|St. Vincent de Paul
Birthplace: Pouy, Gascogne, France
Location of death: Paris, France
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Église St. Vincent de Paul, Paris, France
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Executive summary: Filles de la Charité
French divine, founder of the "Congregation of Priests of the Mission", usually known as Lazarites, born on the 24th of April 1576 at Pouy, near Dax, in Gascogne, and was educated by the Franciscans at Dax and at Toulouse. He was ordained priest in 1600. Voyaging from Toulouse to Narbonne, he was captured by Barbary pirates, who took him to Tunis and sold him as a slave. He converted his third master, a renegade Italian, and escaped with him to Aigues-Mortes near Marseilles in June 1607. After short stays at Avignon and Rome, Vincent found his way to Paris, where he became favourably known to Monsieur (afterwards Cardinal) de Bérulle, who was then founding the congregation of the French Oratory. At Bérulle's instance he became curate of Clichy near Paris (1611); but this charge he soon exchanged for the post of tutor to the count of Joigny at Folleville, in the diocese of Amiens, where his success in dealing with the spiritual needs of the peasants led to the "missions" with which his name is associated. In 1617 he accepted the curacy of Châtillon-lès-Dombes (or sur-Chalaronne), and here he received from the countess of Joigny the means by which he was enabled to found his first "confrérie de charité", an association of women who ministered to the poor and the sick. In 1619 Louis XIII made him royal almoner of the galleys. Among the works of benevolence with which his name is associated are the establishment of a hospital for galley slaves at Marseilles, the irstitution of two establishments for foundlings at Paris, and the organization of the "Filles de la Charité", to supplement the work of the confréries, whose members were mainly married women with domestic duties. He died at Paris on the 27th of September 1660, and was buried in the church of St. Lazare. He was beatified by Pope Benedict XIII in 1729, and canonized by Pope Clement XII in 1737, his festival (duplex) being observed on the 19th of July. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was founded by Frederic Ozanam and others in 1833, in reply to a charge brought by some free-thinking contemporaries that the church no longer had the strength to inaugurate a practical enterprise. In a variety of ways it does a great deal of social service similar to that of guilds of help. Its administration has always been in the hands of laymen, and it works through local "conferences" or branches, the general council having been suspended because it declined to accept a cardinal as its official head.
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