways I can sin against my neighbor with my words. Taking an honest look, have I been guilty of any of these in the last twenty-four hours? In the last week? In the last month? I will confess this sin and actively pursue ways to tame my tongue.
Other Saints We Remember Today
Sts. Cosmas and Damian (283), Martrys, twins, Patrons of physicians and pharmacists