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Serving the Poorest of the Poor

In 1633 Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac, a widow, established the Company of the Daughters of Charity as a group of women dedicated to serving the �poorest of the poor.� Today, the Daughters of Charity are an international community of over 19,000 Catholic women ministering all over the world. The Daughters of Charity still serve the �poorest of the poor,� touching those in need through education, health care, and social and pastoral services.

In 1833, the Conference of Charity, later the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, was founded in France by seven students, including Frederic Ozanam, a young Catholic whose love of St. Vincent de Paul inspired him to help the needy and "accomplish through charity what justice alone cannot do." The Society today operates in 148 countries worldwide, and is composed of some 700,000 Catholic volunteers who dedicate their time and resources to help those in need.

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St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent de Paul (April 1581�September 1660)
St. Vincent de Paul was a Catholic priest dedicated to serving the poor. He was canonized in 1737 and is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

Vincent de Paul was born in France to a family of peasant farmers, and was ordained in 1600. In 1605, on his way back from Marseille, he was captured by Turkish pirates who sold him into slavery. After converting his owner to Christianity, Vincent de Paul escaped to France, and then went to Rome to continue his studies. In 1609, he was sent back to France by Henry IV to serve as chaplain to Marguerite de Valois. He was a parish priest at Clichy, and then from 1612 began to serve the illustrious Gondi family. He was confessor and spiritual director to Madame de Gondi, and began giving peasant missions on the estate with her aid. In 1622 de Paul was appointed chaplain to the galleys, and in this capacity, he gave missions for the galley slaves. In 1625, de Paul founded the Congregation of the Mission, a society of priests commonly known as Vincentians.

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