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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Double Feast of Saint Vincent de Paul, Confessor and Religious Founder

Vitrail Florac 010609 10Image via WikipediaToday is not only Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time , but also the Feast of Saint Vincent de Paul ( not a common memorial or optional commemoration introduced by Pope Paul VI who divided feast days into "solemnities", "feasts" and "memorials", corresponding approximately to Pope John XXIII's I, II and III class feast days.While some of the memorials are considered obligatory, others are optional, permitting a choice on some days between two or three memorials, or between one or more memorials and the celebration of the feria )

Oremus. O God, Who didst strengthen blessed Saint Vincent de Paul with apostolic virtue to preach the Gospel to the poor, and to promote the dignity befitting the ecclesiastical order, grant, we beseech Thee, that we, who venerate his holy merits, may be instructed by the example of his virtues. Who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God .Forever and ever.Amen.

St. Vincent was born in 1576. In after-years, when adviser of the queen and oracle of the Church in France, he loved to recount how, in his youth, he had guarded his father’s pigs. Soon after his ordination he was captured by corsairs, and carried into Barbary. He converted his renegade master, and escaped with him to France. Appointed chaplain-general of the galleys of France, his tender charity brought hope into those prisons where hitherto despair had reigned.
A mother mourned her imprisoned son. Vincent put on his chains and took his place at the oar, and gave him to his mother.
His charity embraced the poor, young and old, provinces desolated by civil war, Christians enslaved by the infidel. The poor man, ignorant and degraded, was to him the image of Him Who became as “a leper and no man.” “Turn the medal,” he said, “and you then will see Jesus Christ.”
He went through the streets of Paris at night, seeking the children who were left there to die. Once robbers rushed upon him, thinking he carried a treasure, but when he opened his cloak, they recognized him and his burden, and fell at his feet.
Not only was St. Vincent the saviour of the poor, but also of the rich, for he taught them to do works of mercy. When the work for the foundlings was in danger of failing from want of funds, he assembled the ladies of the Association of Charity. He bade his most fervent daughters be present to give the spur to the others. Then he said, “Compassion and charity have made you adopt these little creatures as your children. You have been their mothers according to grace, when their own mothers abandoned them. Cease to be their mothers, that you may become their judges; their life and death are in your hands. I shall now take your votes: it is time to pronounce sentence” The tears of the assembly were his only answer, and the work was continued. The Society of St. Vincent, the Priests of the Mission, and 25,000 Sisters of Charity still comfort the afflicted with the charity of St. Vincent of Paul.

His body was found to be incorrupt and he joined an exclusive list of the holy incorruptibles. He was placed in a glass encased esophogus which is permanently on view in the church dedicated to his name in Paris. Visitors can mount the stairs behind the main altar to see upclose how well preserved God has kept this saintly man's features, a heavenly sign of approval for all St. Vincent de Paul did for God's adopted sons on earth. (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913)
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