Presenter Information

J. Patrick Murphy C.M., Ph.D.


This article explores the similarities between Vincent de Paul’s leadership and the kind Robert K. Greenleaf describes in his book, Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness. According to Greenleaf, people who follow a true servant leader become “healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous” and are likely to become servant leaders themselves. They also consider the effects of their actions on the least privileged. This is all true of the members of the communities that Vincent led, and he was particularly concerned that the poor would become self-supporting through his efforts. Greenleaf says that servant leaders constantly seek improvement, act out of inspiration, gain others’ trust, and listen before responding to problems. They are aware of their followers’ strengths and weaknesses and work with them to achieve great things. They have intuition and foresight. Examples of Vincent’s fulfillment of these and other criteria are provided.