September 27:Vincent de Paul; Religious, and Prophetic Witness, 1660

Welcome to the Holy Women, Holy Men blog! We invite you to read about this commemoration, use the collect and lessons in prayer, whether individually or in corporate worship, and then tell us what you think. For more information about this project, click here.

About this commemoration

Born in France in 1580 to a peasant family, Vincent took his theological studies at Toulouse and was ordained in 1600.

When called to hear the confession of a dying man, Vincent was shocked by the spiritual naiveté of the penitent. In response, Vincent preached sermons on confession in the village chapel of Folleville, calling people to the necessity of repentance. So persuasive were his sermons, that villagers stood in line to go to confession. Vincent had underestimated their spiritual hunger. In 1626, Vincent and three priests pledged to “aggregate and associate to ourselves and to live together as a Congregation … and to devote ourselves to the salvation of the people.”

Vincent devoted great energy to conducting retreats for clergy because of the widespread deficiencies in theological education and priestly formation. He was a pioneer in the renewal of theological education and was instrumental in establishing seminaries.

For Vincent, charity was a predominant virtue that was to be extended to all. He established charitable confraternities to serve the spiritual and physical needs of the poor and sick. He called upon the women of means in Paris to collect funds for his missionary projects particularly hospitals to serve the poor.

Vincent was by temperament a very irascible person. He said that except for the grace of God he would have been “hard and repulsive, rough and cross.” But he became tender and affectionate, very sensitive to the needs of others. He had an extraordinary capacity to connect with all types of people and to move them to be empowered by the gospel of Jesus. In the midst of the most distracting occupations his soul was always intimately united with God. Though honored by the great ones of the world, he remained deeply rooted in humility.

At Vincent’s funeral, the preacher declared that Vincent had just about “transformed the face of the Church.” “The Apostle of Charity” breathed his last in Paris, on September 27, 1660, at the age of eighty. He is honored in the tradition as the patron saint of charitable causes.

COLLECTS

Loving God, we offer thanks for thy servant Vincent de Paul, who gave himself to training clergy to work among the poor and provided many institutions to aid the sick, orphans and prisoners. May we, like him, encounter Christ in the needy, the outcast and the friendless, that we may come at length into thy kingdom where thou reignest, one God, holy and undivided Trinity, for ever and ever. Amen.

Loving God, we thank you for your servant Vincent de Paul, who gave himself to training clergy to work among the poor and provided many institutions to aid the sick, orphans and prisoners. May we, like him, encounter Christ in the needy, the outcast and the friendless, that we may come at length into your kingdom where you reign, one God, holy and undivided Trinity, for ever and ever. Amen.

Lessons

Amos 8:4–6

1 Corinthians 1:26–31

Matthew 9:35–38

Psalm 37:27–33

Preface of BaptismPreface of God the Holy Spirit

Text From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.

We invite your reflections about this commemoration and its suitability for the official calendar and worship of The Episcopal Church. How did this person’s life witness to the Gospel? How does this person inspire us in Christian life today?

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2 Responses to September 27:Vincent de Paul; Religious, and Prophetic Witness, 1660

  1. Michael Hartney says:

    New Hebrew reading: Might we consider adding verses 7-9 to the reading from Amos? They would seem to fit OK.

    Blessed Vincent need a ‘who he is’ and ‘why he is important’ statement.

  2. Nigel Renton says:

    The subheading needs to be changed. I find it ironic that after my criticisms of subheadings that just describe someone as “priest” without a hint as to why they have been included, we now come to a case where a priest is not so described. Furthermore, he is described as a “religious”. I have been unable to confirm that he was ever a member of a religious order himself.In view of his activity in the world, I think this unlikely. I suggest “Priest and Founder of Charitable Orders”

    We don’t know the year of his birth with certainty. I suggest we add “about” before “1580” in line1 of the first paragraph.

    (Some of the difficulty over dates relates to the differences between the Julian and Gregorian calendars. Others may relate to the change in the first day of the new year; dates given in January, February, and most of March, may actually be a year later in our terms. Perhaps that is why one source shows 1581 for the definite year of Vincent’s birth.)

    “Most countries in Western Europe officially adopted January 1 as New Year’s Day somewhat before they adopted the Gregorian calendar. In England, the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25, was the first day of the new year until the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar in 1752. ” –from Wikipedia.

    In line 2 of the second paragraph, I suggest we use the perfectly good English word “naivety” instead of the French spelling given. (When foreign words are deemed essential, a good rule is to use italic, and that would be better if the present spelling is retained, but why clutter up the text with accents we don’t use in English unless forced to do so?)

    In the last line of the final paragraph, delete “in the tradition”. These words add nothing to the meaning, and one wonders “in what tradition?”. Further, the words “in the tradition” are used with specific meanings in other fields.

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