St Vincent de Paul was born in 1581 in France. He had 3 brothers and 2 sisters. Vincent was very good at studies, so his father sent him to a seminary. In 1597, he attended the University of Toulouse, which had a very bad environment. There were many fights in the school, but Vincent stayed calm. He was ordained on September 23, 1600, at age 19. This was against the laws of the Council of Trent which said that you had to be at least 24 years old to be ordained a priest. When he became a parish priest, his case was taken to the Court of Rome. Instead of filing a lawsuit, he resigned from his position as a priest. In 1605, he sailed from Marseilles to sell the property he owned from an inheritance, but his ship was attacked by pirates. They sold him as a slave to a fisherman, but Vincent could not keep up with his work because he had sea-sickness. So the fisherman sold him away to another master, who was an alchemist, physicist, and inventor. Vincent was amazed by his work and learned from him. His master was very famous and it gave attention to some men in Istanbul who wanted him to come there. As Vincent and his master were traveling to Istanbul, the master died, and Vincent was sold to another master. The third master was a former priest from France. He converted to Islam to gain his freedom from slavery and was living in the mountainside with his three wives. His second wife who was a Muslim went to Vincent and questioned him about the master’s faith. Vincent couldn’t lie, so he said that his master was a Christian, after he said that, his wife scolded him and left him. The master was deeply sad, and along with Vincent, took a boat to France. After returning to France, he went to Rome to continue his studies until 1609, when King Henry VI of France gave him a mission. In 1617, he joined with the Daughters of Charity to help the poor families in France, which soon became the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. Vincent conducted many retreats during his lifetime and died on September 27, 1660.
O St Vincent de Paul, help us to be brave during tough times like these like how you were brave when you were sold as a slave by the pirates. Help us also to stay calm so that we can pray better. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.
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