St. Vincent de Paul, the patron saint of charitable societies and the apostle of Charities.
St. Vincent de Paul (1576 – 1660) was born in Gascony, France, and died in Paris. He studied theology at Toulouse and was ordained a priest in 1600. As a young priest he fell into the hands of Mohammedan pirates who carried him off to Africa. After his return to France he became successively parish priest, grand almoner of the galley slaves, and spiritual director of the Visitation nuns. He founded the Congregation of the Priests of the Mission or Lazarists to preach especially to country people. With the help of Louise de Marillac he established the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity to care for young girls, for the needy, sick, and foundlings. He died at St. Lazarus’s which was the center of his Congregation. Leo XIII proclaimed him special patron of charitable institutions.
St. Vincent de Paul was a great apostle of charity, and brought a great revival of the priesthood in the 17th century. He was born near Dax in the Landes (France) in 1581. As a young priest he was captured by Moorish pirates who carried him to Africa. He was sold into slavery, but freed in 1607 when he converted his owner.