The shocking extent of poverty Vincent discovered- spiritual and
material- was a disturbing revelation. It came at a time in his
life when he questioned his faith and his life’s direction. But
once Vincent committed to loving Jesus Christ and directing his
energies toward service to the poor, his questions faded and his
life’s path became clear. He saw Christ in the poor, and the poor
as the Body of Christ. He was convinced fulfillment could only come
by serving Jesus Christ in the poor. It was a vision that changed
his entire life.
However, Vincent realized he could not realize of sustain that
vision alone. He had a talent for organization, motivating, and
inspiring others, so he gathered people in parishes in
“Associations of Charity” to minister to the poor in their midst.
He persuaded wealthy families to fund projects for the poor and to
even join him in serving the poor.
Vincent established a religious community of men to serve the
Church as priests and brothers (the Congregation of the Mission); a
community of sisters to serve the poor (the Daughters of Charity),
and helped bishops in France to better prepare priests for service
to the Church. He even organized groups to provide relief for war
refugees and for famine victims in France. The title accorded him,
“Organizer Unafraid” told only part of the story of Vincent’s life.
His legacy came not just through intellect and action, but