c. 1581-1660

By F.A. [Francis Alice] Forbes

"Blessed is he that understandeth concerning the needy and the poor:

the Lord will deliver him in the evil day."

--Psalm 40:2

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. Wherefore he hath anointed me to

preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the contrite

of heart, to preachdeliverance to the captives, and sight to the

blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the

acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of reward."

--Luke 4:18-19

Nihil Obstat: Francis M. Canon Wyndham

Censor Deputatus

Imprimatur: Edmund Canon Surmont

Vicar General


July 2, 1919

Originally published in 1919 by R. & T. Washbourne, Limited, London,

as _Life of St. Vincent de Paul_ in the series _Standard-bearers of

the Faith: A Series of Lives of the Saints for Young and Old._

"Extend mercy towards others, so that there can be no one in need

whom you meet without helping. For what hope is there for us if God

should withdraw His mercy from us?"

--St. Vincent de Paul


1. A Peasant's Son

2. Slavery

3. A Great Household

4. The Galleys

5. Mission Work

6. The Grey Sisters

7. The Foundlings

8. At Court

9. The Jansenists

10. Troubles in Paris

11. "Confido"


"Dearly beloved, let us love one another, for charity is of God. And

every one that loveth, is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth

not, knoweth not God: for God is charity."

--1 John 4:7-8

Chapter 1


A MONOTONOUS line of sand hills and the sea; a vast barren land

stretching away in wave-like undulations far as eye can reach; marsh

and heath and sand, sand and heath and marsh; here and there a

stretch of scant coarse grass, a mass of waving reeds, a patch of

golden-brown fern--the Landes.

It was through this desolate country in France that a little peasant

boy whose name was destined to become famous in the annals of his

country led his father's sheep, that they might crop the scanty

pasture. Vincent was a homely little boy, but he had the soul of a

knight-errant, and the grace of God shone from eyes that were never

to lose their merry gleam even in extreme old age.

He was intelligent, too, so intelligent that the neighbors said that

Jean de Paul was a fool to set such a boy to tend sheep when he had

three other sons who would never be good for anything else. There was

a family in the neighborhood, they reminded him, who had had a bright

boy like Vincent, and had put him to school--with what result? Why,

he had taken Orders and got a benefice, and was able to support his

parents now that they were getting old, besides helping his brothers

to get on in the world. It was well worthwhile pinching a little for

such a result as that.

Jean de Paul listened and drank in their arguments. It would be a

fine thing to have a son a priest; perhaps, with luck, even a

Bishop--the family fortunes would be made forever.

With a good deal of difficulty the necessary money was scraped

together, and Vincent was sent to the Franciscans' school at Dax, the

nearest town. There the boy made such good use of his time that four

years later, when he was only sixteen, he was engaged as tutor to the

children of M. de Commet, a lawyer, who had taken a fancy to the

clever, hardworking young scholar. At M. de Commet's suggestion,

Vincent began to study for the priesthood, while continuing the

education of his young charges to the satisfaction of everybody


Five years later he took minor Orders and, feeling the need of

further theological studies, set his heart on a university training

and a degree. But life at a university costs money, however thrifty

one may be, and although Jean de Paul sold a yoke of oxen to start

his son on his career at Toulouse, at the end of a year Vincent was

in difficulties. The only chance for a poor student like himself was

a tutorship during the summer vacation, and here Vincent was lucky.

The nobleman who engaged him was so delighted with the results that,

when the vacation was over, he insisted on the young tutor taking his

pupils back with him to Toulouse. There, while they attended the

college, Vincent continued to direct their studies, with such success

that several other noblemen confided their sons to him, and he was

soon at the head of a small school.

To carry on such an establishment and to devote oneself to study at

the same time was not the easiest of tasks; but Vincent was a hard

and conscientious worker, and he seems to have had, even then, a

strange gift of influencing others for good. For seven years he

continued this double task with thorough success, completed his

course of theology, took his degree, and was ordained priest in the

opening years of that seventeenth century which was to be so full of

consequences both for France and for himself.

Up to this time there had been nothing to distinguish Vincent from

any other young student of his day. Those who knew him well respected

him and loved him, and that was all. But with the priesthood came a

change. From thenceforward he was to strike out a definite line of

his own--a line that set him apart from the men of his time and

faintly foreshadowed the Vincent of later days.

The first Mass of a newly ordained priest was usually celebrated with

a certain amount of pomp and ceremony. If a cleric wanted to obtain a

good living it was well to let people know that he was eligible for

it; humility was not a fashionable virtue. People were therefore not

a little astonished when Vincent, flatly refusing to allow any

outsiders to be present, said his first Mass in a lonely little

chapel in a wood near Bajet, beloved by him on account of its

solitude and silence. There, entirely alone save for the acolyte and

server required by the rubrics, and trembling at the thought of his

own unworthiness, the newly made priest, celebrating the great

Sacrifice for the first time, offered himself for life and death to

be the faithful servant of his Lord. So high were his ideals of what

the priestly life should be that in his saintly old age he would

often say that, were he not already a priest, he would never dare to

become one.

Vincent's old friend and patron, M. de Commet, was eager to do a good

turn to the young cleric. He had plenty of influence and succeeded in

getting him named to the rectorship of the important parish of Thil,

close to the town of Dax. This was a piece of good fortune which many

would have envied; but it came to Vincent's ears that there was

another claimant, who declared that the benefice had been promised to

him in Rome. Rather than contest the matter in the law courts Vincent

gave up the rectorship and went back to Toulouse, where he continued

to teach and to study.

Some years later he was called suddenly to Bordeaux on business, and

while there heard that an old lady of his acquaintance had left him

all her property. This was welcome news, for Vincent was sadly in

need of money, his journey to Bordeaux having cost more than he was

able to pay.

On returning to Toulouse, however, he found that the prospect was not

so bright as he had been led to expect. The chief part of his

inheritance consisted of a debt of four or five hundred crowns owed

to the old lady by a scoundrel who, as soon as he heard of her death,

made off to Marseilles, thinking to escape without paying. He was

enjoying life and congratulating himself on his cleverness when

Vincent, to whom the sum was a little fortune, and who had determined

to pursue his debtor, suddenly appeared on the scene. The thief was

let off on the payment of three hundred crowns, and Vincent, thinking

that he had made not too bad a bargain, was preparing to return to

Toulouse by road, the usual mode of traveling in those days, when a

friend suggested that to go by sea was not only cheaper, but more

agreeable. It was summer weather; the journey could be accomplished

in one day; the sea was smooth; everything seemed favorable; the two

friends set out together.

A sea voyage in the seventeenth century was by no means like a sea

voyage of the present day. There were no steamers, and vessels

depended on a favorable wind or on hard rowing. The Mediterranean was

infested with Turkish pirates, who robbed and plundered to the very

coasts of France and Italy, carrying off the crews of captured

vessels to prison or slavery.

The day that the two friends had chosen for their journey was that of

the great fair of Beaucaire, which was famous throughout Christendom.

Ships were sailing backwards and forwards along the coast with

cargoes of rich goods or the money for which they had been sold, and

the Turkish pirates were on the lookout.

The boat in which Vincent was sailing was coasting along the Gulf of

Lyons when the sailors became aware that they were being pursued by

three Turkish brigantines. In vain they crowded on all sail; escape

was impossible. After a sharp fight, in which all the men on

Vincent's ship were either killed or wounded--Vincent himself

receiving an arrow wound the effects of which remained with him for

life--the French ship was captured.

But the Turks had not come off unscathed, and so enraged were they at

their losses that their first action on boarding the French vessel

was to hack its unfortunate pilot into a thousand pieces. Having thus

relieved their feelings, they put their prisoners in chains. But

then, fearing lest the prisoners die of loss of blood and so cheat

them of the money for which they meant to sell them, they bound up

their wounds and went on their way of destruction and pillage. After

four or five days of piracy on the high seas, they started, laden

with plunder, for the coast of Barbary, noted throughout the world at

that time as a stronghold of sea robbers and thieves.

Chapter 2


THE pirates were bound for the port of Tunis, the largest city of

Barbary. But the sight of the glittering white town with its

background of mountains, set in the gorgeous coloring of the African

landscape, brought no gleam of joy or comfort to the sad hearts of

the prisoners. Before them lay a life of slavery which might be worse

than death; there was small prospect that they would ever see their

native land again.

To one faint hope, however, they clung desperately, as a drowning man

clings to a straw. There was a French consul in Tunis whose business

it was to look after the trade interests of his country, and it was

just possible that he might use his influence to set them free.

The hope was short-lived. The pirates, expecting to make a good deal

of money out of their prisoners, were equally aware of this fact, and

their first act on landing was to post a notice that the captives

they had for sale were Spaniards. Nothing was left to Vincent and his

companions, who did not know a word of the language of the country,

but to endure their cruel fate.

The Turks, having stripped their prisoners and clothed them in a kind

of rough uniform, fastened chains round their necks and marched them

through the town to the marketplace, where they were exhibited for

sale much as cattle are at the present day. They were carefully

inspected by the dealers, who looked at their teeth, felt their

muscles, made them run and walk--with loads and without--to satisfy

themselves that they were in good condition, and finally selected

their victims. Vincent was bought by a fisherman who, finding that

his new slave got hopelessly ill whenever they put out to sea,

repented of his bargain and sold him to an alchemist.

In the West, as well as in the East, there were still men who

believed in the Philosopher's Stone and the Elixir of Life. By means

of the still undiscovered Stone they hoped to change base metals into

gold, while the equally undiscovered Elixir was to prolong life

indefinitely, and to make old people young.

Vincent's master was an enthusiast in his profession and kept ten or

fifteen furnaces always burning in which to conduct his experiments.

His slave, whose business it was to keep them alight, was kindly

treated; the old man soon grew very fond of him and would harangue

him by the hour on the subject of metals and essences. His great

desire was that Vincent should become a Mohammedan like himself, a

desire which, needless to say, remained unfulfilled, in spite of the

large sums of money he promised if his slave would only oblige him in

this matter.

The old alchemist, however, had a certain reputation in his own

country. Having been sent for one day to the Sultan's Court, he died

on the way, leaving his slave to his nephew, who lost no time in

getting rid of him.

Vincent's next master was a Frenchman who had apostatized and was

living as a Mohammedan on his farm in the mountains. This man had

three wives, who were very kind to the poor captive--especially one

of them, who, although herself a Mohammedan, was to be the cause of

her husband's conversion and Vincent's release. She would go out to

the fields where the Christian slave was working and bid him tell her

about his country and his religion. His answers seemed to impress her

greatly, and one day she asked him to sing her one of the hymns they

sang in France in praise of their God.

The request brought tears to Vincent's eyes. He thought of the

Israelites captive in Babylon, and of their answer to a similar

demand. With an aching heart he intoned the psalm, "By the waters of

Babylon," while the woman, strangely impressed by the plaintive

chant, listened attentively and, when he had ended, begged for more.

The _Salve Regina_ followed, and other songs of praise, after which

she went home silent and thoughtful. That night she spoke to her

husband. "I cannot understand," she said, "why you have given up a

religion which is so good and holy. Your Christian slave has been

telling me of your Faith and of your God, and has sung songs in His

praise. My heart was so full of joy while he sang that I do not

believe I shall be so happy even in the paradise of my fathers." Her

husband, whose conscience was not quite dead within him, listened

silent and abashed. "Ah," she continued, "there is something

wonderful in that religion!"

The woman's words bore fruit. All day long, as her husband went about

his business, the remembrance of his lost Faith was tugging at his

heartstrings. Catching sight of Vincent digging in the fields, he

  • preach [pri:tʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.宣扬;鼓吹 n.训诫   (初中英语单词)
  • series [´siəri:z] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.连续;系列;丛书   (初中英语单词)
  • withdraw [wið´drɔ:] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.收回;撤销;撤退   (初中英语单词)
  • mission [´miʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.代表团;使馆vt.派遣   (初中英语单词)
  • beloved [bi´lʌvd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.为….所爱的 n.爱人   (初中英语单词)
  • barren [´bærən] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.贫瘠的;不生育的   (初中英语单词)
  • coarse [kɔ:s] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.粗(糙)的;粗鲁的   (初中英语单词)
  • extreme [ik´stri:m] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.尽头的 n.极端   (初中英语单词)
  • intelligent [in´telidʒənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.聪明的;理智的   (初中英语单词)
  • neighborhood [´neibəhud] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.邻居;邻近;附近   (初中英语单词)
  • priest [pri:st] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.教士;牧师;神父   (初中英语单词)
  • lawyer [´lɔ:jə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.律师;法学家   (初中英语单词)
  • scholar [´skɔlə, ´skɑ-] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.学者;奖学金获得者   (初中英语单词)
  • satisfaction [,sætis´fækʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.满意;满足   (初中英语单词)
  • career [kə´riə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.经历;生涯;职业   (初中英语单词)
  • vacation [və´keiʃən, vei´keiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.假期;休庭期;腾空   (初中英语单词)
  • establishment [i´stæbliʃmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.建(成)立;研究所   (初中英语单词)
  • worker [´wə:kə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.工人;劳动者;工作者   (初中英语单词)
  • distinguish [di´stiŋgwiʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.区分;识别;立功   (初中英语单词)
  • definite [´definit] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.确定的,明确的   (初中英语单词)
  • celebrated [´selibreitid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.著名的   (初中英语单词)
  • amount [ə´maunt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.总数;数量 v.合计   (初中英语单词)
  • ceremony [´seriməni] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.典礼;礼仪;客气   (初中英语单词)
  • obtain [əb´tein] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.获得;买到;得到承认   (初中英语单词)
  • virtue [´və:tʃu:] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.美德;贞操;长处   (初中英语单词)
  • therefore [´ðeəfɔ:] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.&conj.因此;所以   (初中英语单词)
  • lonely [´ləunli] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.孤独的;无人烟的   (初中英语单词)
  • account [ə´kaunt] 移动到这儿单词发声  vi.说明 vt.认为 n.帐目   (初中英语单词)
  • faithful [´feiθfəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.忠实的;可靠的   (初中英语单词)
  • contest [kən´test, ´kɔntest] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.争辩 n.争夺;竞赛   (初中英语单词)
  • acquaintance [ə´kweintəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.相识;熟人,相识的人   (初中英语单词)
  • welcome [´welkəm] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.受欢迎的;可喜的   (初中英语单词)
  • prospect [´prɔspekt, prəs´pekt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.景色;境界 v.勘察   (初中英语单词)
  • pursue [pə´sju:] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.追赶;追踪;从事   (初中英语单词)
  • payment [´peimənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.支付;报酬;报偿   (初中英语单词)
  • bargain [´bɑ:gin] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.买卖合同 v.议(价)   (初中英语单词)
  • favorable [´feivərəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.赞成的;顺利的   (初中英语单词)
  • voyage [´vɔi-idʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&vi.航海;航程;旅行   (初中英语单词)
  • unfortunate [ʌn´fɔ:tʃunit] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不幸的,运气差的   (初中英语单词)
  • destruction [di´strʌkʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.破坏,毁灭   (初中英语单词)
  • slavery [´sleivəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.奴隶制;奴役   (初中英语单词)
  • equally [´i:kwəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.相等地;平等地   (初中英语单词)
  • endure [in´djuə] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.忍耐,忍受;坚持   (初中英语单词)
  • fisherman [´fiʃəmən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.渔民,渔夫,打鱼人   (初中英语单词)
  • whenever [wen´evə] 移动到这儿单词发声  conj.&ad.无论何时   (初中英语单词)
  • profession [prə´feʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.职业;声明;表白   (初中英语单词)
  • alight [ə´lait] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.燃着的 vi.下;降落   (初中英语单词)
  • oblige [ə´blaidʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.责成;迫使;使感激   (初中英语单词)
  • nephew [´nevju:, ´nɛfju] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.侄子;外甥   (初中英语单词)
  • frenchman [´frentʃmən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.法国人   (初中英语单词)
  • release [ri´li:s] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt&n.释放;放松;赦免   (初中英语单词)
  • working [´wə:kiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.工人的;劳动的   (初中英语单词)
  • impress [im´pres, ´impres] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.铭刻 n.印记;特征   (初中英语单词)
  • captive [´kæptiv] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.俘虏;捕获物   (初中英语单词)
  • strangely [´streindʒli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.奇怪地;陌生地   (初中英语单词)
  • paradise [´pærədais] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.天堂;乐园   (初中英语单词)
  • conscience [´kɔnʃəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.良心;道德心   (初中英语单词)
  • concerning [kən´sə:niŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  prep.关于   (高中英语单词)
  • gospel [´gɔspəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.福音;信条;真理   (高中英语单词)
  • limited [´limitid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有限(制)的   (高中英语单词)
  • charity [´tʃæriti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.施舍;慈悲;博爱   (高中英语单词)
  • desolate [´desəleit] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.荒凉的;孤独的   (高中英语单词)
  • homely [´həumli] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.朴素的;不漂亮的   (高中英语单词)
  • thorough [´θʌrə] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.彻底的;详尽的   (高中英语单词)
  • fashionable [´fæʃənəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.流行的,时髦的   (高中英语单词)
  • patron [´peitrən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.庇护人,保护人;赞助人   (高中英语单词)
  • parish [´pæriʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.教区(的全体居民)   (高中英语单词)
  • mediterranean [,meditə´reiniən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.地中海 a.地中海的   (高中英语单词)
  • crowded [´kraudid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.充(拥)满了的   (高中英语单词)
  • plunder [´plʌndə] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.掠夺;盗窃   (高中英语单词)
  • gorgeous [´gɔ:dʒəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.华丽的;宜人的   (高中英语单词)
  • desperately [´despəritli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.绝望地;拼命地   (高中英语单词)
  • consul [´kɔnsəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.领事;执政官   (高中英语单词)
  • finding [´faindiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.发现物;判断;结果   (高中英语单词)
  • prolong [prə´lɔŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.延长;拉长;拖延   (高中英语单词)
  • needless [´ni:dləs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不必要的;无用的   (高中英语单词)
  • thoughtful [´θɔ:tfəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.深思的;体贴的   (高中英语单词)
  • remembrance [ri´membrəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.记忆(力);回忆   (高中英语单词)
  • wherefore [´weəfɔ:] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.为什么;因此   (英语四级单词)
  • deliverance [di´livərəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.援救;获释   (英语四级单词)
  • monotonous [mə´nɔtənəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.单(音)调的   (英语四级单词)
  • theological [θiə´lɔdʒikəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.神学(上)的   (英语四级单词)
  • nobleman [´nəublmən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.贵族   (英语四级单词)
  • delighted [di´laitid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.高兴的;喜欢的   (英语四级单词)
  • conscientious [,kɔnʃi´enʃəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.认真的;谨慎的   (英语四级单词)
  • theology [θi´ɔlədʒi] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.神学   (英语四级单词)
  • humility [hju:´militi] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.谦逊,谦让   (英语四级单词)
  • debtor [´detə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.债务人;借方   (英语四级单词)
  • stronghold [´strɔŋhəuld] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.要塞;根据地   (英语四级单词)
  • hopelessly [´həuplisli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.无希望地,绝望地   (英语四级单词)
  • reputation [repju´teiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.名誉;名声;信誉   (英语四级单词)
  • conversion [kən´və:ʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.转化;变换;皈依   (英语四级单词)
  • taking [´teikiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.迷人的 n.捕获物   (英语六级单词)
  • flatly [´flætli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.平淡地;断然地   (英语六级单词)
  • scoundrel [´skaundrəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&a.无赖(的)   (英语六级单词)
  • turkish [´tə:kiʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.&n.土耳其人(语)的   (英语六级单词)
  • backwards [´bækwədz] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.向后 a.向后的   (英语六级单词)
  • landing [´lændiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.登陆;降落;楼梯平台   (英语六级单词)
  • enthusiast [in´θju:ziæst] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.热衷者,渴慕者   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 17:59:49
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