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Life of St. Vincent de Paul

F. A. Forbes

Book Overview: 

Vincent De Paul [c. 1581 - 1660] was a man renowned during his own century for his compassion, humility and generosity. During the days when galleys were part of any countries' war machine and these galleys were rowed by convicts who were in reality slaves, Vincent's special call was to provide what spiritual comfort he could to these wretched men. When a young man he himself had been captured by Turkish pirates, who brought him to Tunis and sold him into slavery, so he had a special understanding of their lot. He escaped in 1607 and went on to become a priest with a ministry to the poor. In 1625 de Paul founded the Congregation of the Mission, a society of missionary priests commonly known as the Vincentians or Lazarists and with the assistance of Louise de Marillac he later founded the Daughters of Charity whose selfless nursing work in hospitals throughout the world and during many plagues is well known.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .e felt himself on the point of yielding, he made a vow to consecrate himself to Jesus Christ in the person of His poor. As he made the promise the temptation vanished, and forever. His faith henceforward was a faith that had been tried and had conquered; strong and firm as such a faith must be, it held him ready for all that God might send.


VINCENT remained two years in the house of Father de Bérulle, in the hope of obtaining permanent work. The administration of a poor country parish was, he maintained, the only thing he was fit for, but de Bérulle thought otherwise. "This humble priest," he predicted one day to a friend, "will render great service to the Church and will work much for God's glory."

St. Francis de Sales, who made Vincent's acquaintance while he was with de Bérulle, was of the same opinion. "He will be the holiest priest of his time," he said one day as he watc. . . Read More

Community Reviews

A lovely book on this great saint -the patron saint of charities and volunteers. St. Vincent de Paul pray for us!

I really enjoyed this. I was bummed to be told there’s evidence he wasn’t kidnapped by pirates or sold into slavery which makes you wonder how much of the rest of it is accurate but I still found it inspiring.

Very good read

I did not know anything about St Vincent de Paul so found this short book informative and detailed but not so much that it became boring. I certainly recommend it.


I would like have liked the book to have included at end a bit on his legacy and how his amazing life inspired many hundreds of thousands to take up the work of St Vincent de Paul Society which today is known as largest voluntary charity in the world.

"Extend mercy toward others, so that there can be no one in need whom you meet without helping. For what hope is there for us if God should withdraw His mercy from us?"

I read this book to learn more about the Saint my church is named for. This was a quick and interesting read. Of course it made me w

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