Vincent de Paul Seen as a Page From the Gospel

Spiritual Family Marks Anniversaries of Founders’ Deaths

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ROME, SEPT. 27, 2010 ( The saint celebrated in today’s liturgy and his spiritual counterpart were «pages of the Gospel lived with intensity,» according to the retired prefect of the Vatican’s congregation for saints’ causes.

This was the description used Friday by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins when he spoke of St. Vincent de Paul and his principal collaborator, St. Louise de Marillac.

The cardinal was opening a three-day conference in Rome, which closed the jubilee celebrations marking the 350th anniversary of the deaths of St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660) and St. Louise de Marillac (1591-1660).

«They were two great teachers of charity because they were in the first place two great teachers of the spiritual life,» the cardinal reflected.

He pointed out that «charisms are a gift of the Holy Spirit granted to the Christian community so that it will have the courage to evangelize, teach and heal, but above all to witness and love.»

«In the 17th century, to respond to the hunger of God, the Holy Spirit brought to light St. Vincent and St. Louise, who committed themselves to the construction of a new society based on solidarity and charity,» Cardinal Saraiva Martins added. «They were able to involve everyone, the well-off and the poor, the king and queen, the great and the little ones.»

Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity, the first women’s congregation to live its consecration «in the world,» at the service of the poor and needy.

Cardinal Saraiva Martins spoke of the saints’ great love for the poor and their courageous response to «prophetic intuitions, living their commitment as a true and proper exigency of the faith.»

Addressing the spiritual family founded by the two saints, the cardinal affirmed: «The Church and the world need your work. […]

«Vincentian charity is not one of surrender but of endurance.»

Still needing love

On Saturday, Cardinal Franc Rodé, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, presided over a Mass in St. Peter’s for the conference participants.

The cardinal reflected that «the need for love is as insistent today as it was in the 17th century, if not greater.»

«To be a Vincentian means to follow Christ again, the evangelizer of the poor, and his mission; it means to be missionaries, ‘to inflame’ men’s hearts with a simple, humble, kind, mortified and caring lifestyle,» he said.

Cardinal Rodé proposed that «a Vincentian must have a plus of love and knowledge of the poor: the true Vincentian knows Christ, places him at the center, knows St. Vincent, St. Louise and all the Vincentian saints, and knows the poor.

«He allows himself to be evangelized and changed by them and acts and works for them,» the cardinal concluded. «A Vincentian is, in the first place, all God’s and at the service of all.»

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