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Vincent De Paul
F. A. Forbes
"I ask of you only one word," said Vincent to the Ladies of Charity. "Will you go on with the work or no?"
Ten years before, the Ladies of Charity had begun taking in babies left homeless and helpless in the streets of Paris. They had started out with twelve little ones. A decade later, 4,000 children-mostly still unbaptized-had been christened, adopted and cared for, and the numbers were still increasing.
But now finances were stretched to the breaking point. The Thirty Years War was raging, there were many other needs, and it seemed impossible to care for the children any longer. However, knowing that their eternal destiny as well as their temporal welfare was at stake, Vincent's heart was about to break at the thought of abandoning these children. He stood pleading before the Ladies of Charity.
Such was the great Apostle of Charity, St. Vincent de Paul. His remarkable life would begin in a peasant's cottage and would involve being captured and enslaved in northern Africa, escaping back to France, having clashes with the Jansenist heretics, rescuing countless foundling children, having political adven-tures at court, and giving birth to two great religious orders-the Vincentians and the Sisters of Charity.
This is the story of the great Saint who put charity onto an organized basis and thus transformed not only Paris but the history of the Catholic Church.
Imprimatur: Edmund Canon Surmont, Vicar General of Westminster, 7/2/1919
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