Presenter Information

Douglas Slawson C.M.


Vincent de Paul discovered his vocation and that of the Congregation in several ways. These were fulfilling the Church’s needs, seeking evidence of God’s will in events, and obeying God’s will, either as mandated by superiors or by following inspiration that responded to events. Such inspiration was always carefully examined before being put into practice. These elements are traced through Vincent’s life and career. Through work with Pierre de Berulle, he saw the need for properly formed priests, especially for country parishes. His ministry on the Gondi estates, especially the mission at Folleville, further convinced him of the poor’s need for priests. When no one else would undertake rural missions, Vincent’s obedience compelled him to act on inspiration and to found the Congregation. As part of efforts to reform the clergy, the archbishop obliged the community to give retreats to ordinands. Again, Vincent was led by obedience. His seminary work was an inspiration in response to the same need for priests, but he only began after consulting Cardinal Richelieu.