St. Vincent De Paul, (born April 24, 1581, Pouy, now Saint-Vincent-De-Paul, France—died September 27, 1660, Paris, canonized 1737,
feast day September 27), French saint, founder of the Congregation of the Mission (Lazarists, or Vincentians) for preaching missions
to the peasantry and for educating and training a pastoral clergy. The patron saint of charitable societies, St. Vincent de Paul is
primarily recognized for his charity and compassion for the poor, though he is also known for his reform of the clergy and for his early
role in opposing Jansenism.
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. He 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 Berulle, who entrusted him with the parish of Clichy.
After founding the Congregation of the Mission in 1625, Vincent de Paul established in and around Paris the Confraternities
of Charity—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. The association was patterned after the Confraternities of Charity and was
the first noncloistered religious institute of women devoted to active charitable works.