Saint Vincent de Paul
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September 27 is the feast day of Saint Vincent de Paul, a great spiritual master of the French school of spirituality and one-time spiritual director to Sulpician founder M. Jean-Jacques OLIER.
This memorial is another of the special remembrances on the Sulpician liturgical calendar. Born in Pouy (Landes) on April 24, 1581, he became attracted to the priesthood at a young age. He was ordained at the age of 19! Under the influence of Pierre de BERULLE, considered the founder of the French school, he took charge of a poorly run parish and quickly turned it around. He also began extensive evangelization in the countryside and soon recognized the importance of priestly formation if the Church was to be renewed with vigor. Thus, he shared with Father Olier the same desire to reform the Church by reforming the clergy. To that end, Vincent founded in the seminary at Saint-Lazare in Paris, and the Vincentians have often participated in priestly formation as well as service to the poor.
Vincent also organized a series of “Tuesday conferences” at which Father Olier and other spiritual leaders participated. In order to continue his mission, he founded two congregations that continue to function today, the Congregation of the Mission (1625; known in English as the Vincentians and in French the “Lazaristes”), and the Daughters of Charity, cofounded in 1655 with his good friend Saint Louise de MARILLAC (1591-1660).
Vincent died in Paris on 27 September 1660, a few years after the death of his younger protégé, Father Olier (1608-1657) and only six months after the death of Saint Louise de Marillac. On this day, the Sulpicians honor the memory of this great saint and spiritual “cousin.” We wish abundant blessings on the Vincentians, the Daughters of Charity, and the entire worldwide Vincentian family whose roots go back to this holy man.
Collect for the day:
Lord, you gave to Saint Vincent de Paul all the qualities of an apostle to nourish the poor and form priests. Give us a similar desire, to love what he loved to practice what he taught. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.