VINCENT DE PAUL, Fr. Saint, founder of the Priests of the Mission: b. Pouay Gascony, 1576; d. Paris, 27 Sept. 1660. Some of 'his early years were spent on the slopes of the Pyrenees tending his father's scanty flock; but as the boy exhibited signs of re markable promise he was sent to be educated first at Dax and then at Toulouse. There he completed his ecclesiastical studies and was ordained priest in 1600. In 1605, while on a voyage from Marseilles to Narbonne, he was captured by Turkish pirates and sent to Tunis, where he was in slavery for two years under three different masters, the last of whom, a renegade from Nice, he reconverted to Chris tianity and induced to escape with him to France. They reached Aigues-Mortes in a little skiff 28 June 1607. The next year Vin cent spent in Rome, where he secured the friend ship of Cardinal d'Ossat, who sent him to Paris on a secret mission to Henry IV and who after ward procured his nomination to the Abbey of Saint Leonard de Chaume, in the diocese of Rochelle. The founder of the Oratory, M. de Bernlle, induced Vincent to take charge of the parish of Clichy, near Paris, but in 1612 he entered the services of the Gondi family. With the assistance of Mme. de Gondi he began giv ing missions on her estate. Leaving the family for a brief interval he returned to them in 1617. Several parish priests joined him in giving his peasant missions and after each mission a con ference of charity was founded for the relief of the poor. Vincent was also deeply inter ested in the convicts of the galleys, whose moral state was only on a par with their frightful phYsical misery. Vincent began visiting the galley convicts of Paris and performed for them every manner of service hovrever repul sive. He thus won their hearts and also suc ceeded in interesting other persons in their be-, half. With funds he collected he managed to purchase a home and establish a hospital. Louis XIII made Vincent royal almoner of the gal leys and the latter now visited Marseilles where the condition of the convicts was. equally as miserable as at Paris. Missions to the convicts at Marseilles and at Bordeaux were crowned with great success. The good wrought every where by his tnissions decided Vincent to found a religious institute of priests who would main tain the work of the ntissions. Thus was founded the Congregation of Priests of the Mission. At Beauvais, in September 1628, Vin cent began the first of his conferences and in structions to candidates for holy orders. These conferences, at first of short duration, were soon extended to two or three years 'and gave rise to the seminaries, as these prevailed later in France. About the same tim.e Vincent founded the Daughters of Charity. They were intended at first to assist the conferences of charity., to distribute alms and to visit the poor. When their number increased he grouped them into a community under the direction of Mlle. Legras. He also secured for the poor the services of the Ladies of Charity, composed of pious women who nursed the sick poor entering the HOtel-Dieu to the number of about 25,000 annually. They also visited the prisons. Many of their numbers were of the highest rank in society. Due to them Vincent was able to col lect large sums for the benefit of the poor and unfortunate. The care of foundlings was the chief new work made possible by the liber ality of the Ladies of Charity. Foundlings at that time were deliberately maimed by persons who exploited them later for their own profit. A special house and four nurses were secured and within two years 4,000 foundlings were housed there at a cost of $150,000. A generous friend placed at Vincent's disposal the sum of 10,000 livres ($50,000), with which the latter founded the Hospice of the Name of Jesus, where about 40 old people of both sexes were cared for. This generous donation stimulated others and soon all the poor of Paris were adequately provided for by the establishment of the general hospital on the lands of the Sal netriere. About $1,000,000 was donated to this
end and the king granted the land. The ad ministration was committed to the Daughters of Charity and the greatest humanitarian work of the 17th century was accomplished. Many dis tricts of the provinces far removed from Paris were devastated by the Thirty Years' War. Vincent sent help to the stricken people of these regions and when his treasury, at last was empty lie decided to print and sell the accounts sent him of the devastation of these regions. This plan 1Nas successful and resulted in the peri odical called k Magasits Charitable. In the ruined provinces Vincent founded the work of the potages ecomonsiques, the tradition of which has survived to our day in the modern economic kitchen. Societies were founded to clean away the dirt which was a permanent cause of plague. Seeds were distributed to the peasants 'to aid them in restoring value to their hind after the storm of war had passed. Young women were removed from the dangers of the military zones and sheltered in various con vents. After the peace Vincent directed his alms to the Irish and English Catholics whom persecution. had driven from their country. All this charitable work had made Vincent's name a' household word in France. Indeed, his work fiuds no parallel until we consider the humani tarian work performed in Franoe and 13elgium during the. late war and then we have several powerftal organisations working to the same end, which makes the work of Vincent stand out as most remarkable, since practically all de tails of organization and administration de volved on him alone. He was well received at court, ,but never used his influence save for the welfare of the poor and needy. During the Wars of the Fronde he approached the leaders in an effort to bring about peace, and failing in this, redoubled his efforts to lessen the mis eries of the strife at Paris. Soup was dis tributed .daily through his care to over 15,000 refugees, while about 900 young women were removed frorn the perils of the streets. Vin t-era's charity was not confined within the boundaries of France. In 1638 he sent priests to preach to the peasants of Italy; others -were dispatched to Ireland, Scotland, Poland and Madagascar; but perhaps the work abroad which most interested him was that inaugurated among the Christian slaves of Barbary, whose hard lot he had once shared. These poor Chris tians, carried off by Turkish pirates, numbered about 25,000. They were treated with less con ,sideration by their masters than beasts of .burden. Vincent sent them a priest and a lay brother as early as 1645. Others followed. These missionaries did much to ameliorate the hard lot of these slaves and were able to free Wale of them. For others they acted as agents with their families. At the time of Vincent's .death 1,200 had been ransomed through his efforts and he had expended about $5,000,000 in their behalf. At his death the poor of France lost their best friend and humanity a Christian benefactor unequalled in modern days. On 13 Aug. 1729 Vincent was declared blessed by Benedict XIII and on 16 June 1737 was canon ized by Clement XII. He was declared patron .of the Sisters of Charity in 1885 by Leo XIII. Saint Vincent's festal day is 19 July. Consult the lives by Abelly (Paris 1664; fast ed., ib. 1891); Adderley (London 1901) ; Collet (Nancy 1748) ; Chantelouze (Paris 1860) ; Boyle (New York 1909); De Broglie (ib. 1899) ; Bougaud (ib. 1908). Consult also Coste, (A quelle date Saint Viocent de Paul est-il ne) (in Revue dc Gascogne 1911) ; id., (Saint Vincent de Paul a-t-il ,pris a Marseille les fers d'un forcat?' (ib. 1910) ; Degert, Antoine, (Histoire des seminaires Francais' (Vols. I, II, Paris 1912) ; Lorti, (Saint Vincent de Paul et sa missicki sociale) (ib. 1880) ; Maynard, (Saint Vincent de Paul, sa vie, son temps' (ib. 1850-74).