LIFE and WORKS of SAINT VINCENT de PAUL

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LIFE and WORKS of SAINT VINCENT de PAUL

Post by yang-ew on Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:51 pm

SAINT VINCENT de PAUL

Born at Pouy, Gascony, France, in 1580, though some authorities have said 1576; died at Paris, 27 September, 1660. Born of a peasant family, he made his humanities studies at Dax with the Cordeliers, and his theological studies, interrupted by a short stay at Saragossa, were made at Toulouse where he graduated in theology. Ordained in 1600 he remained at Toulouse or in its vicinity acting as tutor while continuing his own studies. Brought to Marseilles for an inheritance, he was returning by sea in 1605 when Turkish pirates captured him and took him to Tunis. He was sold as a slave, but escaped in 1607 with his master, a renegade whom he converted. On returning to France he went to Avignon to the papal vice-legate, whom he followed to Rome to continue his studies. He was sent back to France in 1609, on a secret mission to Henry IV; he became almoner to the Queen Marguerite of Valois, and was provided with the little Abbey of Saint-Léonard-de-Chaume. At the request of M. de Berulle, founder of the Oratory, he took charge of the parish of Clichy near Paris, but several months later (1612) he entered the services of the Gondi, an illustrious French family, to educate the children of Philippe-Emmanuel de Gondi. He became the spiritual director of Mme de Gondi. With her assistance he began giving missions on her estates; but to escape the esteem of which he was the object he left the Gondi and with the approval of M. de Berulle had himself appointed curé of Chatillon-les-Dombes (Bresse), where he converted several Protestants and founded the first conference of charity for the assistance of the poor. He was recalled by the Gondi and returned to them (1617) five months later, resuming the peasant missions. Several learned Paris priests, won by his example, joined him. Nearly everywhere after each of these missions, a conference of charity was founded for the relief of the poor, notably at Joigny, Châlons, Mâcon, Trévoux, where they lasted until the Revolution.
After the poor of the country, Vincent's solicitude was directed towards the convicts in the galleys, who were subject to M. de Gondi as general of the galleys of France. Before being convoyed aboard the galleys or when illness compelled them to disembark, the condemned convicts were crowded with chains on their legs onto damp dungeons, their only food being black bread and water, while they were covered with vermin and ulcers. Their moral state was still more frightful than their physical misery. Vincent wished to ameliorate both. Assisted by a priest, he began visiting the galley convicts of Paris, speaking kind words to them, doing them every manner of service however repulsive. He thus won their hearts, converted many of them, and interested in their behalf several persons who came to visit them. A house was purchased where Vincent established a hospital. Soon appointed by Louis XIII royal almoner of the galleys, Vincent profited by this title to visit the galleys of Marseilles where the convicts were as unfortunate as at Paris; he lavished his care on them and also planned to build them a hospital; but this he could only do ten years later. Meanwhile, he gave on the galley of Bordeaux, as on those of Marseilles, a mission which was crowned with success (1625).


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Re: LIFE and WORKS of SAINT VINCENT de PAUL

Post by yang-ew on Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:42 am

About St. Vincent de Paul

Following Christ, the Evangelizer of the Poor
It was the human Jesus who captivated Vincent. From the beginning, the picture of Jesus telling the people in the Nazareth synagogue that his life's purpose was to bring his Father's hope to the poor excited Vincent. He saw himself seated in that assembly and felt the energy which moved Jesus go through him too. For most of his active life, Vincent set his course by what Jesus would do. He was especially attuned to the gospel scenes in which Jesus encountered needy people. In fact he often reminded his followers how fortunate they were to be doing exactly what the Son of Man himself had come to do, bring the Good News to the poor.

Love for God and Trust in God's Care
Vincent's happy childhood, particularly the love he felt toward his mother, disposed him to recognize the richness in Jesus' claim that his God in heaven was lovable and gracious. Vincent only grew in his appreciation of God's parental care. It was his own experience of this tender mercy that made him such an attractive and believable evangelizer.

In some ways, Vincent's fundamental accomplishment was to have communicated to the poor of his day that God really loved them. In the prayer practices he recommended, Vincent told his directees to come with Jesus before His God, to be part of the vital exchange going back and forth within the Trinity. Only in such open communication with the all loving God could they have confidence that the work they were doing was really God's work. Only then could they be sure it was, in Vincent's favorite phrase, the will of God.

Warm-Hearted and Practical Love for the Poor
Vincent was a discerner. He detected God's loving presence when he met and served neglected people. They were his special ones, his windows onto God's activity in the world, his holy ground. They brought him the Lord Jesus. In a hundred different ways, Vincent taught that Jesus was alive in the poor. Underneath the frightening surfaces of poverty, he insisted, the disciple encountered the suffering Lord.

Vincent pictured ranks of poor people gathered around Jesus on the last day, helping him to make the final judgment:
"She took care of us, Lord. Let her in.
"He was our friend, Jesus. Welcome him too."
In the Kingdom, the poor are the ones who count the most. In this life, even though put to the side, it is they who bear the closest likeness to Christ. Therefore, they are to be served with genuine love and practical intelligence--in Vincent's expression, with affect and effect.
The quality of one's discipleship depended on it.

Habits Which Enable Evangelization
Vincent had little patience with theoretical approaches to discipleship. His interest was always in the practical side of things. Today we might term it "delivering the service." It wasn't enough just to be enthused about the gospel or to have satisfying prayer experiences. One had to actually be capable of spreading God's love; the poor had to hear and feel it.

It was this bent for the concrete which made Vincent insist on developing habits which enabled evangelization to happen. Certain strengths had to be there if the apostle were to communicate a believable gospel. If a woman did not learn to handle her anger, for instance, she couldn't convey a God of forgiveness and strength, let alone be attractive to the poor. If a man occasionally shaved the truth, if he had not disciplined himself to say things as they were, he could neither preach a faithful God nor earn the trust of the marginated people who instinctively suspected any outsider offering help.

Because it took character to perform Jesus' mission, character formation was required of the apostle. Building habits of hard work, truthfulness, evenness in mood, doing with less, listening, empathy, steadiness, detachment, readiness to move on, perseverance, humility and the like was essential for following the missionary Jesus. For Vincent, Christian discipleship did not exist in the abstract. It came to life in practical service.

Vincent de Paul for Today
During the French Revolution, rioting mobs broke into the Pantheon in Paris and smashed all the religious statues but one. Despite their zeal to replace, in their eyes, a repressive Christianity with the freshness of their secular heroes and heroines, they could not bring themselves to deface the image of Monsieur Vincent. He had done too much good, helped too many of their forebears, spoken too movingly about the preciousness of the ordinary person for them to throw him out with the rest.

His appeal continues to be that universal. It is to the wellsprings of human dignity, the basic goodness of people. Praying with him allows us to go beneath the accomplishments the mob so admired to the reason Vincent could give his care so lovingly in the first place. When he served the poor, he "touched God." And when he came before God, he found himself reaching out to the poor.
Vincent mirrors today's active apostle, needing nourishment from action and prayer as they intertwine in the heat of the day. He models that apostle's stance before God, prayerfully active and actively prayerful in bringing the Good News.

Learn more about St. Vincent´s mission works.
Click to http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15434c.htm
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