On this day in 1660 St. Vincent de Paul, venerated in both the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches, passes after a long and colorful life of good works, adventure and devotion, and this date is his feast day in both faiths. Today is ironically also the founding date of the Order of Loyola, or the Jesuits, and herein shall lie our lesson.
Born in Pouy (now St.-Vincent-de-Paul,) France, and educated by the Franciscans at Dax, France, he was ordained in 1600 and graduated from the University of Toulouse in 1604. He was allegedly captured at sea by Barbary pirates and sold as a slave but eventually escaped. St. de Paul spent a year in Rome to continue his studies and then went to Paris, where he remained permanently. He placed himself under the spiritual guidance of the celebrated cardinal Pierre de Bérulle, who entrusted him with the parish of Clichy.
After founding the Congregation of the Mission in 1625, St. de Paul established the Confraternities of Charity in and near to Paris–associations of laywomen who visited, fed, and nursed the sick poor. The wealth of these women, many of noble family, aided him in establishing the foundling and other hospitals. With St. Louise de Marillac, he cofounded the Daughters of Charity (Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul) in 1633.
Moving to educational missions, whilst there are 197 Catholic colleges and universities in the U.S., they are of numerous orders and societies of faith. De Paul University in Chicago in specific is a Vincentian, and not a Jesuit, institution, placing special emphasis on recruiting first-generation students and others from disadvantaged backgrounds.
To hastily differentiate between the histories and styles of the two, imagine St. Vincent de Paul to be Omar Bradley, the “soldier’s general” of WW2. St. Ignatius de Loyola would be your Gen. George Patton.
And that is all for today.