St. Vincent de Paul

Important Dates


Vincent was born April 24 in Pouy (modern day St. Vincent de Paul), southern France, about four miles northwest of Dax


Vincent went to Dax for about two years as a boarder with the Franciscans to study for the priesthood


Vincent pursued university degree in Toulouse, residing at the College de Foix


He was ordained to the priesthood Sept. 23 at the age of 19 by the very aged Bishop of Perigueux, Francois de Bourdeille in the village chapel of Chateau-l’Eveque


Vincent received the diploma of Bachelor of Theology from the University of Toulouse


Vincent arrived in Paris and took Pierre de Berulle as spiritual director


On May 2, he took possession of the church of Clichy, located north of Paris. The parish had about 600 parishioners, mostly peasant folk


At the advice of Berulle, Vincent entered the service of the Gondi family as tutor to their children and Chaplain of the Gondi Estates


On Jan. 25, at the request of Madame de Gondi, Vincent preached his sermon on general confession at the church of Folleville, France. This has traditionally been regarded as the first sermon of the mission.

In the same year Vincent left the Gondi estates and traveled to Chatillon-les Dombes (eastern France), where he was named pastor on July 29. After encountering the needs of a poor sick family in August and inspiring an outpouring of generosity by parishioners, on Dec. 8 he canonically established a group of lay women to provide organized material service to the poor: the Confraternities of Charity. The group evolved into the Ladies of Charity, an organization of lay women who offer care, concern, and relief to the poor.

At the insistence of Madame de Gondi and through the influence of Berulle, Vincent returned as chaplain to the Gondi estates in December.


In February, Vincent was appointed Chaplain-General of the Galleys in Paris; he was able to stop many abuses to the galley slaves

c. 1623

Vincent met Louise de Marillac (Vincent 42 and Louise 32).


Vincent was named principal of the College de Bons Enfants, which later became the first Motherhouse (maison mere) of the Community.


At the age of 44, Vincent formally founded the Congregation of the Mission April 17 with the financial help of Madame de Gondi to evangelize the rural poor. In 1632 ,Vincent made Saint-Lazare (“Lazarists” is a common European name for Vincentians) in Paris the community Motherhouse. This house was ransacked on July 13, 1789 by insurgents who stormed the Bastille the next day. In 1792, during the French Revolution, the buildings were confiscated; they were demolished at the beginning of the twentieth century. The present Motherhouse at 95 rue de Sevres was transferred to the Congregation by the French State in 1817 in compensation for the old Saint-Lazare.


On November 29, Vincent co-founded the Daughters of Charity with Louise de Marillac, to help the Ladies in their service of the sick and the poor—doing the harder work to which the Ladies of Paris were not accustomed or suited. They were given official approbation in 1655 by the Archbishop of Paris. Vincent also began his Tuesday Conferences in July of this year.


St. Vincent gave the Community (Little Company) the rule by which it was to be governed.


Vincent died in Paris Sept. 27 at the age of 79. Louise died the same year March 15 at the age of 69.


Pope Benedict XIII declared Vincent to be Blessed Aug. 13.


Pope Clement XII declared Vincent to be a Saint June 16. Louise was declared a Saint in 1934.


Pope Leo XIII declared Vincent to be the Patron of Charitable Endeavors that emanate from him in any way whatever.