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St. Vincent de Paul

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Vincent de Paul, The saint of charitable societies, was born in Pouy, Gascony, France around 1580. His parents Jean de Paul and Bertrande de Moras were farmers who raised four sons and two daughters. Vincent was very intelligent at a young age when his father decided to send him away to the Cordelier Brothers at Dax. He attended the school for four years when he tutored the children of a lawyer. Vincent was able to continue his studies without any expenses to bother his parents with. He then attended the Spanish University of Saragossa to further his education, and later decided to return to France and attend the University of Toulouse where he got the degree of Theology.


Vincent was traveling on a boat when pirates who were menace of all Mediterranean shipping attacked them with arrows after refusing to strike their flag. He was wounded and taken captive to Tunis, Africa and there sold as a slave. This was a major life turning point in his life. He was purchased by a fisherman and then sold again to a Moslem. He grew to enjoy the presence of his slave. Vincent prayed for protection and especially for intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was terrified of his faith becoming corrupted while in the alien environment.


Continuing standing firm in his faith, Vincent also continued living with his slave owner until he died, when then he had a new owner, the master’s nephew. He yet again was sold to a Mohammedanism who had three wives. Among the wives was a Turkish woman. She often came around the slave while he was at work. She would ask him to sing songs in praise of his heavenly father out of curiosity. The woman would go to her husband and ask what the reasoning was behind turning away from his religion. She eventually made the slave owner return to his original religion while staying with hers. He repented and he and Vincent escaped Africa together. They made their way across the Mediterranean safely and landed eventually near Marseilles in June of 1607. The both of them ventured to Rome and became apart of the Brothers of St. John of God and served in hospitals.


Returning to France, Vincent became the almoner of Queen Marguerite of Valois. He roomed in the same house of a lawyer, who was robbed and convicted him of the crime. Vincent did nothing but deny the charge and quoted, “God knows the truth.” Finally after a long hard six years of slander the actual thief confessed of the crime. This became a testimony of his, proving that patience, silence, and resignation was the only way to defend the innocent.


Later he became a pastor of a neglected and abandoned church. He started a regular worship and brought life back into the run down church. He converted a popular amount of aristocrats from their lifestyles to those of God. While doing this it still didn’t complete the passion he had with helping the suffering. He began to help the sick in everyway he could. The Ladies of Charity helped him in many ways, to collect money and also to help him attend for the sick. This they did very well.

This article was published on Saturday 03 May, 2008.

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