The universally recognized Saint of Charity, Vincent de Paul, lived a rich and complex life. Intensely devoted to Jesus, especially Jesus suffering in the poor, Vincent’s way of reading the gospel has special resonance for today. Throughout his long life, he managed to bring together both prayer and action. Although some mystery shrouds his younger years, he conducted his priestly life in full view through great activities that continue today. His two religious families (the Congregation of the Mission, or Vincentians; and the Daughters of Charity) as well as other groups he founded or inspired (such as the International Association of Charities and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul) still look to him for guidance. This humble son of French peasants would be surprised at the millions today who count themselves as members of the Vincentian Family, but would be grateful for God’s grace spread about on the poor and those who serve them in his spirit.
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