Presenter Information

Carey J. Leonard C.M.


The real Vincent de Paul, versus the legendary one, was not known for several centuries because his communities restricted his writings to themselves. This article categorizes and critiques the major works on him. It begins with the four institutional biographies from before the twentieth century by Louis Abelly, Pierre Collet, Michel-Ulysse Maynard, and Louis-Victor-Emile Bougaud. Twentieth century works are then evaluated, starting with those of Pierre Coste. Historical studies of the Church and spirituality during and after Vincent’s time place him in social, political, and ecclesial context. Other efforts examine how his works and spirituality may be applied to contemporary social problems. Three authors, Henri Bremond, Jean Calvet, and Andre Dodin, approach Vincent from a historical-spiritual perspective; two, Igino Giordani and Jose-Maria Ibanez-Burgos, have a historical-social focus.