About St. Vincent de Paul

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Vincent DePaul

St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660) founded the Congregation of the Mission which established St. John’s University in New York in 1870. He serves as a patron for those who yearn and work for solidarity within the human family and for that day when structures and systems will assure justice for the poor and will release all members of society from the dehumanizing effects of poverty and injustice. Because of Vincent’s total commitment to the Church and his extraordinary educational, formational and management abilities, his life also serves as a textbook for institutional ministry and community-building. His founding of the Daughters of Charity with St. Louise de Marillac serves as a model of effective, productive Church collaboration and solidarity with the poor.

Despite limited means of communication and highly stratified society, Vincent successfully brought together all levels of society and animated very successful models of collaboration across classes and interests to advance the holistic development of people. The blending of his analytical mind and compassionate spirit with his fertile imagination and creative visioning achieved astonishing results. Through a leadership style marked by investment in the capacities of others, Vincent effectively changed the face of 17th century France and the Church in ways that perdure. His example continues to challenge his progeny at St. John’s to access and relate the vast resources within the University community and beyond to advance both charity and justice.

Food for Thought

A Catholic university is called to become an evermore effective instrument of cultural progress for individuals as well as for society. Included among its research activities, therefore, will be a study of serious contemporary problems in areas such as the dignity of human life, the promotion of justice for all, the quality of personal and family life, the protection of nature, the search for peace and political stability, a more just sharing in the world’s resources and a new economic and political order that will better serve the human community at a national and international level.

Pope John Paul II,
Ex Corde Ecclesiae (32)