Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saint Vincent de Paul: escaped captivity under the Muslims and re-converted an apostate

From his very boyhood, Vincent de Paul, born at Pouy in Gascony, was remarkable for his great charity toward the poor. Called from the care of his father's flock to the study of letters and then ordained to the priesthood, he fell into the hands of the Turks, who took him captive into Africa. With his master, an apostate whom he had won back to the faith of Christ, he escaped and went back to France. In the parishes entrusted to him and then as chaplain of the galleys, he zealously undertook the work of the salvation of souls. As diréctor of the Visitation nuns for about forty years, he governed them most wisely. Even in his old age, he worked untiringly for the evangelization of the poor, especially of those who lived in the country. He had founded a Congregation under the name of the Secular Priests of the Missions, and he bound them to this apostolic work by a perpetual vow confirmed by the Holy See. He established many associations for seeking out and aiding the unfortunate and for the education of girls. At length, worn out by bodily mortification, labours and old age, he peacefully fell asleep in the Lord in the year of salvation 1660. Famous for his miracles, he was placed among the Saints by Clement XII, and Leo XIII declared and appointed him the special heavenly patron of all charitable associations in the whole Catholic world which trace their origin in some way to him.

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