Two distinct, yet related incidents brought Vincent de Paul into
the world of the poor, and became the means for a conversion to
Jesus Christ that changed his life forever. One day, he was asked
to hear the confession of a very sick worker on the de Gondi
estate. The man, had been away from the Church for decades, later
said that, if it were not for Vincent, he could have died in sin.
Vincent was shocked at the larger number of poor working on the de
Gondi estate who had never been to Mass or received the
On another occasion, as Vincent was preparing to celebrate
Sunday Mass, he was informed of a family in the nearby village who
were all quite ill, and in desperate need of food and medicine.
This so moved Vincent that he made an urgent appeal for help from
the pulpit. As we hurried to the sick family after masses were
finished, he saw a steady stream of people going to the house of
the sick family with baskets of food, kettles of soup, and
medicines. However this family, like many others, needed ongoing
assistance, and Vincent realized there had to be a means of
organizing this outpouring of charity. It was his genius for
organization that became Vincent’s vision.