Life of St. Vincent de Paul, founder of the Congregation of the Mission and of the Sisters of Charity (03)

Francisco Javier Fernández ChentoVincent de Paul

Author: Pierre Collet, C.M. · Translator: A catholic clergyman. · Year of first publication: 1866.
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Book Third

Although Vincent of Paul has hitherto afforded us proofs of a virtue the most exact, and a charity the most extensive, we must acknowledge that his career, in his advanced, age, is yet much more brilliant. Let us forget then, if possible; every thing he did during more than forty years; we shall still find enough to place him on a level with those men of mercy, who did honor to the church in her most splendid days. Com­passion for the wretched and zeal for the salvation of sinners, will here, as elsewhere, constitute the primary trait in his character; but as the occasions will be more urgent than ever, we shall see him deserve in a more striking and distinguished manner the glorious name of Father of  the Afliicted, which his age attributed to him. The aid which he is about to fur­nish to the indigent and suffering, A not be confined to some families, or parishes, or to a particular class of poor; it will extend to vast provinces, and in these provinces irwill have for its object, persons consecrated to God as well as secu­lars; the nobles as well as the people. All these different conditions will come under the jurisdiction of his tender charity, because all will be found smitten by the hand of God, and reduced to the most humiliating necessity.

Lorraine and the duchy of Bar were the first theatres of his zeal. These two provinces, once so populous, so fertile, had, for the last thirteen years, for their sovereign Charles IV, a valiant, intrepid prince, eager for glory, strong enough to give uneasiness to his neighbors, too weak to contend against them, always ready to come to an accommodation, and still more so to break through his arrangements. A hero of this had every thing that is necessary to wicked princes for the desolation of their own (laminions; and he could scarcely count upon the protection of the God of armies, par­ticularly since, weary of his wife to whom he seemed to owe his crown, he had contracted a second and scandalous mar­riage with Beatrix de Cusance, princess of Cantecroix.

It was about the time that he was occupied with this crimi­nal design, that Lorraine became a theatre of horror. The Imperialists, the French, the Spaniards, the Swedes, and tb.e inhabitants of Lorraine themselves, laid it waste by turns, and sometimes all at the same time. The duke of ÿteymar, at the head of his troops, who were rendered furious by the diversity of religion, did the most damage. His soldiers acted in this unhappy country, almost like furious wolves, when falling upon a flock of sheep. There was no longer security for virtuous females, even in the seclusion of the monasteries; no travellers were found on the high roads; no flocks were seen ; no laborers in the fields; there was no rest for the man who slept beside another, through the fear of being murdered.

The greater part of the cities, towns, and villages were de­serted; others were reduced to ashes. Those of which the soldiery had not gained possession, suffered all the horrors of pestilence and famine. Their livid, ghastly, disfigured in­habitants found themselves hippy, when they could eat in peace the herbs and roots of the fields. Acorns and wild fruits were sold in the markets for the nourishment of men. The animals that died, the most infectious carrion, were sought for with an avidity approaching to madness. A mother made an agreement with another to eat her own child, provided her companion would grant the like favor. A man was hung at the gate of Nancy, who was convicted of having killed his own sister for a loaf of bread. All the horrors of the famines of Samaria and Jerusalem did not come up to what was seen there. We do not read that, during the siege of the holy city, the children devoured those from whom they had received life; these horrors were reserved fur Lorraine; and.I would not dare to relate them, if I had not before my eyes, cotempôrary authors, who have transmitted to us the ac­count of them. Hence the expression of Father Caussin the confessor of Louis XIII : ” Sola Lotharingia Jerosolyonam calamitale vincit.”

The cities which the king had taken, or which were already under his dominion, as Nancy, Bar, Toul, Pont-a-Mousson, and some others, breathed a little longer; but they shared, at last, the fate of the rest of the province, and at the time to which our history now refers, were, like the others, reduced to the last extremity.

It was very difficult to relieve them. Five armies which France was keeping at the same time, consumed a part of the aid, which charity, in a less stormy period, would have consecrated to the wants of the indigent. Every one com­plained, as they complain in public calamities. They were terrified at the present, and the future was not less dark.

Things were in this condition, when Vincent, animated with the spirit of the first priest of the old law, undertook to place himself between the living and the dead, arrest the flames which consumed the multitude, and raise the standard of charity in a country where mercy was unknown, and where the laws emitted a sound as dying as flume who had enacted them.

The servant of God rekindled, by the heat of his discourses, the spirit of compassion, so necessary, yet so rare in similar circumstances. He set in motion the pious ladies of his as­sembly. He had recourse to the duchess of Aiguillon, and even to the queen herself, although she had no reason to be contented with the country for which his solicitations were made. He always gave first the example of a holy and gene­rous liberality. He preferred, in some measure, to see those of his congregation suffer, than to behold any longer the misery of the poor of Jesus Christ. From the time of the siege cf Corbie, he had already retrenched something from their table; but at the time of the miseries of Lorraine, he reduced the community to brown bread. His children did not mur­mur, because he followed, more rigorously than any one else, the rule which he imposed on others.

The pains which he took were not without fruit. He found himself in a condition to save the life, and often the honor, of the inhabitants of twenty-five c,ties, and of an immense num­ber of towns and vil:ages, which were at the last extremity. He caused the sick, who were often lying in the public places, to be furnished with all the help, which they could expect from the most tender charity. He clothed many, not only those of the lowest order of the people, of every age and sex, hut also a number of young ladies of respectability, who were upon the point of perishing in more senses than one, of religious consecrated to God, who, more disfigured than those spoken of by Jeremiah, had hitherto announced use­lessly to all Europe their affliction and poverty.

As a wise economy in the distribution of alms, is one of the best means to spare those who bestow them, and make them useful to those who receive them, Vincént took measures of the most consummate prudence in the distribution of those with which he was entrusted. He sent twelve of his mis­sionaries, full of zeal and intelligence, into different parts of the country; he associated with them some brothers of his society, who were acquainted with medicine and surgery. He drew up for them long and wise regulations, by the ob­servance of which they could neither give offence to bishops, governors, or magistrates. He prescribed to them to consult the curates, and when there was none, as it often happened, the most remarkable persons in the place, in order to avoid being deceived, and to proportion the aid to the wants, the number, and the condition of the sufferers. Although the ladies of his assembly left absolutely to him the employment of the great sums which they placed in his hands, he never did any thing without taking their advice, and often the or­ders of the queen, in order that,he might follow in every thing the intention of the benefactors.

It was by pursuing this plan, that he was able to satisfy every body, and especially the poor, who are often intractable, almost always disposed to murmur, not thinking so much of the good done thém, as of’ that which they havh a right to exact. It is true that the holy ardor which he communi­cated to ‘he best families of Paris, sustained them in the efforts which they made, and which posterity will scarcely believe; but as the evil was almost universa-, and in the high­est conceivable degree, it was necessary, in a manner, to multiply, by attention and good order, the help, which, al­though considerable in itself, would have been very insufficient for the necessities to be relieved.

The city of Toul was the first which experienced the bounty of Vincent of Paul. His missionaries rendered there the most important services to a great number of sick, poor, re­ligious, and above all, to two French regiments which had suffered much in an encounter with the troops of Jean de Wert, near Gondreville.

But this was trifling, when compared to the succors he pro­cured for the inhabitants of Metz. That city was in much greater affliction than ‘roul. The crowds of poor who be sieged it, both inside and out, had something frightful. It was like an army of wretches of every age and sex, which amounted sometimes to four or five thousand persons. Every morning ten or twelve were found dead, without counting those who, being caught rambling, became the prey of the wild beasts; for furious wolves were one of the scourges with which God afflicted this miserable people. The towns and villages were infested with them; they entered them du­ring the night, by the breaches in the walls, and carried off every thing that could gratify their inappeasable hunger. It was but the expression of that of the inhabitants. La Riviere, the surgeon of Marshal de Fabert, wrote to him from the chateau of Variye, that they had just brought to him a pot in which were, half-cooked, the feet, hands, and head of a girl, which a widow had prepared for a meal for her children, who had eaten nothing for several days1.

Such was the situation of Metz and its environs; but this was only a portion of the misfortunes of that unhappy coun­try. The honor of the most chaste and virtuous persons was in danger. Famine, the mother of every excess, was upon the point of forcing several communites of religious women to leave their cloister, at a time when the strongest walls were but a feeble rampart against licentiousness. Every resource was closed up; but Vincent knew how to find resources in abundance. He dispatched, with all diligence, some of his priests, to bring consolation to the afflicted, to preserve the lives of some, the honor of others, and endeavor to save all. The face of things changed soon, and Metz began to breathe. The esehevins, and the thirteen magistrates of the city, moved by this tender charity, returned the most humble thanks to the holy. priest. But their letter, as well as those which he received at that time from the magistrates of all the other cities, was less to thank him for the past, than to solicit his aid for the future.

Great as was the desire of the servant of God to relieve at the same time every part of Lorraine, and the Barrois, it was impossible for him to do so. The first alms which he had sent to Toul and Metz ; those which he soon after sent to Nancy and Verdun, where his priests remained at least three years; these alms, I say, amounted to so much, that they ex­hausted, from the commencement, his house, which he al­ways taxed first, and those of a great number of pious ladies, to whom he had recourse when he wanted to relieve the poor. It was only at the end of the same year, 1639, that he was able to send some of his priests to Bar-le-Duc, and some months afterwards to Saint•Mihiel, and Pont-a-Mousson.

Those who were sent to Bar, found in that city about eight hundred poor, citizens and strangers. The latter were, fbr the most part, during the rigor of winter, lying upon the pavement in the streets, or before the doors of the churches. It was there that, overwhelmed with misery, consumed by hunger, and shivering with cold, they waited for, and received death, at almost every moment. In a few days two hundred and sixty of them, who were almost naked, were clothed. The hospital, by means of a regular monthly sum, was put in a condition to receive a greater number of sick. But as amongst these last, there were about eighty suffering much more than the others, our missionaries took them entirely under their care. Notwithstanding so much expense, the greatest was that incurred for receiving strangers, who, finding no resource, either in the country which was no longer cultivated, or in the cities which they were often forbidden to enter, were withdrawing into France in crowds. The mis­sionaries of Nancy directed them to those of Toni, the latter sent them to those of Bar; and in each of these places they gave them some money to continue their journey.

But, however great was the good of which we speak, the services rendered by the same priests in the order of sal­vation, were far superior. They taught the people to weep, not for their temporal misfortunes, but for their sins, which were the origin of them. Every one endeavored to recover the grace of God. But they all desired to be indebted for the life of their sou,, to those alone to whom they owed their cor­poral life. One of these labor;ous ministers heard at Bar, in the space of one month, upwards of eight hundred confes­sions, many of which were general ones; and he had the consolation to nourish with the bread of angels those very persons, to whom he had so often distributed terrestrial food. Nature was at length exhausted. The two priests, who la­bored at Bar, were attacked by a violent disorder. One of them, who was young, and never spared himself, was car­ried off by the force of the disease2. He was buried in the church of the college of the Jesuits. Father Roussel, who was then rector of that institution, was so struck with the in­vincible zeal of this worthy missionary, that he inserted the history of it in the Journal of his Rectorship.

Vincent had not been able, as yet, to do any thing for the city of Pont-a-Mousson. It was only towards the month of May, 1640, that his priests carried thither their first alms. However accustomed to the misery of Lorraine, they were terrifiedat that which this unfortunate district offered to their eyes. They found there four or five hundred poor, so hide­ously disfigured, that they resembled skeletons more than men. There were in addition, a hundred sick, fifty or sixty persons who, though reduced to the last extremity, were ashamed to beg, nuns placed in circumstances of extraordi­nary necessity, and some persons of quality, who felt doubly the weight of the most cruel indigence3. Hunger amounted to rage; and the procés verbal drawn up by the authority of the ordinary, makes mention of a child who, having ap­proached some young men of a more advanced age, was torn to pieces by them and devoured.

The missionaries followed, at Pont-a-Mousson, the same method as in the other cities of Lorraine; that is to say, to profit by the good sentiments which had been inspired into this afflicted people by the succors they had received, a mis, sion was begun. It was attended with all the success that could be expected in such a favorable conjuncture. But alms and instruction were not the only favors which Vincent pro­cured for the two duchies. As a great number of parishes were destitute of pastors, and children often died without hav­ing received baptism, the servant of God, whose charity was attentive to every thing, sent two priests there, who began immediately to visit the diocess of Tool, baptise all who had not participated in that benefit, and teach the most intelligent persons of each canton, the manner of administering this sa­crament to children who might be born afterwards, during their absence.

The accounts which our saint received from Saint-Mihiel, exhibited the same misery as in Pont-a-Mousson. The priest he had sent there, wrote to him that he had found in that small city such a quantity of poor, that he could not give to all; that there were more than a hundred whose skins were so dried up, that they could not be looked at without horror; that in general it was the most horrid spectacle that could be witnessed; that at the last distribution of bread, there were eleven hundred and thirty-two poor, without counting the sick, who were very numerous; that charity so well applied, moved even the rich, who wept through tenderness; that a Swiss, who was a Lutheran by profesion, had been so affected by it, that, after having abjured his heresy, he received the sacra­ments, and died in a very edifying manner. He added that the priests of the country, who lead an exemplary life, had neither bread nor other provisions, so that a curate of the neighborhood had been reduced, to support life, to follow the plough with some of his parishioners.

These letters, and several similar ones, induced Vincent to continue his aid to Saint-Mihiel; and although the very name of that city was hateful to France, because, some years be­fore, a cannon-shot from the ramparts, had broken the car­riage in which the king was, our saint acted with so much energy, both with the king, in inducing him to diminish the garrison, and with many charitable persons, that the place was always comprised in the distribution of alms which flowed into Lorraine. The number is surprising, but the reader would be much more surprised, were I to show, by entering into a detail, that they are but a part of the good done by our saint in that unfortunate country.

It was not, however, in their own country alone, that the natives of Lorraine experienced the charity of Vincent of Paul. A great number had proofs of it in Paris. The saint having been informed by some of his company, that there were in that province many young girls, even of high rank, who, being deprived of their relations, and of every other help, found themselves exposed to the insolence of officers and sol­diers, he caused one hundred and sixty of them to come to Paris, at various times; and one of his priests defrayed their expenses during their journey. A great number of young boys who were perishing, were also sent to Paris. Vincent shared immediately with Madame Le Gras, the care of this new colony. The pious widow received those of her sex into her house, and by degrees placed them in situations suited to their condition. The servant of God took care of the boys; he received and supported them, until such time as he could find employment for them.

It was not long necessary to invite the inhabitants of Lorraine to come to France. The hand of God continued to afflict that province to such a degree, that those of the people who were not under the dominion of the king, were seen leaving the province in caravans, escaping through the ar­mies of the enemy, and risking every thing to seek an asylum in Paris, or in the cities of the kingdom. A great number of these poor refugees came straight to St. Lazarus, where they were sure to find a man, with whom all nations were as one in Jesus Christ, and who, when the duties of charity were in question, took care of the stranger without prejudice to the citizen. It required a heart as vast as his, not to be wearied with such an endless concourse. But holy liberality was the basis of his disposition. He found the means to supply the wants of all; and as he perceived that many of them, for the want of priests, some being dead, and others having retired, had not, for a long time, approached the holy mysteries, he caused missions to be made for them for two successive years; in the parish of La Chapelle, a small village at the gate of Paris. The ecclesiastics of the province there distinguished themselves by their assiduity in labor, and the ladies of his assembly by their alms.

It was about the same time that the holy man took upon himself the charge of a community of Benedictine nuns, who were on the point of dying with hunger. They had come from Rembervilliers to Saint-Mihiel to make an establishment. This was now out of the question; the only point was to save their lives. The saint, who was informed of the pitiful situation in which they were placed, caused them to come to Paris; they were fourteen in number, and they were received with all the attention due to virgins consecrated to God. The Countess de Chateau-Vieux, and the Marchioness de Baune, who had for a long time desired the establishment of a mon­astery destined to repair by perpetual adoration the outrages offered to Jesus Christ in the holy eucharist, thought them calculated for that object, and they were consecrated to it by `Ann of Austria. It is to this day one of their first duties, and they fulfil it day and night, with great fervor and edifica­tion.

As the misfortunes of Lorraine still continued, and Charles IV, more eager for sieges and battles than attentive to the tranquillity of his people, seemed to have determined on his ruin, a number of persons of rank gathered what they could of the wreck of their fortune and came to Paris. But after having exhausted every thing there, the greater part of them found themselves reduced to want, which they felt the more severely, as they dared not make it known. An honorable person gave notice of it to the holy priest, and proposed to him to lend them some assistance. Vincent, who, for several years had laid his house and his best friends under contribu­tion, would naturally find himself more embarrassed by such a proposition; he, however, received it, not only with joy, but with gratitude: ” Oh! sir,” replied he, ” what a pleasure you afford me; yes, it is just to relieve these poor noblemen, to honor our Lord, who was most noble and most poor at the same time.”

In order to execute this new project, the saint resolved to form an association of noblemen, full of faith and feeling, who should consider it a happiness to render to persons of their rank, all the services which they would wish to receive in similar circumstances. He assembled seven or eight of this character, at the head of whom was the Baron de Renty. He spoke to them in so moving a manner, that it was deter­mined that all should tax themselves to relieve these afflicted noblemen. Vincent knew so well how to keep up their first fervor from month to month, that the work continued nearly twenty years. We may without hesitation rank this illustri­ous assembly amongst the great works promoted by our saint. It required the more courage in him, not to abandon Lorraine and its inhabitants, as at this very time the attention of the servant of God was called to other persons, who yielded nei­ther in birth nor necessity to the former.

England, destined, as it would seem, to be the theatre of the most surprising revolutions, had taken up arms against its king. Oliver Cromwell, to whom eloquence, intrepidity, dissimulation, a consummate hypocrisy, and the most vindic­tive disposition, afforded every qualification to be one of those cool and ferocious tyrants, who seem reserved for crimes of the first order; Cromwell, I say, under the pretext of re-es­tablishing the purity of the gospel, accustomed insensibly the people and the upper house of parliament, to abhor their lawful sovereign; and he was showing, at a distance and gradually, to the unfortunate Charles, the disgraceful scaf­fold, upon which, a few years afterwards, his very subjects were to cause him to be shamefully beheaded. It is easily supposed, that, during the course of such terrible commotions, the Catholics had every thing to fear from the rebels. This determined a considerable number of Scotch and English lords to retire into France, the ordinary asylum of all those persecuted for religion’s sake. It was resolved in the as­sembly, lately formed by Vincent among the French nobility, that they would do for the English noblemen, what had been done for those of Lorraine. Death, which carried off Mr. de Renty in the flower of his youth, rendered the continuation of this aid much more difficult; but it did not diminish it, and Vincent continued it during almost all the rest of his life.

Although the holy priest would have contributed to so many good works, only by his exhortations and the continual efforts he was obliged to make during so many years, nothing more would be required to make his memory dear to all those acquainted with true merit and perfect Christian charity. For who does not know how much it costs to beg incessantly, even when we do not beg for ourselves. But the servant of God did not confine himself to words. 441-le was always the first to give. I3e opened his heart and his purse ; so that, in order to finish the good work which was begun, he deprived himself of what was even necessary for his support” These are the very words of one of the first noblemen of that illus­trious assembly. But what would he not have said, had he known that the holy man had given the last cent that he possessed in the world; nay more, that he was compelled to borrow money for his own sustenance, and in order to relieve the wants of the poor. But he never stopped to calculate the enormous expense which he was obliged to incur. That which most grievously afflicted him during the continuance of a protracted and sanguinary war, was the blasphemy and licentiousness, the sacrileges, profanations, and unheard of cruelties so frequently committed, sometimes even against in­nocent persons who were exposed to suffer most; besides the complete ruin of a great number of families that were left destitute of every earthly comfort, and consequently exposed to all the temptations which privation and poverty bring in their train.

The reflections which he made upon all these evils deter­mined him to risk a step, the success of which was more than doubtful. He went to visit cardinal Richelieu, and after having represented to him with all possible delicacy the misery of the people, the injury offered to God, and all the disorders commonly consequent upon an envenomed war, he threw himself at his feet, and said to him, in a tone of voice expressive both of grief and charity:“Restore peace to the people,—have pity on us.” The minister answered him with much kindness, that he was seriously laboring for the pacifi­cation of Europe; but that it did not depend upon him alone, and that there were a great many persons both in the king­dom and out of it, whose concurrence was necessary to at­tain that object. Thus the distress continued more or less in Lorraine; and our saint, without arresting the course of his alms, found other means to send frequent supplies to Chateau-Salins, Dreuze, Marsal, Moyenvie, Remiremont, Epinal, Mircourt, Châtel-sur-Moselle, Stenai, and Rember­villiers.

It is difficult to make an exact calculation of all the money which St. Vincent distributed in Lorraine and le Barrois. The person who was entrusted with its conveyance made it amount to one million six hundred thousand livres of French money, a sum with which as much could be done then, as with three millions now, and which although very considerable in itself, was still more so, at a time when the distress was extreme, and when the wealthiest families found themselves embar­rassed. Yet this was only a part of what the holy priest did in favor of the two duchies: he sent thither, moreover, at different intervals, nearly fourteen thousand ells of cloths of different qualities, for the nobility, the citizens, the persons consecrated to God, and often whole families, who were in extreme want. If to this prodigious expense be added that which he incurred to procure linen and ornaments for the churches which had been stripped, to firing to Paris the young persons of whom we have spoken, maintain in that place those who came thither of their own accord until they could obtain situations, in fine, to support during several years so many respectable families which were in the most deplorable state, the very enemies of a saint, who should have only admirers, are agreed that what he did in favor of Lorraine amounts to a miracle; and that it is impossible not to perceive therein the operation of the most generous and persuasive charity.

I must not omit a circumstance here which was then, and must be still, regarded as a sensible proof of the protection of God. In this time of distress and carnage, travelling in Lor­raine was attended with great danger. Every place was full of soldiers, robbers and banditti, who overran the country, the most moderate of whom were those who were satisfied with plundering travellers. It was through the midst of so many dangers that a brother of the mission, charged by St. Vincent with the transportation of the alms, made as many as fifty-four trips without meeting with any accident. He never car­ried less than twenty thousand francs : he often carried ten or eleven thousand gold crowns, and on one occasion he had as many as fifty thousand livres. It is true that he was both cunning and intelligent; but he always experienced, so as to admit of no doubt, that the God of Vincent of Paul was with him, and that he kept him in all his ways.

Sometimes he would join a convoy of armed men, who were attacked, defeated, and taken prisoners; but still the bro­ther always found some means to escape the assailants. At other times going in company with some travellers, he would withdraw from them, for a moment, by a secret order of Divine Providence, and at that very moment they would be stripped and plundered by the robbers, who fortunately had not perceived him. He often passed through woods filled with disbanded soldiers: as soon as he would discover them, he would take care to hide either in some bush or even in the mud his purse which he always carried in a wallet like the beg­gars, then he would advance to meet them like a man who had nothing to fear. He would continue his journey with them for some time, and when they would have left the place free, he would return and take his money. One day when he had thirty-four thousand livres, he found himself attacked on a sudden by a man well mounted, who, pistol in hand, obliged him to advance before him, that he might plunder him in a private place. The brother, who watched him closely, seeing him turn aside his head, let fall his purse. Having gone about a hundred steps farther, he began to show marks of the most profound respect to the horseman, which marks being deeply imprinted upon the ploughed ground, might serve to guide him back to his treasure. In fact he found it again after he had undergone a rigorous search, in which he lost nothing but his knife, because •he had nothing else to lose.

As it became known by degrees throughout Lorraine that it was he who carried the alms, it became very difficult for him to conceal his movements. But God armed in his favor even those whom he had most to fear, or rendered harmless all the snares that were ]aid for him. A captain in ambuscade near Saint-Mihiel’s made him known, without any evil design, to his soldiers; but seeing that they were about to fall upon him, he cocked his pistol and declared in a resolute tone that he would blow out the brains of any one who “should be so mad,” to use his own words, as to injure a man who was doing soymuch good. Some Croets who knew that he was at Noméni, having in his possession a good deal of money, placed scouts in every direction that they might not miss him. On going out of the chateau, which by entreaties he succeeded in leaving by a concealed door, he took at break of day, a by­path, in which he did not meet a soul. The marauders be­lieved him to be still at Noméni, when he had already arrived at Pont-a-Mousson. They would scarcely give credit to those who assured them of his arrival in the latter city. They sVvore as ucua], but their imprecations only served to show that we are well taken care of, when we belong to God him­self. The people in fine were so well persuaded that there was something miraculous in it, that they thought themselves in security, when travelling with this good brother. The Countess of Montgomery, whom the passports of three sove­reigns had not been able to secure against pillage, and who, for fear of some new accident, could not resolve to go from Metz to Verdun, having learned that the brother had the same journey to perform, begged him to take a seat in her carriage, being persuaded, as she said, that his company would be a greater security than all the passports in the world. The event justified her confidence : she arrived at Verdun without meeting with either soldiers or robbers.

When he returned to Paris, the queen, who had heard of his dexterity, desired to see him. She listened several times, with great pleasure, to the recital of his stratagems, and to the ingenuity with which he varied them when the first became common. For his own part, he was well persuaded, and he frequently repeated this conviction, that such a visible protec­tion of God was but the effect of the faith and of the prayers of the holy man who had sent him. It was to those same prayers that those of his priests who distributed the alms, attributed more than once the multiplication of them in their hands,’and without which they could not conceive how, with sums which, when divided into twenty-five or thirty parts, became very moderate, they could relieve so many poor persons, and supply the wants of such a variety of necessities.

The embarrassment which the deplorable condition of Lorraine caused our saint, did not suspend the spiritual services which he had engaged himself to render to the poor country people. His priests, during the three first years in which that province required most attention, performed seventy missions. At the beginning of the year 1640, he sent a colo­ny of them to Annecy, where Mr. Juste Guérin, the blessed Mother de Chantal, and Messrs. Sillery and Cordon, both commanders of the order of Malta, had established them. This good work was one of the best that Mr. de Sillery performed on earth. His death corresponded with the beautiful and holy life which he led for several years. “He is gone to heaven,” said Vincent in one of his letters, ” like a mon­arch who goes to take possession of his kingdom, with a strength, a confidence, peace and meekness, which cannot be expressed.

The pious bishop of Geneva, who only thought of preserv­ing the great good which St, Francis of Sales had effected in his diocess, prudently judged that the best means of success was to labor in the formation of good ecclesiastics, whilst he would labor at the same time to sanctify the people also. He proposed to effect these two objects through the priests whom Vincent of Paul had sent him. As to what concerned the people this was attended with no difficulty; all that was wanted was to make good missions: they took place at An­necy and in the country parishes. But the establishment of a seminary for the education of holy priests required much more deliberation.

The difficulty was to know whether in the erection of this seminary they should follow the plan of the Council of Trent, by admitting only young boys who, preserved in a holy re­treat from the corruption of the world, should early imbibe the sweets of virtue and of. ecclesiastical science, or whether they should only receive young clergymen who, having already arrived at an age sufficiently mature to choose a state of life, would appear to afford more certain and nearer hopes. The reasons for and against, were carefully weighed, but the rea­sons against the former and for the latter prevailed on account of the circumstances of times and places. The bishops of France, after many trials, came to the same conclusions; and it is notorious that in all, or almost all the seminaries of the kingdom, they only received young men who had completed their course of philosophy, and frequently even had com­manded that of theology.

As soon as the servant of God saw the bishop of Geneva determined on the erection of a theological seminary, he reflected seriously on the means of making it a sacred and learned acad­emy. He believed that all could be trained up to solid piety, to that plenitude of the sacerdotal spirit, and to that science which embraces not only the dogma, but more particularly tnoral divinity. He wished that the conferences which were to be held twice a week upon the ecclesiastical virtues, should be moving and instructive; that without neglecting the chant and the ceremonies of religion, there should be a fixed time for teaching the manner of administering the sacraments, and of instructing the people, and teaching the catechism; that the ex­planations should be both clear and precise; that they should emhrace every thing which might contribute to the direction of the people, and that those metaphysical questions, which a half instructed pastor sometimes knows better than is re­quired, should he looked upon as of little consequence.

He was persuaded that the greatest genuises are not always those who succeed best in training youth, either because being puffed up with their own talents, they sometimes treat them with too much severity, or because they know not how to proportion their institutions to the capacities of their disciples. He feared above all things lest the director of a seminary should be persuaded that he had discharged every duty, when he had taught his class well. It is true that he looked upon science as essential, because an ignorant priest is a blind man who leads others into the precipice; but he gave the prefe­rence to piety. Hence he wished that all those who had charge of young ecclesiastics, should labor by their good ex­ample, by their continued watchfulness, and by a perfect de­tachment front the things of this world, to be duly imbued with the virtues of their state. But he thought at the same time, that to derive fruit from a seminary, it was necessary to pass a considerable time in it, and at least one year before re­ceiving holy orders; that a bishop ought not to dispense any one from it, not even those who have most virtue, because they support the weak, and when the rule is general, no one asks to be exempted. The virtuous bishop of Cahors, Alain de Solminihac, followed these two principles invariably, and Vincent proposed his example more than once to the prelates who consulted him.

Filled with these luminous maxims and many others which the saint communicated to them, his priests did considerable good, unostentatiously, and in every direction. The pious prelate of whom we have just spoken, that is to say, a man most reserved in bestowing praise, and who found nothing good but what was really so, wrote some years before his death to the servant of God, in these terms: ” You would be delighted to see my clergy,and you would bless God a thou­sand times, did you know the good which your children have done in ray seminary, and which is spread throughout the province.” Thus spoke also more than twenty-five years after the death of Vincent of Paul, Jean d’Arenthon d’Alex, one of the most worthy bishops that has succeeded St. Francis of Sales.” His commendation is inserted in his will. Wbat state is better calculated to banish every idea of false praise than that of a man who considers himself about to appear before God.

The occasion which presents itself to say a word of this great bishop, obliges me to relate a fact which does him much honor, and perhaps so much the more as Jean d’Arenthon was yet young, and had not even received the tonsure, when Vin­cent saw him for the first time. He conceived a great affection for him, begged him to come and see him, and often repeated these words : “God wishes to make use of you, and I assure you that you will be one day the successor of St. Francis of Sales. He repeated the same prediction to the Abbé de la Pérouse, a nephew of Mr. d’Arenthon. If he had before his death, the consolation to see that he was not mistaken about the episcopacy of the uncle, he now sees in heaven, as all the diocess has witnessed, that he was not deceived with re­gard to his virtues.

I shall not speak here, either of the services which Vin­cent rendered to the priests of Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois, and of whom, at the request of their venerable curate, he made a very edifying community, nor of the second visit which he paid to the Ursulines of Beauvais; but I cannot pass over in silence what happened between him and the blessed Mother de Chantal, the last time she came to Paris. She expected to see him, the year before, at Anneci, where the bishop desired him to regulate the affairs of the seminary. But the necessities of the foundlings, which already engaged his time, did not permit him to go thither. .Thus this interview, so much de­sired on both sides, did not take place until more than fifteen months afterwards. Madame de Chantal then made ample amends. The holy priest saw her several times at the mo­nastery in the street Saint Antoine. She asked his advice with regard to her own particular conduct and that of her order, and she acknowledged with great gratitude that the advice of that great servant of God had been of much service to her. These are the words of the Abbé Marsolier in his his­tory of the venerable mother.

The spiritual advantages with which God favored her through the assistance of our saint, were graces of preparation for her last sacrifice. Five weeks after her departure from Paris, she finished, by a most holy death, a life which she had passed in the exercises of christian and religious piety4. God revealed at the same time to his servant both the death and glory of Madame de Chantal, by a vision which has some­thing in it of the majesty ofi thoseof the ancient prophets. We shall give the faithful account of the event.

When Vincent had learned by public intelligence that Ma­dame de Chantal was at the point of death, he prostrated him­self to pray to God for her: and according to his custom, he began by an act of contrition. He had scarcely finished, when he perceived a small globe, as if of fire, which, rising from the earth, went to join, in the upper region of the air, another larger and more luminous globe. – These two globes, which after their junction made but one, rose still higher, and were lost in a third, which was infinitely more extensive and more brilliant than the others. Whilst the holÿ priest was occu­pied with this vision, an interior voice told him in a very dis­tinct manner, that the first globe was the soul of Madame de Chantal, the second that of the blessed bishop of Geneva, and the third the divine essence : and that these two great souls, after being re-united, were, in a manner, swallowed up in the immense bosom of the divinity.

Vincent learned some days afterwards that God had been pleased to take his servant. As particular revelations are still more suspected by truly wise persons than by those who have less knowledge, the holy man, without relying too much on what he had seen, followed the customary practice, and would pray for Madame de Chantal at the memento of the mass. The very moment he began to do so, he had the sanie vision as before. The sanie globes, the union of the first with the second, and of those two with the third, were presented to him, but accompanied by so vivid an impression and so per­fect a conviction of the eternal happiness of that holy woman, that from that time he could not think of her, without repre­senting her to himself as surrounded with the glory of the blessed souls. It was not, however, until after a conference with the archbishop of Paris and religious men well acquainted with the operations of God, that the holy priest made known this circumstance to some ladies of the Visitation, who, being overwhelmed at the loss which their whole order had sus­tained, stood in need of that consolation. A few days after, he drew up a relation of it, in which he renders to the sublime virtues of the illustrious deceased the justice due to them. As the church has solemnised this judgment by her own, it would he useless to say any thing more of it.

The happy death of the Mother induces us to say some­thing of the services which Vincent endeavored to render to the daughters. In the frequent visits which he paid them, after St. Francis of Sales had made him their superior, his great, his only rule was to bring all the sisters in general, and each one in particular, to look upon their vocation as a peculiar grace; to lead a life conformable to their institute, and to sus­tain themselves by the spirit of faith so much recommended in the new law; to have a singular esteem for their constitutions and even for the counsels contained in them. He removed from their houses every thing that might have introduced in them the spirit of the world. Neither the contempt which he had to undergo, nor the losses which he had to fear, could induce him to relax on this capital point. He always refused with holy and generous firmness the entrance in these monasteries to ladies of the highest rank, and even to princesses who asked it, either to satisfy their curiosity or through an ill-directed devotion. Sometimes he did more. The queen had appeared to desire that one of her ladies of honor might retire into one of the houses of the order. A priest of the court had made the first proposition ; Vincent used every effort to ward off the blow, and without failing in the respect which he had for that august princess, he prevailed on her to induce the lady to choose some other place for her retreat. It was be­cause this truly enlightened director feared lest the air of the world might enter into the cloister in the train of those (…)5 who are often so full of it, and the intercourse which (…)6 would have with them, partly through politeness, partly through necessity, might by degrees inspire persons  (…)7 for austere virtue, with those soft manners, those superfluous at­tentions, of which certain devout persons of the world do not always rid themselves.

He was Still more on his guard against those who had a taste for the errors of the times. It was by his orders that Mother Angelique l’Huillier, superior of the first monastery of Paris, refused a considerable sum, which a lady, who thought of retiring there, offered to her house, provided she had permission of speaking occasionaly with some jansenists at the grate. With the exception of these occasions, which required so much the more virtue as the saint always took upon himself all the odium of this apparently severe conduct, the ladies of the Visitation always found in him a most com­passionate father. In his reprimands, he spoke to them with so much mildness, that he removed every thing bitter from the correction. According to the testimony given by them after his death, “he had an extraordinary deference and respect for all sorts of persons. His care to speak well of every body was equal to that which he always took to despise himself and publish every where that he was a great sinner. His cha­rity redoubled towards the sick and afflicted; and he might with great truth say with St. Paul, that he made himself all to all to gain to Christ the strong and the weak. His for­bearance with regard to the infirmities of the neighbor had something prodigious; and although his presence inspired great respect, that respect opened the heart of those who had to speak with him. No person possessed more than he did, the talent of inspiring others with confidence; and the diffi­culty attached to the acknowledgment of the most humili­ating weaknesses vanished in discovering them to him; he bore them with kindness, he excused them as a tender mother excuses those of her child.”

One of the sisters whose capacity and talents were univer­sally esteemed, after having remarked that to avoid repetition, she preferred being silent, rather than speaking again of admi­rable things of which the whole earth was witness, adds that she was often struck with the depth of his mind, and that she scarcely ever left him without a deep impression of the lit­tleness of her own, which made known to her the immense disproportion between them. We shall hereafter see this judgment confirmed by that of an illustrious first president of the parliament of Paris.

It can easily be imagined that the ladies of the Visitation were much attached to their director. Yet they were, more than’once, in danger of losing him; at length he found him­self so enfeebled by age and labor, that he was no longer able to give them his services. Multiplied letters, pressing solici­tations, the interference of many persons of rank, were all useless. But the archbishop of Paris having intreated him to continue towards those ladies so worthy of his care, the ser­vices which he had rendered them so happily, the saint, for whom the voice of the prelates of the church was always the voice of God, was forced to obey. But in order that his ex­ample might not serve as an authority, he made a rule by which all his missionaries are prohibited from directing, or even visiting, religious females.

It was then against the law established by that wise supe­rior, that one of his most worthy successors8 accepted, about the end of the last century, the direction of the royal house of Saint-Cyr. But that establishment was presented by hands so respectable and so much respected throughout the world, that he could not well refuse it. Besides religious piety, the union of hearts, humility combined with elevated sentiments, the most attentive zeal Ibr the education of the nobility, who are to carry the odor of innocence into every portion of the kingdom; all these virtues which make of the house of Saint-Cyr a model capable of exciting emulation in the most regu­lar communities, demonstrate, that rules the mast prudently es­tablished may have exceptions, which God himself authorises.

It was in the following year, 1642, that the congregation had at last a permanent establishment at Rome. Urban VIII en­trusted those whom Vincent sent thither, with the care of giv­ing missions, foâming the aspirants to orders, and visiting the hospitals. The success was every where the same; and that rising colony produced others, which gave in Italy two con­siderable provinces to the children of Vincent of Paul.

God recompensed by these blessings, and many others, the charity of his servant, which was increasing every day ; for it was at that time, that, to honor the homil ations of Him who took the form of the last of men, he began, on Christmas day, to cause two old men, sometimes filthy, to eat at his side. They were served before him, and before all his com­munity. Vincent treated them with much respect; he never spoke to them with his head covered ; his successors have followed his example; and of twelve poor men taken from the neighborhood, two eat, in turn, every day, at the side of the general, and remind him by their presence, that he must be the father of the poor, like the one whose place he holds.

The saint had believed that this act of charity would be the last he should perform in quality of superior. Although his congregation had as yet but ten establishments, including those of Rome, still he convoked a general assembly. It was opened on the 15th of October, 1642, and several regulations were then drawn up, worthy of the wisdom of those who com­posed it. Each one calculated on returning home with the consolation which affectionate children experience in having seen the best of fathers, when Vincent, who had hitherto given no one cause of affliction, plunged them all into grief. This great servant of God, fully persuaded that there was no member in his community who was not better fitted to govern it than he, threw himself on his knees before his priests, and after having very humbly asked their pardon for the faults he had committed during his administration, he begged them, with a voice interrupted by sobs, to proceed to a new election for a superior. He then retired to afford them the liherty of a choice which he ratified in advance.

The deliberation soon terminated. Scarcely had they re­covered from the surprise which such an unforeseen action caused, when they sent deputies to the holy priest to inform him that the assembly was very far from accepting his re­signation, and they now conjured him to return and take his place. These deputies found him, at last, in a chapel, prostrate at the feet of the Son of God, where, with tears, he supplicated him to place at the head of his company, a man according to his own heart. In spite of every entreaty which they made use of, he protested that he was no longer supe­rior, and he conjured those gentlemen to substitute another in his place.

On receiving this reply, those who composed the assembly went forth in a body, and entreated him to sacrifice Iris incli­nation to the wants of his children. The humble Vincent told them every thing he thought calculated to change their determination ; they did the sanie thing on their part. As this contest, which had for its foundation the true virtue of both parties, was likely to continue, the assembly cried out, in concert: ” You wish that we should choose a superior?” Vincent, who thought himself successful, renewed his en­treaties. ” Well!” they replied, ” we elect yourself; and you may depend upon it, that so long as your life shall be preserved upon earth, we will have no other.” The saint made still further efforts; but seeing, at last, that they suc­ceeded no better than the first, he bowed his head and again took up the burtlten which God laid upon his shoulders. He earnestly begged of the assembly the aid of their prayers, as­suring them that it was the first act of obedience he required of them. The company promised never to forget him, when in the presence of God, and renewed, of their own accord, the promise of obedience which they had made to him.

His congregation, which for greater stability in doing good had jus( hound itself by a vow of perseverance, lost, a few months afte.wards their powerful protector in the person of d’Armand Jean Duplessis, cardinal, duke of Richelieu9. That minister, who had so often made Europe tremble, at length reached that awful moment when neither the splendor of the Roman purple, nor treaties, nor all the refinements of policy could avail him. It has been remarked several times in the course of this history, that he had always a great esteem for the virtue of our holy pries( and for his institute. He gave the spiritual care of the city which bears his name to the children of Vincent of Paul. He thought of placing, twenty of his priests there, when he received the blow which carried him off. Not long before, he had given our saint one thou­sand crowns, to supply the necessaries of a number of ecclesi­astics who had been educated in the seminary. He continued in the same sentiments until his death, and by a clause in his last will, he left considerable property to the house which he had established at Richelieu.

Louis XIII did not survive his minister six months. For nearly four years, this prince, who was engaged during al­most all his reign with heresy on one side, and Austria on the other, saw death advancing towards him gradually. But he was threatened, in a manner not to be mistaken, about the month of April. A slow fever and a marked decay made him feel that his last hour was near at hand. After having taken every possible step to remove troubles inseparable from a long minority, he thought of nothing but the affairs of his conscience.

As courtiers are but very weak and imperfect resources at such a moment, this religious prince caused St. Vincent of Paul to be called to Saint Germain-en-Laye, where the disease had attacked him. The servant of God, to inspire him with confidence, and at the same time to disclose to him his dan­ger of death, which human policy keeps as much as possible out of the sight and mind of the dying, said to him at once: ” Sire, with him that feareth the Lord, it shall go well in the latter end. Timerdi Donzieun bent erit in extremis.” This address did not surprise a king accustomed for a long time to store his mind with the most beautiful maxims of the Scrip­ture : he answered by finishing the verse : “et in die defunc­tionis suce beneclicetur. “

Vincent passed, this first time, about eight days at court. He was often in private with his majesty, who found in him the words of salvation, and always listened to him with par­ticular satisfaction. Two things appeared to occupy him most: the conversion of the Protestants, which had always been one of his principal objects, and the nomination to ec­clesiastical dignities, which, during life, is esteemed an honor, but which sometimes costs very dear at the moment of death. It was on this occasion that he exclaimed : ” Oh ! Mr. Vin­cent, if God restored me to health, I would not appoint a person to the episcopacy who had not passed three years with you.”

The saint, as well as all the court, admired the spirit of piety and resignation with which this great prince was filled. He beheld in his own body, nothing but a victim which was about to fall at the feet of the sovereign Master of kings; and it was to make himself worthy of acceptance, that, after being better for a very short interval, he sent new orders to Vincent to come to him. The saint scarcely ever lost sight of him during the last days of his life. He aided him frequently in raising his soul to God, in forming acts of contrition for his sins, of confidence in the mercy of the Lord, of submission to his holy will, and of all those virtues best calculated to pre­pare a soul for that last and awful moment upon which an eternity depends. If sometimes this prince looked upon death with dread, he soon afterwards considered it with the firmness of a truly Christian king; and when his physician told him that he had but very few moments to live: ” Well, my God!” he exclaimed without the least alteration, “I consent with all my Lean.” Soule minutes afterwards, he expired in the arms of our saint.

Vincent, who saw that the queen was not to be comforted by men, endeavored to procure for her the consolations of religion. He went to Paris the same day, in order to have prayers offered for their majesties. Besides a solemn high mass, each priest of the mission offered the divine sacrifice for the soul of the late king. But in praying for Louis XIII, they did not forget the queen, who was entering upon a re­gency attended with troubles unexampled in our annals.

As Vincent of Paul, during the first years of the reign of Louis XIV, occupied an elevated station at court, one which he by no means sought for;, as he had to share in the misfortunes of the new m nistry ; and as, in fine, his history is found connected with the principal events of that period, I cannot avoid giving a general idea of the conduct which Ann of Aus­tria thought necessary to pursue, when she took the reins of government.

That princess, who had not escaped her share of suffering under the administration of Cardinal Richelieu, was at first disposed to remove all those who could be looked upon as the creatures of that minister. Julius Mazarini, who, since the siege of Cazal, where he succeeded in arresting and charming, as it were, two armies about to engage in battle, had found means to insinuate himself into the good graces of Richelieu, looked upon himself as one of the first to be sacrificed. Mr. de Beringhen and Vincent of Paul prevented it, each in his own way : Beringhen by telling the queen that site could not do without Mazarin who was acquainted thoroughly with the state of affairs; and Vincent by the general principle of pardoning our enemies. The cardinal was therefore retained in his post: and that skilful, subtle, witty, and industrious man, made himself so necessary that he ob’ained no less au tbority under Louis XIV, than Richelieu had possessed under Louis XIII.

To this first step, the regent added another which mortified our saint very much. Ann of Austria, who was truly zealous and full of piety, formed a council, in which religious af­fairs were to be examined, as well as the good and bad qualities of those who had any pretensions to the dignities of the church. Mazarin, chancellor Séguier, Charton, the grand penitentiary of Paris, and Vincent of Paul formed this council. A favor­ite of that princess10 says that Vincent was the president.

This dignity which procured for him the empty homage of a crowd of persons who were panting for the good things of the sanctuary, filled his soul with horror and confusion. He made every effort to get rid of this office; but the queen knew his capacity and rare virtue too well to give her consent. He had recourse to God, when he found that he could not succeed with men. Divine Providence thus disposing of him so as to present him a spectacle both for men and angels, did not listen to his prayers. It was, in fact, during more than ten succes­sive years, in which he held this elevated station, that his virtue appeared in all its splendor. His humility triumphed over the fickle applause of the world ; his equanimity and patience were never exhausted amidst the shafts of envy, malice; and injustice which were hurled against him. His firmness in upholding the interests of God and of the church was superior to all the assaults of human respect. It was upon this great theatre that his inviolable fidelity in the ser­vice due to the king, his profound respect for.the bishops, his love for all orders of the church, his tender charity for all reli­gious and secular communities shone forth with new splendor. His own congregation was the only one which he forgot, al­though he had every opportunity to ask and obtain favors, as the queen entertained the greatest consideration for him; Car­dinal Mazarin loved him ever since the life time of Richelieu, and thus he might have asked and obtained many favors, which would have been considered as of much consequence; still he never for a moment thought of asking the least favor, either for himself or for his friends.

From the beginning, lie felt that, determined as he was to give his support only to true merit, he was going to raise a crowd of powerful enemies. But he would have counted all that as nothing, if he could have removed from the sanctuary those who were only culled to it by interest, cupidity, and am­bition. The misfortune was, and this thought filled his soul with sorrow, that he could not reasonably hope to succeed. Cardinal Mazarin who was now raised to the summit of power, for before the end of the year 1643 he was appointed prime minister, appeared to be influenced by maxims dia­metrically opposed to those of Vincent of Paul. Mazarin considered all those as the friends of God who were his own friends. Vincent judged of the tree by its fruit. He was guided in judging of the true qualifications required in a bishop by those which, in accordance with the apostle of the Gen­- tiles, are prescribed by the sacred canons; and although he did not doubt that a man of rank might, when possessed of virtue, be more useful to the church than another of humble station, still he was far from being persuaded that a man had all the necessary qualifications to govern the flock of Jesus Christ, merely because he was the son or the relative of some one, who had been distinguished for taking cities and gaining battles.

It was with this germ of opposition that these two men entered the ecclesiastical council. Vincent went thither in the same simple dress and manner, as when he went to in­struct the poor country people. He did not transgress the bounds of decency, and much less those of simplicity. Dis­tinctions gave him more pain than they afford pleasure to the martyrs of ambition. The prince of Condé wishing, at the commencement of these favors, to make him sit near him: ” Your highness,” he replied, “does me too much honor in admitting me to your presence; are you not aware that I am the son of a poor countryman.” “Good manners and a good life,” answered this great prince, “constitute a true nobleman.” He added that his merit was known and appreciated long be­fore the present day. Yet, in order that he might have an opportunity to form a more correct judgment of it, he caused the conversation to turn upon some controverted points of canon law. Vincent of Paul treated them with so much clearness and precision, that the prince gave him a kind of reprimand for the very contemptuous manner in which he had spoken of himself; and afterwards going into the queen’s apartment, he congratulated her on the choice she had made of a man so well calculated to assist her in carrying into effect her good designs.

In the first councils at which the holy man assisted, he ‘presented a plan of reform with regard to pensions, co-adju­torships, the age necessary for every sort of benefice, and tnose which had fallen into lapse, the abuse of which was carried as far as it could go. if this plan had been followed in all the otherarticles, as it was in the last, with which our saint alone wascharged, there is every reason to believe that all the orders of the Gallican church would have gradually recovered their ancient splendor. It is at least sure, as the illustrious Fénélon said in his letter to Clement XI, that there would not have been seen in the episcopacy some subjects who were not very edifying. But it was difficult for things to remain long on so good a footing. . The queen, who was too diffident of her own strength, soon believed that Mazarin was necessary to her; and the cardinal easily penetrated the dispositions of the princess. Hence the council of conscience subsisted in its integrity, only during the time that this minis­ter thought necessary to strengthen his new-bdrn authority; and that he might not find in Vincent of Paul a rigid censor, who might disapprove of his choice, he endeavored to make himself master of the principal nominations.

There was one in which our saint did himself eternal honor The court being out of Paris, Cardinal Mazarin wrote to Vin cent, that the queen, to acknowledge in the son the services.of the father, had just named Mr. — to a bishopric which had become vacant a few days before; and that her majesty desired him to give the necessary instructions to that ecclesiastic. This letter embarrassed the holy priest-very much. On one side, he had great respect for the orders of the queen and her first minister; on the other he knew that the ecclesiastic in question was not capable of filling a see which had been long neglected, and required an edifying, zealous, and resident pastor. As every way on the side of the court was closed, the brief of nomination having been expedited, and a revision of course precluded, Vincent adopted a plan, the idea of which could only originate with a saint devoured with zeal for the house of God. He went to the father of the clergyman. and without fearing to lose an old friend, he ventured to represent to him the eminent virtues required for the episcopacy, and how much his son was destitute of them ; but from these principles, already so alarming in themselves, he drew a still more alarming consequence, viz., that the father was obliged to send hack to the court the nomination he had received for his son, if he would not expose both himself and his son, and perhaps his whole family, to the indignation of Him who curses the pastors whom he lias not chosen.

A compliment so different from those which this gentleman nad begun to receive on the new dignity of his son, must have astonished him. Yet, as he was possessed of a fund of religion, and could not doubt that a remonstrance, so painful to nature, was the effect of the purest charity, he listened to the saint with attention. He even went so far as to thank him for his good advice, and promised to think very seriously of it. His pretended reflections resulted in nothing. But God soon spoke in a stronger voice than his servant had done; and death, which carried off the new prelate a short time after his consecration, left the father nothing but the deepest regret of having preferred in vain his own interest to the interest of God.

The zeal which the holy priest displayed to keep back from the sanctuary those who were not worthy to be admitted to it, or who would force an entrance by the arms of simony, ex­posed him to the blackest calumny. Efforts were made to destroy him in the mind of the queen, of the minister, and of all good people in the kingdom. One of ihoee’men, who are capable of any thing, dared to report through Paris, and even to a person of the first distinction, that he, who was appa­rently so great an enemy to simony, accommodated himself perfectly to it in practice ; and that a short time before, he had, for a library and a sum of money, procured a benefice for an ambitious man. This report was, at first, circulated covertly, and with all the precautions which accompany imposture; by degrees it became public enough. One of the friends of Vincent informed him of it. However accustomed the holy priest was to suffer, such an atrocious imputation moved him a little; and on the first impulse he commenced a letter in his justification. But he had scarcely written two lines, when he reproached himself with his sensibility, and animated by the spirit of St. Francis of Sales, who found himself dishon ored in a much more infamous manner, he said to himself: ” Miserable wretch ! what were you going to do? What ! you want to justify yourself, and you have just heard that a Christian, falsely accused at Tunis, passed three days in tor­ments, and died at last without a word of complaint! … and you wish to excuse yourself! No, it shall not be so.” At these words, he threw down the pen, and suffered the public to think freely whatever they pleased. God took his vindica­tion upon himself. Those who had been tempted to suspect his ‘virtue, soon abandoned their unjust prejudices; and the speedy death of the one who had outraged him so unworthily, was looked upon by many as a chastisement from that watchful hand, which, to discredit calumny, often strikes the calumniator.

In fact, the injustice was so much the more crying, as the disinterestedness of the holy priest was generally known. Without referring to his immense alms, which so often ex­hausted his purse, he proved, even at the time of which we speak, that, so far from abusing the credit which he had at court, to procure what did not belong to him, he would not even have entered, at that price, upon the possession of what was his own.

One of the principal magistrates of the kingdom, a man who was powerful and esteemed, gave himself a great deal of trouble to procure an abbey for his son, who was not wor­thy of it. Justly fearing that he would be opposed by Vin­cent of Paul, he made an effort to gain him over; and to obtain his object, he let him know that if he would not op­pose his views, the house of St. Lazarus would be put in possession of rights and property which had been alienated from it. The reply of the saint was brief, and comprised in these few words : ” I will never do any thing against God or my conscience for all the possessions of earth. The company will never perish through poverty : I rather fear that it will perish when it ceases to be poor.” If these words be pro­phetic, the congregation is still at a distance from its de­struction.

Notwithstanding the contradictions which the holy man met with, he did not exert himself less to be as useful as he could to all orders of the church. The bishops, whom he al­ways honored so much as to throw himself at their feet when he appeared before them, found in him a respectful and zealous protector at court. He was never tired of recommending them to the queen, the cardinal minister, and to such of the magis­trates as had the greatest authority. It was he who, by caus­ing Mr. Cupif to be appointed bishop of Dol, terminated a long and unpleasant dispute which he had with Mr. de Rieux, bishop of Léon. It was he also, who, to establish and con­solidate the true faith in a city which had long been the bul­wark of heresy, caused the bishopric of Maillezais to be transferred to La Rochelle. It was he who, in several inter­views with President Molé,endeavored to prevent appeals from producing, by the intrigues of bad priests, an effect at variance with the object for which they had been established. It was he who ventured to represent to virtuous bishops, that mildness, patience, even humiliation, were their proper arms; and that these should be exhausted, before recourse was had to excom­munication. It was he who, that there might be in the epis­copacy no one self-intruded, brought to a holy and perfect indifference, sometimes, an almoner of the king who grew weary of being forgotten ; at other times, a religious who, se­duced by an appearance of good, thought that a bishopric in partibus would enable him to continue the services he ren­dered to the church. In fine, it was he who, holding a secret council with the queen, after she had perceived that her min­ister was not scrupulous enough, gave so many good bishops to the church, that the celebrated Flechier did not doubt that the clergy of France owed to him their splendor and glory.

The services he rendered to the religious communities were no less important. His first historian assures us, and he has reason to do so, that of all those in France, there is not one which does not owe him much, either for the whole body, or for some of its members. Jean de Montenas, abbot of St. Ge­nevieve, and the regular canons of his congregation acknow­ledge with pleasure in their letter to Clement XI, that Car­dinal de la Rochefoucault, being commissioned by the holy see to reform them, found, in the execution of that important project, great assistance in the credit and counsels of Vincent of Paul. Henry de Briqueville de la Lucerne, after having written that Alain de Solminihac, one of his most worthy predecessors, never did any thing of’ consequence without having consulted the holy priest, adds that it was the latter who aided that virtuous prelate to re-establish the ancient dis­cipline in the monasteries of the diocess of Cahors, and who sustained him at Rome and in France in the reformation of the order of Chancelade, of which he was abbot and first superior. Henry de la Marche, abbot of Grand-Mont, con­fesses that Vincent rendered to all his community services which could not be forgotten without ingratitude. The abbot of Bonfay and Rangeval, of the order of Prémontré, acknow­ledge in concert, that the re establishment of discipline, which they desired to introduce into some of their houses, was so violently thwarted by enemies, that if the holy priest had not ’employed in their favor all his credit with the king, there is every probability that the excellent work could not have suc­ceeded. He supported with the same ardor the reforms which took place in the orders of St. Anthony and St. Bene­dict. I shall say also that he was the particular friend of Dom Grégoire Tarisse, first superior general of the congrega­tion of Saint-Maur; and that this perfect religious always honored him as a model of piety and virtue.

What Vincent did amongst religious communities of men, he did with still greater ardor to re-establish and preserve exact discipline in the monasteries of females, who stand in greater need of being supported against their own weak­ness. He always endeavored to procure for them abbesses and superiors who owed their vocation neither to flesh, nor blood, but to the will of God alums.

When the abbeys had the right of election, he vigorously opposed the intrigues of certain nuns, who, having no hope of obtaining the first place by that means, endeavored to reach it by the influence of their relations and the authority of the king. He acted in the same way with regard to those who, being elected for three years according to the custom of their community, solicited briefs of continuation, being persuaded that young females, who are naturally less firm in good, may forget themselves more easily in great charges, when they are to be continued in them for life. Whenever there was a va­cancy in the abbeys of which the king had the nomination, he was inflexible in placing in them only ladies of known capa­city and constant regularity. He removed from the govern­ment of a monastery, a niece whose aunt had made it a plea­sure house for her family, where she was sumptuosty en­tertained at the expense of what was necessary for the reli­gious. It is true that on that occasion he underwent a deluge of insulting words, and more insulting threats : but instead of complaining to the queen, who would have avenged him in a striking manner, he loaded the one who had treated him so badly with politeness, and redoubled his prayers for her.

He never admitted coadjutorships, which were only founded upon human tenderness, and by means of which a religious possessed of little virtue and zeal, often succeeded another who had very little more. In resignations, he paid much less attention to the certificates, often obtained by solicitation, of capacity and piety, than to the information which he secretly obtained concerning the merit and virtue of the persons, in whose favor the resignation took place.

One of his principal cares was to banish all troubles and divisions from the monasteries of females, those fatal flames which, as an apostle says, often spring from a small spark. He re-established tranquillity and discipline in the abbey of Estiwal, by sending thither, under the order of the queen, four religious of Val-de Grace. He did the same thing in the abbey of La Perrine, by means of Mother Louise Eugénie de Fontaine, who, with the meekness and unction of St. Francis of Sales, restored peace and harmony in it.

But nothing appeared more essential to him than to re­move from the cloister every thing that bore the impress of novelty. Before there were any question about jansenism, he stifled an error somewhat resembling that of the fanatics, who, at the end of the preceding century, had made so much noise in Spain. Some fanatics had found out new means of salva­tion, which antiquity never knew, and by which they flattered themselves with reaching the most stiblime perfection. In their opinion St. Paul himself had never walked in the great roads which exalt and edify the soul. St. Paul had not pene­trated the mysteries of devotion and spirituality. They alone had been chosen by God to give lessons upon this matter, and even to reform the church. These enthusiasts, whom Louis XIII thought had been dispersed, took advantage, particu­larly in the diocesses of Paris and Bazas, of the commotions which disturbed the minority of Louis XIV. The monas­teries of nuns, as usual, were the first conquests these inno­vators attempted. They thus surprised a gnod number of persons of every sex and condition. Happily the evil had not yet struck very deep roots when the servant of God was in­formed of it. He sent to the infected communities learned and virtuous persons who showed the danger of these false maxims. They also watched so closely and claimed so power­fully those who were suspected of dogmatising, that they hastened-to return to their primitive obscurity.

As it is impossible tu enter into a detail of the other services which Vincent of Paul rendered to the church and to the state during the regency of Ann of Austria, we shall only remark that he undertook every kind of good nvork of which an ac­tive and watchful zeal is capable.’ It was he who, to exter­minate blasphemy and to abolish the horrid practice of duel­ling, promoted the publication of those excellent edicts, by which Louis XIV commenced his reign. It was-he who caused measures to be taken against that licentiousness, in which men void of faith and virtue indulged, by publishing aml spreading about dangerous or rather nefarious works, which the demon of libertinism and impiety alone could sug gest. It was he who, being unable to abolish comedies, caused at least those indecent scenes, which render plays doubly dangerous, to be suppressed. In fine it was he who, knowing that the prisoners of state confined in the Bastile had no one to teach them how sanctify their sufferings, induced the queen to appoint a fervent ecclesiastic cf his conference to give them pious exhortations; and by disposing them to be reconciled with God, to dispose them also for the favor of the king.

That which was most admirable in the ministry of St. Vin­cent, was his exercising it at all times with a nobleness, a disinterestedness, a wisdom of which few examples are found. His houses were almost all poor enough, and most of them very much burdened by the law they had prescribed to them­selves to labor gratuitously in their principal functions. As lie had been commissioned to distribute a great number of benefices, he would easily have found the means of uniting some of them to his congregation : of this he would never think. More than once persons attempted to corrupt his virtue by the allurement of money, which is generally so powerful. Without repeating the story of that magistrate who desired in a manner to purchase his silence, one of his most intimate friends offered him ten thousand francs, to in­duce him to cause some propositions in which there was noth­ing injurious to the people, to be proposed and admitted in the counsel of the king. But besides that the holy priest did not think that he could sell the credit which he had at court, he observed to his friends that the system to which he was solici­ted to lend his aid, might injure the interests of the clergy; so that raising his eyes to heaven, he made no other answer than this : “God preserve me from it: I would rather die than say a single word on the subject.” Far from profiting in his own favor by the power which his employment gave him at the court and in all the kingdom, he always exerted himself to cause the favors which the queen intended for him, to fall upon others. She had so marked a respect for him, that, by the acknowledgment of all the courtiers, there was nothing that he might not look for from the good will of that princess. It was even said, and the report was spread abroad, that she wished to ask the honor of the Roman purple for him. But the manner in which he received those of his friends, who has­tened to congratulate hint ahout it, dispensed others with pay­ing him the same compliment. A man so perfectly dead to himself, was still more so to all earthly grandeur. To live and not to be humbled, was a martyrdom for him.

To perfect disinterestedness, the saint added consummate prudence and wisdom. Born an enemy to precipitation, which, in the opinion of Titus Livius, engages men in the most erroneous steps, he never decided on any thing without having reflected. on it maturely: he attentively weighed all the reasons for and against, he examined the circumstances, he foresaw the consequences. But when he had once made up his mind, he was as prompt in the execution of his plattls, as hehad been circumspect in the examination; and then, whether it succeeded or not, he remained io peace; being well assured, with an ancient father, that wisdom does not judge of things by their success, and that God sometimes in­spires designs of which he wishes us to make a sacrifice to him.

With regard to secrecy, the neglect of which destroys every day the best concerted projects, Vincent was invulnerable. When he returned from court, he was so strict in the obser­vance of silence with regard to state affairs, that one would have thought he was returning from the cell of a carthusian. But it was not so much the nature of the important affairs transacted in the cabinet of kiogs, as his own virtue that made him so circumspect. A man who had been for a long time inviolably faithful to the great number of persons who came front every direction to lay themselves open to him, was very far from revealing secret., which, according to the advice of the Holy Ghost, should he concealed in the heart, never to escape thence.

We cannot too often repeat that all these great qualities of the holy priest, arose from one principle, his attachment to the rules of the gospel. It was from that source that he drew all his light; and, notwithstanding the prejudices of human policy, we must acknowledge that it is there alone that we can learn how to reconcile what was then seen in our saint; a favorable access to the sovereign, and a perfect disengagement • from all wordly interests; great activity in external affairs and a most intimate union with God; opportunities, as easy as frequent, of making friends at the expense of good rules, and an uprightness of heart which nothing could alter; a con­tinual intercourse with all kinds of persons, good or evil in­tentioned, and an equanimity of mind always constant, always uniform : in fine, an understanding capable of answering all that his prince could desire, and a heart as deeply penetrated with his own nothingness, as it was full of piety and love fur God.

It was to spread ahroad this divine love more and more, that he sent, this very year 1643, many of his priests into different cities of the kingdom. Three of them began to form the seminary of Cahors under the auspices of Mr. de Solmi­nihec. Others spread themselves through different diocesses, to give missions. The most important was made at Mar­seilles on the first seven galleys. The duchess of Aiguillon, who had solicited it, was so moved by the account which the pious bishop, Jean Baptiste Gault, gave her of it, that, in order to perpetuate the good work, she established four mis­sionaries in that city.

To this establishment was added that of Sedan. The Duke of Bouillon, who had entered into the conspiracy of Cinq-Mars, had no sooner restored that place to Louis XIII, than this religious monarch caused missions to be made there, to strengthen the Catholics whom a constant intercourse with the self-styled reformed had exposed to the danger of losing their faith. After the death of that prince, Vincent, at the solicitation of the queen, sent six priests there, who were placed in possession of the parish by Eléonor d’Estampes, archbishop of Reims. Their chief “was Mr. Gallet, a learned man, of acknowledged probity, disinterested, religious without superstition, extremely careful to say and do nothing which might bring upon himself exterior distinction, always a model and never a spectacle in the missions. He began the great work of the conversion of the people of Sedan by study­ing their character, in order to accustom himself to their ways, and accommodate himself in some measure to their dis­positions.” This is the account of him given by Marshal Fabert to our saint, in his very words. He added that the method of the priests of the mission and their ability gained many Calvinists to the church, and nothing is more certain. When these gentlemen arrived at Sedan, there were but fifteen hundred Catholics. The face of things altered by degrees through their care, and that of other communities which were established there at the solicitation of the servant of God. Of more than ten thousand inhabitants that are in that city, not one-third persevere now in heresy; and that not in consequence surely of the talents by which they are upheld in it.

It was also in this year, 1644, that François Mallier, bishop of Troyes, established the missionaries in the little city of Montmirel, at the invitation of Pierre de Gondi, Duke of Retz. The inhabitants of the place and neighborhood saw with plea­sure the children of our saint in a country, where they had so often admired his own virtue and apostolical zeal. Time which effaces every thing, has not yet diminished their first sentiments of respect and veneration. Fathers have trans­mitted them to their children; and the striking miracle which God worked there some years ago through the intercession of his servant, is a proof that if Montmirel continues to pay a just homage to the memory of the saint, the saint continues to cherish and protect Montmirel.

If Vincent felt great satisfaction in seeing that his priests were in a situation to be useful to the church in a number of diocesses, he felt more so on finding that they multiplied without losing any thing of their primitive spirit. “Never,” says he in one of his letters, ” have more regularity, more union and cordiality prevailed than at present. But, adds he, a great calm is always the forerunner of some storm.”

His prognostic was found correct, and the congregation saw itself on the point of experiencing in the death of its holy institutor, the greatest loss it could sustain. His domestic and exterior occupations; the great pain he felt in being placed in the royal council; the continual embarrass­ment caused him by this employment which was always a martyrdom for him; the want of rest for a man advanced in age, and who rising exactly at four o’clock every morning, went sometimes to bed at midnight; so much fatigue ex­hausted nature at last. His sickness caused alarm at the commencement. The holy priest, to dispose himself for death which he believed to be near, received communion every day. The love of God engrossed his whole heart; and in a delirium which lasted for some time, they remarked nothing in him, as formerly in St. Francis Xavier, except emotions full of ardor, tender sighs for heaven, inflamed de­sires of soon seeing the dissolution of this house of clay, which impedes the union of the soul with its adorable principle.

The news of his illness being circulated, all his friends, and particularly Father J. B. de Saint-Jure, were much alarmed at it; but no one felt it more deeply than a young priest who was then sick himself. As soon as he heard that the respec­table superior was in danger of death, he begged God to ac­cept his life in exchange for that of a man, who was more than ever necessary to the church, the state, and his own congregation. Vincent began from that time to grow better, and the priest to sink so visibly that he died a short time afterwards. The saint recited the office of the dead for him with one of his clergy, before any one had apprized him of his death. This is not the only time that he was acquainted with things, which he could know only by a light from above. ” He predicted to me,” said a celebrated advocate in the par­liament of Paris (Mr. Husson), secret and hidden things which did not happen until two years afterwards, and which he could not then foresee but by a particular illustration, or rather by a spirit of prophecy.”

As soon as the holy priest was a little recovered, he re­commenced his exercises and labors with as much fervor and assiduity, as if they had not brought him to death’s door. After having performed the obsequies of the virtuous Cardi­nal de la Rochefoucault, who, like Louis XIII, died in his arms11, he went to Richelieu, where he was occupied from morning till night. By order of the queen, he commenced a mission at Fontainebleau. He sent new colonies to Saintes and Mans. He was even on the point of sending one to Babylon, when the death of Urban VIII, who had directed him to do it, defeated his design. He formed one which was more successful, to procure for the slaves of Barbary that aid which was wanting to him in the time of his captivity. Julien Guerin, born in the diocess of Bayeux, a man who, before his association with Vincent of Paul, had known how to sanctify himself in the profession of arms, was the person to whom he gave the department of Tunis.

It would have been difficult to make a better choice. Mr. Guerin united to an unction calculated to soften the most hardened heart, a zeal which might be compared to that of the greatest apostles. The bishop of Saintes, in whose diocess he had labored, openly declared that he knew no person in the world, in whom the divine operation was more manifest, and who had a greater grace for exhibiting to advantage the truths of the gospel. Although it is said of him, as of the ‘holy Precursor, that he lived without eating or drinking, he labored so continually and with so much ardor, that it required a kind of miracle to preserve his life. He had always desired to die amongst the captives and barbarians. The idea alone that he should have it in his power to be so happy as to endure for one day what the martyrs suffered, transported him with joy. Some one having told him on the eve of his departure, that “he was going to get himself hanged in Barbary :” ” this is too little,” replied he in a transport of love for Jesus Christ, ” I earnestly hope that God will grant me the favor to be im­paled or to suffer something worse.”

He persevered in these heroic sentiments at Tunis : the apostolical man produced by his invincible patience pro­digious fruits, of which we shall speak elsewhere. If God did not grant him the crown of martyrdom, he honored him at least with that which is due to the most eminent charity. He had not been yet four years in Barbary, when, on account of his assiduous intercourse with the slaves afflicted with the plague, he was attacked himself’, and terminated a holy life by a death precious in the sight of the Lord. Happily for the Christians of Africa, he had, the preceding year, obtained per­mission from the Bey, to bring another priest from France to aid him in reaping a harvest which was too abundant for one man : and Vincent who thought nothing too much when the relief of the poor was in question, had directly sent him Jean le Vacher, a priest of the diocess of Paris. It is this incomparable man who, after having labored more than thirty-three years for the salvation of the slaves, and even of the Turks of Algiers and Tunis, had finally the happiness to be the first of the children of Vincent of Paul, to shed his blood for the faith of Jesus Christ in that infidel and barba­rous country.

The servant of God did not neglect in France those duties of charity, which his priests so generously performed in foreign lands. He gave, that very year, all possible help to a great numher of sacred ministers, whom the persecution of the pitiless Cromwell had obliged to leave their country. He procured support and lodging, at little expense, for a crowd of priests, who degraded themselves by the indecent manner in which they sought alms, and by a necessary consequence degraded the priesthood of the Son of God. IIe boldly defended his old friend Mr. Osier, and after having sus­tained him in a popular commotion, in which that worthy pastor came near being burned alive in his own house, he bore, on his own account, at court, reproaches which neither of them had merited.

But there are few things which caused him more pains than the establishment of his priests in the diocess of Saint-Malo. Achilles de Harlai de Sancy, who was bishop of it, had obtained some of them by earnest entreaty, and put in the monastery of Saint Meen, of which he was superior and abbot. They had scarcely occupied it, when a decree of the parliament of Brittany obliged them to leave it. Vincent, who had written some months before to one of his priests, ” that it was much better to lose than to go to law,” wanted immediately to withdraw his missionaries, of whom he had need elsewhere. But the bishop strongly opposed it. He represented to him that he had done nothing but in conse­quence of the letters patent of the king, that there were only two aged monks in that house, whose consent he had obtained, and that they were neither reformed nor willing to be so; that the abbey which had been constantly subject to the jurisdic­tion of his predecessors and of himself belonged to no congre­gation; and that being independent of every other body, it had never received any visits, except from the bishop. Vin­cent permitted bis priests to remain with him, with order to obey him; but he took great care not to enter into their suit, nor did he ever engage in it, either personally or by any of those connected with him. It would be useless and disagree­able to repeat that the bishop of Saint Malo had recourse to censures; that the parliament of Rennes opposed new decrees to them ; that these were annulled by the council of state of the king; that it was necessary to obtain a new bull from the Holy See; and that in the informations which preceded its publication, the clergy, nobility, even the judges of the neigh­borhood, rendered to the children of Vincent of Paul, who by their zeal and labors had already sanctified four diocesses, the most glorious testimony they could receive. But it will not be useless to add that if the affair of Saint Meen caused passing difference in the minds of those concerned, it did not alter that charity which ought to unite hearts; that at the very time of the crisis, Vincent employed, as he had hitherto done, all his credit in favor of the reform; that Dom Grégoire Tarisse loudly proclaimed the merits of the holy priest; that it was in some measure to follow his views, that his pious and learned congregation was one of the first to ask of the holy See to render justice to his virtues, and that, some time after, the children of St. Benedict consecrated the memory of his virtues in a monument which virtue alone can erect to virtue.

But the servant of God erected for himself more durable ones than those made of marble and bronze. As each year of his life furnished a great number of events precious in the eyes of religion, we can do no more than merely point them out. It was at this very time that, having heard that one of his benefactors had lost his fortune, he wished to return what he had received from him, as he had already done to the curate of Vernon. It was also at the same time that seve­ral ladies of rank having offered him sixty thousand livres to build a church, he constantly refused the gift and begged them to distribute the sum amongst the poor, who were beginning to suffer. In fine, it was at this time that, in spite of the enormous expense which it would have been necessary to incur, he was on the point of sending some of his priests to Salé and to Persia, and that, as he often repeated, with a view to indemnify the church for the losses which it had sus­tained within two centuries, and those which the growing irreligion of the day made him consider as inevitable.

But he soon undertook in Ireland what he could not effect in the East. Innocent X having made known to him that the Catholics of that kingdom, almost destitute of pastors, lived in profound and dangerous ignorance of the truths of faith, Vincent chose in his congregation eight laborers capable of making every effort for the sanctification of their brethren. Five of these virtuous priests having been brought up in the islands of Great Britain, were perfectly acquainted with their manners and language: the others, with a little labor, could make themselves understood by the people. All, before their departure, threw themselves at the feet of the saint, and asked his blessing. Vincent prayed the God of mercy to be pleased to bless them himself. “Be united,” said he to them, “and the Lord will bless you. But be united by the charity of Jesus Christ. Every union which is not cemented by the blood of this divine Saviour, cannot subsist. God calls you to labor in his vineyard, go to it; but go to it, as having but one heart and one intention in him, and by this means you will bring forth fruit.”

He afterwards directed them, how to act during the voyage, and when they should have arrived at the place of their des­tination. He did it with so much prudence, that on their return they acknowledged that the salutary counsels of that judicious superior had been for them a source of benediction. France, which they were about to leave, gathered the first fruits of their zeal. During the stay which they were obliged to make at Nantz, they instructed the poor, served and consoled the sick in the hospitals. • They learned in the spiritual conferences which they had with the ladies of cha­rity of the parishes, the manner of visiting and assisting the sick in that spirit of compassion and tenderness, of which a God-Man has left us the example.

At Saint-Nazaire, whilst waiting for the day of their de,- parture, they gave a kind of mission to all the passengers who wished to profit by it. An English gentleman who had the curiosity to listen to them, could not resist the Holy Ghost who spoke by their mouth. His eyes were opened : he re­turned to the church, from which his fathers had so unhap­pily separated. It was very evident that God had designs of salvation with regard to him. Three days afterwards, I know not by what accident, he was mortally wounded. It was then that he felt all the value of the grace which God had just granted him. His mouth could not his gratitude. He made all shed tears who were witnesses of those which he poured forth for his former errors.

Our missionaries at length departed; and, before arriving at Limerick, they experienced such violent tempests and dan­gers that they were more than once snatched, as if by miracle, from the very- jaws of death. We shall speak elsewhere of the great but arduous victories which they gained over the enemy of salvation.

Whilst they were so usefully occupied in Ireland, an occa­sion preseoted itself to the holy priest, to be associated in France in a portion of their labors. Ann of Austria having taken the king into Picardy to revive the spirit of his troops, who had been intimidated by various defeats, Vincent of Paul profited by the absence of their majesties to resume his apostolical labors in the country. He gave a mission at Moni, in the diocess of Beauvais; and at the entreaty of the’ princess of Conti, he there established the confraternity of charity, which is still considered one of the most flourishing in the kingdom. Great as was his inclination for this kind of employment, he could not continue it long. So many people stood in need of him in Paris, that his absence was soon felt.

His counsels and protection were at that time much re­quired by the community of the daughters of Providence, of which he was-superior. It was only four years since it had been established by Marie de Lumague, the widow of Fran­cois Pollalion, counsellor of the king and his agent at Ragusa. That pious lady, brought up a long time in the school of the saint, had there learned to practise the most solid virtues of christianity, and particularly confidence in God and zeal for the sanctification of souls. It was with these happy dis­positions that, although she had scarcely any funds save those of Providence, she undertook to afford an asylum to young persons of her own sex, for whom beauty, want, and the had example of their parents might be, and too often are, the oc­casions of their loss before God and man. Frangois de Gondy, archbishop of Paris, wished to know what our saint thought of this establishment, before approving it. By his order, Vincent paid two regular visits to it ; and out of thirty young women who then composed it, he chose seven who appeared to him best calculated to serve as a foundation to the whole edifice. He gave them counsels worthy of them and worthy of himself: He transferred to their hearts a por­tion of the fire which consumed him ; and there is every rea­son to believe that it was he who, four years afterwards, in 1651, obtained for them, from Ann of Austria, the hospital de la Santé, which is still the place of their residence. That virtuous queen entertained great hopes from this new founda­tion, and the event justified them. The house of Provi­dence has always been edifying. The spirit of Vincent of Paul, who was the first superior, has been perpetuated in it. They make it an honor and a duty to imitate his virtues, and although gratitude is not the virtue of the age, they there acknowledke with pleasure, that the daughters of Providence do not owe less to the holy priest, than to the pious lady who instituted them,

In order to recur less frequently to communities of this nature, which had a greater share in the prayers and ser­vices of the man of God, we shall here speak of two or three others, which are under a special obligation to him; but we shall do so without paying much attention to the order of time.

Besides that of the Christian Union, and the Propagation of the Faith, which he united in one body, he evinced the liveliest interest for the house of the orphans, established by Mademoiselle de l’Etang. He aided it in its greatest need. He directed the foundress to select from the community, which was then composed of two hundred young women, three or four of the most intelligent, to share with her the burden of affairs, and above all to consider the desire of doing every thing herself as a temptation.

Vincent had also a share in the foundation of the daughters of St. Genevieve. Three young ladies, who had a desire to live in community, and associate to themselves those per­sons of their sex, who might be animated with the same feel­ings, believed it necessary, to avoid taking a false step, to do nothing without having consulted the servant of God. He, after many prayers, told them, in a tone of certainty, that God desired to make use of them to give a new com­pany to his church; that it would be for the glory of our Lord, and very useful to the public. Time has proved that God spoke by the mouth of his minister. These young ladies, who were afterwards united to those of Madame de Miramion,_ have been earnestly engaged with them in advancing in virtue. In such a pursuit there is nothing but gain.

But there are few establishments which owe more to our saint, than that of the daughters of the cross. The insolence of a teacher, who had dared to attempt the honor of one of his scholars, showed that young females are never secure but in the hands of persons of their own sex ; and a proposal was made to unite some females who would have virtue and courage sufficient to undertake that good work. Four pre­sented ihemselves at Roie, in Picardy, where the scandal nad taken place. But the war and their own affairs haling obliged them to retire to Paris, Marie l’Huillier de Villeneuve received them kindly, and made a trial of their talents. Vin­cent, whom she did not fail to consult, encouraged her, and showed her how to instruct young women in such a manner that they might be able to form others afterwards. The arch­bishop of Paris approved their constitutions, and they took the name of Daughters of the Cross, on account of the con­tradictions they had already experienced.

But what they had suffered was only a prelude to the trials reserved for their virtue. Madame de Villeneuve, whose long infirmities had not permitted her to establish them sufficiently, was taken from them on the 131 of January, 1650. This occurred at a very unfortunate moment; and the persons who had heretofore taken the greatest interest in them, were of opinion that they should be suppressed, or at least united to some other community. Vincent of Paul, who was com­monly rather slow in his determinations, and who, in such matters, did not resist the multitude, contended, however, that every means should be used to insure the subsistence of this holy establishment. “It is the work of God,” said he to Mr. Ahelly; “it must not be destroyed; that community is com­posed now of only five females; but their number will multi­ply. The stream is small, but it will receive water to make it abundant.”

These words, and the circumstances in which Vincent pro­nounced them being taken into consideration, appeared so im­probable, that it could hardly be believed that the”event would correspond to them. It was not long, however, before they were verified. The saint, who, by upholding this new estab­lishment against every body, found himself more charged with it than any one else, engaged Madame de Traversai to take part in the good work. The holy widow gave herself up en­tirely to it. She surmounted by her patience, her credit, and the aid of the man of God, the obstacles which she met at every step. By degrees it was perceived that this tree, too long battered by the winds, would produce fruits of justice and salvation. The Daughters of the Cross contribute still daily to the sanctification of a great number of souls, and they enter with zeal upon those apostolical functions which the law of God has not interdicted•to their sex.

Before finishing with this matter, I may be permitted to make two reflections concerning it. The first, which is fur­nished me by one of the sisters of the Cross, that the saint, in sustaining them, in some measure wronged the Sisters of Charity, since he might have obtained for them the advan­tages which he procured for the others. The second, which does great honor to the foundations of which we have spoken; is, that in general, Vincent was on his guard against new es­tablishments. This appears by a long letter which he wrote that very year to the archbishop of Paris, and in which, after having acknowledged that it was himself who, in the council of the king, had prevented a religious female under the pro­tection of that prelate from making an establishment at Lagny, he proves by six or seven very recent examples, that he had reason for being generally opposed to new congregations, a certain proof that the appearance of good did not impose upon him, and that he would only authorise those which, by the nature of their institute, and by a true spirit of virtue and fer­vor, gave him just and solid hopes.

It was towards the end of the same year, 1647, that his priests established a house at Genoa. They were indebted for it to three noble Genoese, who concurred in that good work with Cardinal Durazzo, then archbishop; but they owed it still more to their labor and indefatigahle zeal. The prelate, who could not see without the deepest sorrow the pitiful state of his diocess, kept them for two years in such a continual succession of retreats and fatiguing missions, that Vincent, enemy as he was to inaction, was often alarmed at it. The prayers which he offered for them, and the great ex­ample of the cardinal, supported them. We shall endeavor to give in its proper place some idea of the innumerable ad­vantages, which these fervent missionaries procured for the territories of the republic.

The joy which the holy man experienced at the good ac­counts from Genoa and all the places where his children were established, was moderated by the death of some of them. He was, above all, much afflicted at that of Mr. Nonely, who was still very young, and had been laboring only a year at Algiers, when he contracted, by attending the slaves who had the plague, the disorder which carried him off in a few days. Isis death was felt by the Turks almost as much as by the Christians. There was not a person in that barbarous coun­try that was not touched by the zeal which he manifested for the relief of the poor, and particularly for the sick. The most desperate, those whose disorders inspired the greatest horror, were, his cherished children. In fine, he was the victim, the martyr of his own charity. Seven or .eight hundred Chris­tians, of every nation, attended his funeral. Even the Turks and Moors seemed to forget that he was the enemy of their sect, and mingled with the others. The tears shed over his grave were too general not to be sincere.

These losses followed some others which must have af­flicted St. Vincent still more, because less in the order of Pro­vidence. Notwithstanding the necessity of filling up these different vacancies, our saint formed, at the sanie time, the project of planting the faith in the island of Madagascar. We shall hereafter see that this project cost him a great deal; that it mowed down a considerable number of apostolic men, and was for”him, during the last twelve years of his life, the source of a torrent of tears and of great affliction.

The very year, in which he entered upon the affair of Mada­gascar, he realized a project which had occupied him a long time, and the success of which merited for bin) the blessings of the capital, and of all the provinces of the kingdom. To give a just idea of il, we must go back to its origin.

The city of Paris, the immense extent of which embraces nearly a million of inhabitants; contains within it every ex­treme of conditions. Opulence tbere walks by the side of misery; virtue and vice are there to be found; the amusements of the theatre and the tears of penance ; the most austere pu­rity and the most daring libertinism have their residence there. From this libertinism, and sometimes from poverty alone, a multitude of children are born, who, in the time of our saint, Iost their lives before they became conscious of existence, or became conscious of it only to undergo every hardship Their mothers often sacrificed them on the very day they had brought them into the world. They were exposed at the door of the churches, or in the public places.. It is true that the commissaries of the Chatelet took them away by order of the police; but this service was almost the only one ren­dered to these children.

They were taken to a widow in Saint Landri street, who, with two female servants, was charged to bring them up. But as they were very numerous, and alms were not abun­dant, this woman, for want of nourishment and means, suffered them to die through weakness. Often the servants, even, in order to be relieved from the importunity of their cries, put them to sleep by means of a beverage which shor­tened their days. Those who escaped this danger were given to any one who would have them, or sold at so low a price, that twenty sous were sometimes sufficient to procure one. Nor had compassion any thing to do with the bargain. Some had them suckled by diseased women, from whom they often imbibed contagion and death; others substituted thess to chil­dren whom they had suffered to perish. It has even been discovered that many children were inhumanly killed for ma­gical operations, or for those bloody baths which a madness for prolonging life has sometimes inveoted. That which was still more deplorable was, that many died without baptism, the widow of Saint Landri having acknowledged that she had never baptized any, nor caused any to be baptized.

Such a pitiable state of things sensibly afflicted the heart of our holy priest. The difficulty was to remedy it. Vincent was charitable enough to attempt it, and he was happy enough to accomplish it. He at first entreated some ladies of h.s assem­bly, to go to the place and see whether so great an evil could not be stopped, or at least diminished. Those ladies were terrified at the spectacle presented to their eyes by that mule tude of children almost abandoned. They could not take charge of all, but they wished to take charge of some, in order to save their life: To honor Divine Providence, whose de­signs were unknown, they drew lots for twelve. They rented, in 1638, a house for their accommodation, at the gate of St. Victor, and Madame Le Gras, who joined all the good works cf her director, took care of them with the Sisters of Charity.

To the first children, these virtuous ladies added others from time to time, according to their devotion and means. The dif­ference which was soon discovered between the latter and those who remained at Saint Landri, excited their pity in favor of those whom they were obliged to leave there. In the mean­time they begged of God to open the treasure of his mercy, and to prepare the way for an undertaking which appeared still more necessary than difficult.

At last, after many prayers and conferences, a general meeting was held at the beginning of the year 1640. The saint theft explained in so pathetic a manner, the wants of these poor children, and the glory which would be procured to God from the Christian education which might he given them, that all the ladies present resolved to assume the charge of them. But the servant of God, who foresaw that it would require much more than twelve or fourteen hundred livres, which formed all the funds upon which they could calcu­late, was unwilling they should undertake any thing, except by way of a trial. In this manner he prevented the murmurs of families, and removed from those virtuous females all oc­casion to repent of having too easily obeyed the first impulse of fervor.

In order to spare them a part of the expense, besides the money which he himself furnished according to custom, he laid before Ann of Austria a sad and faithful picture of those children; and through that august princess, who regarded every day on which she had done no good work as lost, he obtained from the king twelve thousand livres, the revenues of five large farms. With this help the establishment con­tinued for some years. But the necessities of Lorraine; the fear of a revolution in the state, strong symptoms of which were now manifested in murmurs and factions; the number of these children, which increased every day, and the support of whom exceeded forty thousand livres, all these considerations, which were but too well7ounded, staggered the courae of the ladies of Charity. They declared, as of one accord, that so enormous an expense exceeded their means, and that they could no longer bear it.

It was to come to a final determination respecting this im­portant affair, that Vincent convoked a general assembly, in 1648. The Marillacs, the Traversais, the Mirarnions, and all those venerable persons whose names God’ has written in the book of life, were present. The saint pro­posed as a matter of deliberation, whether the good work which was begun, should be continued. He laid down the reasons for and against it. On one hand he represented that the association had contracted no obligation, and that they were at liberty to decide on what seemed most proper. On the other he showed that by these charitable provisions they had hitherto preserved the lives of a large number of children, who would otherwise have perished here, and perhaps hereaf­ter; that those innocent beings in learning to speak, had learned to know and serve God; that some of them were beginning to work, and to relieve others from the expense of their main­tenance, and that such a happy beginning was a presage of still greater advantages.

It was then that the holy man, who was no longer master of his sighs and scarcely of his expressions, assuming a more tender and animated tone, concluded in these words : ” Re­member, ladies, that compassion and charity have caused you to adopt these little creatures as your children; you have been their mothers according to grace, since their natural mothers have abandoned them : determine now whether you also will abandon them. Cease to be their mothers, that you may be their judges; their life and death are in your hands : I am going to take the votes ; it is time to pronounce their sen­tence, and to know whether you will no longer have pity on them. They will live if you continue your charitable care of them; on the contrary, they will infallibly die if you abandon them : experience does not allow you to doubt it.”

These words, which a great master of eloquence often ad­mired, were answered only by the tears of the assembly. The unction of the Holy Spirit had insinuated itself into every heart. It was determined at once that, whatever it might cost, the good work should be continued. They no longer deliberated upon its perpetuation, but only the means of ef­fecting it.

It was in consequence of a resolution so worthy of those who formed it, that the king was asked for the chateau of Bi­cêtre, designed by. Louis XIII, as a hospital for invalid soldiers. Thither they conveyed such of the children as had no need of nurses. But as it was found that the air was too keen for them, two houses were purchased in Paris; one in the fau­bourg Saint Antoine, where the queen mother Laid the first stone of their church; the other, which is now a palace, along side of the cathedral. Their revenue was afterward augmented by the liberality of Louis XIV. But their number, far ex­ceeding their revenue, increased so much that one hundred and fifty thousand livres were not sufficient for their support12. It is thus the abbé de Choisi spoke of it more than fifty years ago. What would he have said in our days, when misery and debauchery render their number incalculable?

We must hope that time which gradually effaces the re­membrance of ordinary benefits, will never obliterate in the foundlings the recollection of the signal service which St. Vincent has rendered them; that they will early learn to lisp his name and his glory; that grateful for the Christian educa­tion afforded them by his daughters in Jesus Christ, they will from age to age cry out with a prophet: “Those who gave me life abandoned me : I was about to share the rigorous fate of innumerable others, but the God of children, by means of his tender and charitable servant, has taken me under his protection, and his liberal hand has given me much more than I lose.”13

It was time that the arrangements for the foundlings should be completed; the least delay would have been utter ruin. The kingdom was soon in such a situation that the best families had reason to fear for their safety. Famine, pestilence, and civil war, a more terrible scourge than the two others, caused the most frightful ravages. Cardinal Mazarin, whà found himself master of the favor and authority of his sovereign, must have made, and did in fact make many persons jealous; and as from jealousy to the most violent hatred there is but one step, and sometimes less, he soon had upon his hands as many enemies as he had rivals. The aversion of the great soon reached the people. All took part in this famous quarrel. They gave the name of Frondeurs to those who were opposed to the minister; those who were neutral, or in the interest of the court, were called Mazarins, and sometimes Royalists.

The barricades of Paris, the violent liberation of those who had been arrested by order of the court, the factions which daily increaséd, induced the queen to take steps at variance with her natural mildness. She resolved to starve out the capital, which appeared for some time not to pay sufficient respect to her authority. For that purpose she left it on the day of the Epiphany, at three o’clock in the morning, with her son, the king, and the greatest part of the court, which followed her to Saint Germain-en-Laye. Vincent did, during this dif­ficult time, all that a good citizen could do, and he suffered all that a faithful subject could endure. As he thought that the poor would be reduced to the greatest extremity, he en­deavored to secure a resource in the provisions which were destined for the support of the house of Saint Lazarus, and that of Saint Charles, where many youths were educated ac­cording to the plan of the holy council of Trent. Violence and injustice frustrated in part these good designs; but as they had all their merit before God, they must have all their value in the eyes of men.

He afterwards formed a project which may be looked upon as one of the most splendid monuments of his courage, disinterestedness, and disposition to sacrifice every thing rather than resist the dictates of conscience. Ann of Austria honored him with particular kindness; it is certain that under, her regency, hé always poSSessed greater fervor than he desired to have. On his part, he entertained for the person and the eminent virtues of that great princess all the repeat which a subject could have, and he would have given his life a thou­sand times for her and for the interests of the king. Yet, as the conduct she pursued towards her people appeared to him to be too rigorous, and as he was terrified at the horrors of very kind which civil war always brings in its train, he hought it necessary to have an interview with her and tell her openly what he thought. He was well aware that in the present state of the agitation of the public mind, the liberty he was going to take might be naturally followed by exile, or some other disgrace; but he feared no disgrace nor exile, when his object was to prevent God from being out­raged, and the people from being reduced to extreme misery. He left Paris before day, and took the road to Saint-Ger­main. Like a wise politician, he made no one acquainted with his design. However, not to give umbrage to the par­liament, which might have thought it wrong that a man like him should leave the city without saying any thing, he sent to his first assistant a letter for Mr. de Molé, who was at the head of that great body. He told him in a few words, that God urged him to go to the court, and that if he had not the honor to pay him his respects hefore his departure, it was only that he might have it in his power to assure the queen that he had concerted with no one what he had to say to her. As Paris was under arms, and there were advanced guards in all the suburbs, he was obliged to make a long circuit. It was not completely light when he entered Clichy, and the obscurity had like to be fatal to him. The inhabitants, who had been pillaged the evening helore by a troop of cavaliers, had taken up arms to repel them in case of another attack. At the noise of two persons who were approaching on horse-pack, an alarm was given, some advanced with pikes, others with their muskets cocked and ready to fire. The companion of the saint, who was not very warlike, quaked with fear, according to his own account; ” but,” adds he, “I though at the same moment that God would not permit the country people to ill treat a man who had consecrated his life, his congregation, and his possessions to their service.” In fact, one of them having recognised and made him known to the others the name of their former pastor awakened the sentiments of veneration which they had formerly entertained for him. They pointed out to him the route which he ought to take, and those which he should avoid, to escape falling into the hands of the enemy, who were scouring the country.

At Neuilly, he ran a new risk; the waters had overflowed and covered a part of the bridge. He was advised not to at­tempt crossing it, but his courage supported him, and God pro­tected him. To return him thanks on the very spot by an act of charity, he sent his horse to a poor man who was on the other side of the bridge, and who could not otherwise have continued his journey. He at length arrived at Saint Ger­main, and in a long interview which he had with the queen, he said every thing he could imagine most forcible to dissuade her from the siege of Paris. He represented to her that it was not just to occasion the death of a million of persons by famine, to punish twenty or thirty guilty ones. In fine, he even presumed to advance that, as the presence of the cardi­nal appeared to be the source of all these disorders, he thought it proper to sacrifice him for a time.

Although he did not lose sight of the respect due to the most virtuous princess in the world, he then spoke with so much force that a moment after, he was surprised and afflicted at it. He calculated less on the success of his negociation on that account. °° For,” said he, two days afterwards ” never have harsh words succeeded with me; and I have always re­marked, that to move the mind, we must not exasperate the heart.” He corrected himself on the spot for an air of viva­city which was not to his taste, and having gone from the apartment of the queen to that of her minister, he spoke to him in a tone of mildness which affected the cardinal. Yet he told him in that tone all he had said to the queen, and ne afterwards exhorted him to cast himself into the sea, in order to still the tempest. Mazarin answered him kindly : ” Well, my father! I will go, if Mr. le Tellier is of your opinion.”

That very day the queen held a council; the motives pro­posed by our saint were discussed. Mr. ]e Teltier opposed them through reasons of state, as he afterwards declared to the servant of God, and it was d.eterntined that the cardinal should remain.

It was almost thought that Vincent would be disgraced; but the court, which knew the attachment of Vincent of Paul to the interests of the king, and the purity of his intentions, did not look upon his honesty as a crime. Le Tellier, from whom he had asked a passport, on the following day sent him one, signed by the hand of the king; that young prince was also good enough to furnish an escort, which conducted him as far as Villepreux.

Had these circumstances been known in the capital, the people, who, without exactly knowing why, were furious against the .Mazarin, would have looked upon Vincent as one of the most zealous Frondeurs; but that worthy priest, con­vinced that obedience is the first virtue of subjects, did not suffer the propositions he had made, and the answers he had received, to transpire. Thus was he treated as a Royalist, that is to say, a declared enemy. The hatred of those whom he had excluded from ecclesiastical dignities awoke and be­came extreme. A counsellor, who pretended to be acting by the authority of the parliament, took possession of the keys of the house of Saint Lazarus. He placed guards at all the doors, and seized all the grain that was in the house. Eight hundred soldiers were lodged in the building. They made a horrible waste every where; and finding nothing else upon which to exercise their fury, they set fire to the wood piles and reduced them to ashes. The parliament being informed of it, was much displeased that such shameful violence should have been exercised in its name. The rabble sol­diery were ordered to withdraw. But the damage which they caused during three days was not repaired.

To complete this misfortune, a farm at a short distance from Versailles, which was then the principal resource of Vincent of Paul and his companions, was so completely pillaged by the disbanded soldiers, that there was neither grain, furniture, nor cattle left. The saint, who from Ville-preux had gone to Fréneville, near Etampes, learned there every day some news of this description. But he never in­dulged in murmuring or impatience; and amidst such severe trials, particularly when multiplied and close at hand, he al­ways repeated : ” God be blessed, God be blessed!’

Notwithstanding these enormous losses, he did not cease to relieve many unfortunate persons and every day during three months, bread was furnished by his orders to two thousand poor. Yet, to disarm the anger of God, and teach those as­sociated with him to do the same thing, Vincent preached to them by word and example the necessity of doing penance. Badly warmed during a severe winter, fed with bread made of rye and beans, eating so little that he had enough time left to finish himself the reading at table, distributing to the country people whom he made eat with him the best that was served up, he did not labor with less zeal for the salvation of the inhabitants of Valpiuseau; and by a discourse which par­took nothing of the weakness of age, he made them so sensible that a satisfaction proportioned to their faults, was the only means of appeasing or turning to good account the storm with which they were threatened, that his sermon alone did more good than those of a whole lent preached by others. The greater part of the parishioners wished to be reconciled with God; and as the curate could not satisfy their eagerness, our saint and one of his priests joined in the labor.

The affairs of state becoming more and more complicated, he resolved to visit the houses of his congregation. He ar­rived at Mans in a dreadful season. His children, who did not expect such happiness, received him as an angel from heaven. He had calculated upon passing only five or six days with them; but the news of his arrival having spread in spite of him, all the best people in the country came to pay him their respect, and he was so overwhelmed with visits, that he was obliged to remain eight days longer than he had anticipated.

I should not omit here the embarrassment in which the holy man found himself, on account of Mr. de Beaumanoir de Lavardin, the very same iu regard to whose ordinations so many ridiculous stories have been told. He was informed that Vincent had been opposed to his nomination; he knew it, and had often complained of it. The servant of God was surprised to learn that the prelate, who had not yet received his bulls, was already in his diocess. It was not easy to pro­ceed correctly in so delicate a conjuncture. It was unhecom­ing to remain in his seminary without seeing him, dangerous to see him without giving him previous notice, uncivil to ask whether he would receive his visit. The humility of the saint removed the difficulty. In the morning he sent two of his priests to inform him that he had arrived in his diocess the preceding evening; that he would not remain in it without his permission; and that he begged to be allowed to pass seven or eight days in the seminary.

This compliment on the part of a man, whose uprightness was well known to Mr. de Lavardin, disarmed him. He answered the saint that he was at liberty to remain at Mans as long as he thought proper; and that, if he had no house, it would give him pleasure to offer his own. So obliging an answer required an acknowledgment. But at the very mo­ment that our saint was starting to make it, he learned that the party of the Fronde having prevailed in the town, the bishop and the commander had been obliged to quit the place.

From Mans the servant of God took the road to Angers, where the Sisters of Charity had a considerable establish­ment. At half a league from Durtal, his horse fell into the river, where he would have been drowned, but for the speedy assistance of one of his priests who accompanied him. This accident did not trouble him : he immediately, although quite wet, mounted his horse again, and afterwards dried his gar­ments as well as he could in a poor hut; and as it was then the time of Lent, he remained without eating until the even­ing, when he arrived at the inn.

As his first nourishment was the instruction of the poor, this holy old man, fasting and weary, began to catechise the servants of the house. The hostess, edified and surprised at his charity, ran into the village and gathered all the children, and without having said any thing to him, sent them up to his chamber. Vincent thanked her very kindly. He divided the children into two bands; he gave one to instruct to his companion, and he instucted the other in that style of unc­tion and.kindness which gained him every heart. After the catechism he gave them alms, for they were as poor as ig­norant.

After having spent five days in fortifying the Sisters of Charity in the virtues of their state, he departed for Rennes. Providence, who was pleased that on each day of his journey he should be subjected to some new trial, exposed him to the greatest danger in which he had ever found himself. As he was crossing a wooden bridge between a Emil and a very deep pond, his horse, frightened at the motion and noise of the mill, jumped back so suddenly, that one foot was off the bridge, and he was upon the point of falling into the pond. Vincent thought himself lost, and those who were with him were exceedingly frightened; but God stretched out his hand to him. The horse stopped short, and the saint crossed the bridge without having received any injury. He instantly returned thanks to the Lord, and caused his companion to do the same for a protection so visible and so necessary. In the evening he arrived at a poor tavern : they gave him a room which, although represented to be the best in the house, was very uncomfortable. But some friends of the host having arrived, they were not ashamed to dislodge him, and place him in a room much worse than the first. He paid well every where, and he paid still better in these kinds of places. Having had once to sleep near a room, where a crowd of countrymen spent the night in drinking and talking, instead of complaining of the little respect shown to him, he gave on his departure a most beautiful Agnus to his host, one which, without a breach of propriety, might have been presented to the duchess of Aiguillon herself. It is to be desired that the theology of the saints had not grown so old in our own age, and that it was better known.

Vincent, who was in the habit of paying no visit of mere civility, thought he could remain incognito at Rennes, as he had done at Orleans and Angers; but he was recognised on entering the city. Every thing was in commotion there as well as at Paris, and the royalists were badly received. He had scarcely halted, when a person in office told him, that the visit of a man like him who was of the council of the queen and in her interests, was suspicious to the inhabitants; that it was intended to have him arrested, and that he was in­formed of it, in order that he might quit the city immediately.

He prepared to depart at once, when a gentleman, who lodged in the same inn having recognised him, said to him aloud in a transport of anger : “Mr. Vincent will be very much astonished if two leagues from this a pistol is fired at his head.” This brutal compliment did not much disturb the calm of his soul ; but the prebendary of St. Brieu, who had come to meet him, prevented him from setting out, and begged him to see the first president. That magistrate was touched by the wisdom and gravity of the respectable old man ; he well understood that his arrival was entirely pacific, and he was not urged to depart.

Vincent of Paul departed however the next morning. As he was about mounting his horse, he saw the same gentle-who had threatened him on the evening before; and it was believed with sufficient reason, that he had been to wait for him on the road to effect his design. The prebendary of St. Brieu, who had the most tender réspect for Vincent, wished to share the danger with him, and in spite of every entreaty, he accompanied him to Saint-Méen Our saint passed there fifteen days in the manner of apostolical men ; after having ended his visit, during which he established rules replete with prudence and piety, he gave the rest of the time to the con­fessional, and he performed during the holy week all the functions of a zealous missionary.

He was on his way to Guienne, when the queen sent him an order to repair immediately to Paris, whither the king had returned. But the fatigue and occupations of such a tong and painful journey for a man of his age, caused him to fall sick at Richelieu, and it became necessary for him to stop there.

The news of his illness having reached Paris, his infirma- Tian was sent to him from St. Lazarus, who knew better than any other person how to treat him. Vincent, who looked upon himself as the most miserable of men, could not help testifying some uneasiness at the attention paid to him. But, as after the example of holy Job, he scrutinized severely-all his actions, he was afraid that the kind of displeasure which he had evinced, might be a cause of uneasiness to the one who had been sent to him. To repair this imaginary fault, which the infirmarian had not perceived, he humbly threw himself at his feet, and asked his pardon both at Riche­lieu and at Paris when he reached the latter place. One of his assistants, who was present at this second humiliation, was more edified than surprised at it. They were so accustomed to see this great man humble himself to the very earth, both-before inferiors and strangers, that whatever he did of that nature was nothing new.

In the mean time the duchess of Aiguillon having learned his sickness, sent him a little carriage to bring him home so soon as he would be able to undertake .the journey. The history of this new equipage, which so much alarmed the humility of Vincent of Paul, deserves a place here.

The ladies of his association, who, seeing him very infirm and very badly mounted, feared some accident would befall him, had a carriage made for him. As they knew his extreme aversion for every think like show, they had it made so plain, that it could not be more so. Nevertheless, the holy priest, in whatever need he stood of it, would never make use of it, and it grew old in some respect from disuse. This was the very carriage which Madame d’Aiguillon scot him to Riche­lieu. The weak state in which he then was, and the orders of the queen which obliged him to set out, rendered it neces­sary for him to take it as far as Paris. As soon as he had arrived, he sent the horses back to the duchess of Aiguillon with a thousand thanks. She, in her turn, sent them back to him, beseeching him to pay attention to the need he had of them. But this man, ever humble, refused them a second time, and protested that if the swelling in his legs, which in­creased daily, would not permit him to travel on foot or on horse back, he was resolved to keep to the house for the remainder of his life, rather than be drawn in a carriage. To put an end to this dispute which lasted some weeks, the duchess had recourse to the queen and the archbishop of Paris, both of whom decided in her favor. Vincent obeyed, because he must do so, but with great confusion. He called his carriage “his reproach and his ignominy.” One day when he was paying a visit to some priests of the oratory, four of them having conducted him to the door, he said to the reve­rend Father Senault, and to those who were with him: “See, my fathers, I am the son of a poor peasant, and I presume to use a carriage.” Many others would have added that it was only through obedience. However, this carriage and its accompaniments were for the public use, as well -as for his. He made the first old man whom he met, get up with him ; and sometimes he took in it the sick to the Hotel Dieu. This trifling service has enabled him to render, during the ten years more which he lived, very important services to the church, and to complete affairs of the greatest conse­qugnce, which he could not have even commenced, had he been deprived of it.

As soon as he had paid his respects to the king and to the queen mother, he thought of the means of repairing a part of the evils which the troops had caused in the neighborhood of Paris; and because the holy mysteries had been unworthily profaned at Chatillon, at Clamart, and in some other parishes, he wished that every one in his house should weep upon the very spot for the cruel outrages which this divine victim bad suffered in the most august sacrament.

In the mean time, the house of St. Lazarus, which the Frondists had abused, and which had made, notwithstanding this, prodigious efforts to feed a multitude of poor people during the war Of Paris, found itself at length in a pitiable situation. Destitute of money, provisions, and resources, it was in want of every thing. Although the saint wished that his companions should be well supported, and he loudly re­prehended those interested procurators, who seem to think that priests overwhelmed with labor are well enough off, when not worse treated than servants; he found himself reduced to the necessity of feeding his children upon barley bread, and some time afterwards, upon oat bread. The example which he set them in this particular, as well as in every other, and still more his tenderness for them, which they never douhted, removed every shadow of a murmur: so that he had no un easiness on thàt score. “The poor,” said he in a letter to Mr. Aimeras, ” who know not whither to go nor what to do, who suffer already, and who increase every day, are my bur­den and my grief.

This burden was soon augmented, and in a few months it became so weighty, that perhaps any other person would have yielded under it. The spirit of discord which agitated France, was more powerful than ever; Mazarin, who had always many enemies, made new ones by causing the arrest of the princes of Condé and Conti with the duke of Longue­ville. By this action he separated from the party of the king the viscount de Turenne and a number of brave men who would have served their country well. He ruined himself for a time, having been obliged the following year to leave.the kingdom. Our enemies profited by these intestine divisions; and the Spaniards, after having seized upon Saint Venant and Ypres, crossed our frontiers, and took Catelet, Capelle and Rhetel. Their armies, and those which were opposed to them, laid waste a great part of Picardy and Champagne. In a little time these two provinces were nearly in the same condition as we have represented Lorraine.

The first news of the excess of the evil came from Guise, which the Marquis of Spondat was not able to take, but the environs of which he had laid waste. Some persons who came from that place to Paris, related that they had seen a great number of soldiers sick, pining away, destitute of every aid, dying in the roads, without sacraments or even human consolation.

This misery made little impression even upon such of the Parisians as were delighted at the retreat of the enemy. It was not so with Vincent of Paul, to whom God had given the most tender mercy. He immediately despatched two of his missionaries with a horse loaded with provisions and almost 500 livres in money.

These gentlemen saw at the first glance that their scanty supply bore no proportion to the magnitude of the evil. They found along the hedges and upon the roads so great a number of wretched people, some of whom were worn out with suffering, and others only waiting for death, that their provision were consumed in an instant. They hastened to the neighboring towns to purchase more; but how great was their surprise at finding those very placés in as deplorable a state as the country. They were in want of every thing. Death, famine, the most humiliating necessities reigned uni­versally. In so terrible a conjuncture these two priests .has­tened to write to St. Vincent, that the desolation was general throughout all the country, and that these unfortunate people would perish, if they did not speedily receive aid.

At this news the saint resolved to use all possible means to relieve his brethren. Exhausted as the ladies of the associa­tion were, whether by the alms sent to Lorraine, or by the enormous expense at which they had been for twelve years for the foundlings, he knew how to excite them to new efforts. But in order to spare them as much as the pressing circum­stances would allow, he begged the archbishop of Paris to recommend the necessities of those two provinces to the faith­ful. The Christian pulpits soon re-echoed their tears and lamentations. The preachers had no need of hyperbole; the suffering far exceeded their expressions.

As the evil was pressing, and as a quarter of an hour’s delay might render the remedy useless for many of the suffer­ers, Vincent, with the first aid he could procure, dispatched at different intervals as many as sixteen of his missionaries; and after them some Sisters of Charity, who, always secure from insult under the protection of their own virtue, fulfilled In a most edifying manner all the duties of their profession. ft was only after their arrival that the extent of the misery which desolated that unfortunate country was fully known. The Vermandois, Thierache, a great part of the inhabitants of Soissonnois, the Remois, the Laonois, and the Retelois were in that pitiful state in which God puts those countries which he visits with his wrath. The famine was such, that men were seen eating the earth, tearing off the bark of trees, and devour­ing the rags with which they were covered. “But,” wrote some of these missionaries of Vincent of Paul, ” what inspires the greatest horror, and what we would not relate had we not seen it, they eat their arms and hands and die in despair.” The excess of the evil had stifled even the feelings of nature in a people always humane; and when the first assistance arrived from Paris, the inhabitants of Saint Quentin, op­pressed by the concourse of their neighbors, and not knowing what to do, in their fear of being besieged, had resolved to throw over ‘the walls of the town the strangers, who to the number of seven or eight thousand had sought a refuge there.

Such was, during nearly ten years, that is, until the peace of the Pyrenees, the condition of two large provinces, and four or five diocesses included in them. It is true that after the first three or four years the evil had its variations, and, as it were, intermissions ; but, it is also true, that it often com­menced again where it seemed to have ceased; and there were always some cantons which stood in need of assistance, which, if moderate for each one singly, hecame .immeose for all collectively.

The places which experienced most the charity of the holy priest, were the cities of Guise, Noyou, Chauni, la Fere, Riblernont, Ham, and seven or eight others of Thierache ; those of Arras, Amiens, Péronne, Saint-Quentin, Catelet, and some one hundred and thirty villages of the neighborhood. We must add Basoches, Brenne, Fisnte, and near thirty parishes of the same valley. As for Champagne, succor was given particularly to Reims, Rhetel, Chateau-Porcien. Neu­chatel, Lade, Saint-Etienne, Rocroi, Mezieres, Charleville, Doncheri, Sédan, Vaucouleurs, and a great number of towns and villages in the vicinity of these places, which were all in extreme misery.

During the first years the expense amounted to fifteen, twenty, and sometimes thirty thousand livres per month; and even then great economy was requisite on account of the high price of provisions, and the numerous and great wants of the poor.

As in a country, where the churches had been profaned, the body of the Son of God trampled under foot, the chalices and sacred vestments carried off, the priests massacred or put to flight, the spiritual necessities must have been equal to those of the body, the missionaries had not a moment of respite; and it is still a mystery how they were able to undergo for so many years a fatigue so severe and overwhelming. In fact, charity often induced them to undertake what galley slaves would not have done except for fear of punishment. One of them, more than eight weeks after .the battle of Rhetel, had two thousand Spaniards buried, whose scattered limbs emitted a stench, which would in a short time have spread contagion throughout the neighborhood. Another, whose name was Donat Cruoly, did for the poor, what the heroes of the world would not do for glory. He crossed rivers, walked bare­footed, made perilous journeys through the troops, astonished friends and enemies by his intrepid countenance, and carried off from the gendarmes the cattle which the latter had just taken from some poor people and which was their only resource.

So many and so important services rendered to these two provinces, merited for St. Vincent the eulogium and benediction of pastors, magistrates, and people. The curate of Ham, a regular canon, the priest of Rhetel, the lieutenant general of Saint Quentin, and innumerable others wrote to him letters filled with expressions of gratitude. The city of Reims did something more. It was decreed that a mass should be celebrated daily before the tomb of St. Remi for him and the ladies of his association; and in order that all the inhabitants of the place might once at least display their gratitude with one accord, a general procession took place on Whit-Monday, 1651, from the Metropolitan church to that of the holy Pontiff, to beg of God, to show ample mercy to those who had so generously exercised it in favor of bis afflicted people. All the corps of the city attended this pious ceremony, and they were followed by such a numerous crowd, that Reims, although accustomed to great spectacles, had never beheld so prodigious a concourse.

Indeed, neither the inhabitants of Picardy nor those of Champagne could do too much for their benefactors. The ex­penses incurred for them and their churches finally amounted to more than a million of francs, and what adds a new value to the charity of Vincent is, that at the time he made such efforts in favor of these two provinces, he was also obliged to furnish aid to places which were no less afflicted.

The first cries that came to his ears were those of a con­siderable number of Irish Catholics, who forced by Cromwell to quit their country, had entered the service of the king, and had been very badly treated during two campaigns. They less resembled men who had contributed to raise the siege of Arras, than fugitives who had escaped a rout. The widows of their comrades and about fifty orphans by whom they were followed, were, like themselves, in a frightful con­dition. They walked barefooted amidst the snow; and when arrived at Troyes, which had been assigned them for their winter quarters, they had been nine days without tasting bread. Their entrance into that city presented to the inhabi­tants the most pitiful spectacle they had ever seen. Some of them lay in the square before the church of St. Peter, others gathered in the streets what the dogs would not eat.

Scarcely had Vincent of Paul become acquainted with their situation, when he sent to them one of his priests, who, being an Irishman himself, was better calculated to enter into all their necessities. By means of six hundred livres which he distributed at once, and which inspired emulation into the citizens of Troyes, the severity of their lot was greatly miti­gated. But as in the estimation of the servant of God, the relief of the hody was only a means to arrive at the reforma­tion of the heart, and as a people who had come from a country almost destitute of pastors into a kingdom the language of which they did not understand, had need of instruction, the same missionary preached lbr them twice a week during Lent; and he had the happiness of preparing them to partake of the body of our Lord at Easter. I have spoken here of the Irish at Troyes, that I may not be obliged to return to Champagne. The centre of the kingdom will furnish us with objects nearer Iiôme and scarcely less interesting.

The siege of Etampes, the battle of the suburb Saint An­toine, so many marches, countermarches, encampments, bat­tles at the gates of Paris, and in a ‘manner, in Paris itself, had introduced famine, and soon after disease into all the places where the armies had halted. Estampes, Corbeil, Palaiseau, Saint-Cloud, Gonesse, Saint-Denis, Lagni, and, what we must always suppose, all the villages around, presented the aspect of a country which a tremendous storm of hail had mowed to the very earth. Nothing was to be seen but the dead and dying in every direction. Wives wept for husbands, mothers for children, who in many cases had finished their days in horrible torments, some having been cast into hot ovens, others torn with thorns, and some, after an infamous mutilation, having had their bowels laid open, that they might be foiced to declare where the ornaments of their churches were.

Vincent, who could not suffice to every thing, engaged different communities to join in his labors, and they•did it with great zeal. His missionaries, divided into two principal bands, had for their portion Etampes, Lagni, and all the country contiguous to these two cities, without speaking of Palaiseau, and some other similar places where the soldiers had committed great excesses.

Etampes furnished themwith sufficient employment. It was filled with shrivelled, livid, disfigured spectres, to whom the dead bodies which they found heaped up within the walls, pointed out what they might expect for themselves. These were the first objects of horror, which our priests, by means of money and labor, removed from before their eyes. They afterwards perfumed the houses, to make them fit to dwell in. The children who had lost their parents were gathered together, kept and fed in a common house, The convalescents were strengthened. Those who were sick from fatigue and inani­tion began to recover.

A source of much affliction to these poor people was to have recovered their health at the expense of the life of some of their benefactors. The poisonous air which the mission­aries often breathed, the miserable food which they used in order to spare the means of the poor, the continual motion in which they were day and night, caused nature to sink at last, Four or five fell victims. ” Happy,” said Vincent, notwith­standing the grief with which he was penetrated, ” happy have they been to die with their arms in their hands, and to have gathered upon the field of battle the palm prepared for those who combat to the end.” Many Sisters of Charity who had a share in their labors, merited also a share in their crown.

It was soon necessary to begin at Atis, Juvisy, and above all, at Palaiseau, where the troops had remained during twenty days, what had not ye( been finished at Lagni and Etampes. Vincent stood in need of all his courage to bear so many assaults of misery made daily upon him. The ardor of his charity sustained him. He made the sighs, the dying cries of an unhappy people, a prey to famine, speak. God who had placed him in the world to he the prodigy of his age, enabled him to find favor with many people, who would per­haps have repulsed another. Many seculars, often of rank and always of virtue, united with him. Mr. du Plessis-Mon­bart, who possessed both, successfully established a kind of pious bank, to which those who could not furnish money were requested to send the furniture, clothes, and provisions they could spare. The duchess of A’guillon, who honored Vincent more than the saints are usually honored whilst upon earth, never allowed herself to he asked a second time for what she could gran( at the first solicitation14. The servant of God, who had given birth to these happy dispositions, ren­dered them useful by commencing at Paris, what was.still continued in Picardy and Champagne, and in all the other places of which we have spoken above.

The blockade of that great city, the premature harvest made by the troops, the scarcity of labor which in less than a week reduced a crowd of workmen to begging, the influx of foreign­ers who thought they could not be worse off than in their own country, all these circumstances, one of which would have been alone sufficient to famish that immense capital, concurred in its desolation. The evil was great; the remedy, although expensive, was proportioned to it. Vincent him­self remarks in a letter which he wrote at the time to a doctor of Sorbonne, that soup was furnished daily in Paris to four­teen or fifteen thousand poor people, who without it would have died of hunger; that eight or nine hundred young girls had been placed out of the reach of danger, by being collected in the houses of pious individuals; and in fine, that a monas­tery was in actual preparation for the reception of a great number of religious who were scattered throughout the city, some of whom had been obliged to live in suspected places. The saint does not speak of the great share he had in all these good works; and it was only after his death that the services he had rendered to the inhabitants of Palaiseau were known. He rendered one at the same time to the people of Genevi.l Tiers, which should remind the children of his attention and charity for their fathers.

The Seine having overflowed to a great extent, Vincent who spent a part of his meditation in lamenting the suf­ferings of the poor, thought that so considerable an inun­dation might be fatal to that village, the low situation of which naturally exposed it to the violence of floods. No one had spoken to the holy priest of ir: but his heart said enough to him. Without inquiring any farther about what might be the state of things, he had a large cart loaded with bread, which he immediately sent thither with two of his mission­aries.

This succor, which was looked upon as the effect of a partitular inspiration, carne in very good time. Hunger had begun to be felt sharply at Genevilliers. The inhabitants, half under water in their houses, uttered useless cries; no one went to their aid, and it was even dangerous to attempt it on account of the rapidity of the stream. Our missionaries unloaded tneir provisions into a boat; and rowing from une side to the other, distributed their bread through the windows, because all the doors were under water. The different currents, which alarmed the boatmen, carried them into danger more than once; but they continued this charitable office until this little deluge had subsided. When it was over, the poor peo­ple, moved at the service which our saint had rendered them, deputed some of the principal inhabitants to him, to return him thanks in the name of the others. He received then kindly; but it was easy for them to understand that the honor of serving Jesus Christ in his suffering members, was the only reward of which he was ambitious.

In thus fulfilling the duties of a good citizen, the servant of God never forgot those of a faithful subject. Persuaded that obedience to the king was the only means of calming the troubles, he did all that depended on him to stifle the seeds of revolt which had sprung up all around. He first induced to strict residence several prelates whose affairs called them to Paris, but who could not absent themselves from their dio­cesses without injury to the authority of the prince, which was maintained by their presence. He dealt rather with God than with men. He invited a great number of virtuous per­sons to prevail with his mercy, by prayer, fasting, alms, and all the practices of solid penance. Although the life of bis missionaries was only a tissue of hard labor, he would every day have three of them, that is, one of each order fast for the peace of the kingdom. He, although infirm, and more than seventy years old, was the first to submit to the law. No rule had any exception for him.

He inspired several persons of distinguished birth with the same sentiments of penance: and we know, said a virtuous priest, that ladies of very delicate constitutions spared their bodies neither haircloth, nor discipline, nor other similar mortifications, in order to unite before God their austerities to his and those of his congregation. It is true that the saint was Inexhaustible on this point. Every day at morning prayer, he repeated twice these words of the litany, Jam!, God of peace, and he pronounce„ them in a tone so moving, that it was im­possible not to recognise the voice and sighs of his heart. The proximity of the enemy’s troops who sought to come to an engagement, the fear of an action, or the news of a battle fought, penetrated him with sorrow. As he saw every thing in the light of faith, the conquest of the whole universe was not worth one of those souls which the victory plunges into the abyss. During the battle of the suburb Saint Antoine, whose noise reached his very ears, this worthy priest, pro­strate between the vestibule and the altar, offered himself as a victim to the justice of God, and conjured him by the bowels of his mercy to withdraw the hand which dealt such terrible blows upon his people.

During these difficult times, he, as well as all good people, and those who adhered to the party of the king, were often insulted. At the door of the conference hall, he was loaded with insults, struck, and threatened with death ; but he revenged himself only by begging pardon for the guilty from the magis­trate who wished to punish them. He was still more ill-treated at a short distance from his house. A furious mane under pretext that the saint had jostled him in passing, gave him a blow, adding by the blackest calumny, that he was the cause of the taxes with which the people were loaded. Vin­cent, instead of having him arrested, as he might have done, went on his knees before him, offered to him his other cheek, and publicly confessed, not that he was the author of the sub­sidies the imposition of which was not his province, but that he was a great sinner, and asked pardon of that man for any cause he might have given him for such treatment. The profound humility of the venerable priest touched the heart of the offender. He came the next day, to offer, in his turn, the most humble apology to the servant of God. Vincent re­ceived him as a good friend, begged him to spend sevet, or eight days with him, and profited by that time to engage him in the exercises of a retreat; and after having gained him to himself by his meekness, he afterwards gained him to God by his charity and affection.

Whilst he was so unjustly accused of being the author of the public calamities, he was occupied night and day in en­deavoring to find the means to put a stop to them. So many alms, fasts, mortifications and labors on his part and that of his missionaries, are incontestahle proofs of it. Yet, as he saw this was not sufficient, he thought it his duty to do what had been done before him by many saints, whose state of life engaged them to more strict solitude than his did.

After their example,, he endeavored to unite again to the party of the king those of the princes who had abandoned it. But as he was impenetrable above all in regard to affairs which might render him prominent, all that we can learn of his negotiation is, that a little time before the peace was con­cluded, he had long interviews with the queen, the duke of Orleans, the prince of Condé, and Cardinal Mazarin. Would it be rashness to believe that the peace, which soon followed these first steps, was the fruit of them, and that God granted it at last to the prayers and efforts made by the holy priest to. effect it?

It was then represented to him that the civil war being hap­pily terminated, it was just to retrench the extraordinary mortifications, which he had established un occasion of it; but he had them continued, because the war with Spain was still carried on. He had at last the consolation to witness the termination of that war which had lasted twenty-five years, and which, together with the intestine broils, had exhausted the kingdom. Alas! what ravages would not so many combined evils have caused, if the man of mercy had not opposed to them a patience incapable of repulse, an invincible courage, and an inexhaustible charity ! Let us resume some facts of his history which the course of our recital has prevented us from placing in their proper order. One of the most considerable is the establishment of the missionaries of ‘Warsaw, which has given, birth to so many others in Poland. Louisa Maria Gorzaga, daughter of Charles, duke of Mantua, had known Vincent of Paul in Paris, where sne had lived a long time. She had often attended those famous assemblies of ladies, whose liberality and zeal we have so often praised. Ladislaus Sigismoud IV, king of Poland, hav­ing asked a wife of Ann of Austria, received from her this princess, who was possessed of great qualities, but had not that of pleasing him. Happily she married after his death, Casimir V, who soon succeeded Sigismond. It was then, that having become more the mistress of her actions, she fol­lowed her inclination for doing good. As she knew that kings do not reign in a manner worthy of God, unless God reigns by them, she desired to establish his empire in the hearts of her subjects, and particularly those who had been most ne­glected. It was with this view that she asked some priests of our saint’s congregation, in 1651. Vincent could send her Only a small number. But Mr. Lambert, one of his first companions, was equal to many. He united with the most excellent health, consummate wisdom, indefatigable zeal, and a humility so profound, that he would have been the most eminent man of the age in this virtue, had not Vincent lived.

The saint could not make a greater sacrifice than that of Mr. Lambert. He was, after Mr. Portail, his principal re­source in innumerable affairs, and he acknowledged himself that by his absence he was in the situation of a man who has lost one of his arms. Yet, so soon as he believed that God required him elsewhere, he did not hesitate to make the sacrifice, and assuredly it cost a great deal to him who was the victim.

The arrival of these two missionaries gave great pleasure to their majesties, and they were received by them with every possible demonstratron of kindness. Lambert was esteemed, cherished, and respected by the great and the people, as soon as he was known, and it was not long before he became so. But this short time of consolation was well paid for by the sufferings which followed it. Casimir, notwithstanding his victories, could not banish from his kingdom either famine or pestilence which follows close in its train. Both caused great havoc in Warsaw, where the people were entirely neglected. Lambert flew to the aid of the wretched, with the consent of the court; and the queen directed that he should be lodged in the king’s own chamber. Warsaw stood in need of such a man. As soon as any one was afflicted with the disease, those of his own house placed him in the street, where he must die of hunger, and soon afterwards be devoured by the dogs. Lambert restored order in the city, and our saint, who learned it from the queen, was greatly consoled by it. But God, who was always pleased to try him like gold in the fur­nace, soon caused bitterness to succeed that joy of which he alone was the object. On leaving Warsaw, the queen, who had the greatest confidence in this worthy missionary, desired him to follow her into Lithuania. Although by the orders of that princess every possible attention was paid to him, he soon fell a victim to his zeal and labors. The confessor of the queen, the queen herself, wrote to Vincent in a style which marked how sensible they were of this loss. Vincent felt it more than any one, and he was the more afflicted as he learned at the same time the loss which the seminary of Annecy had sustained by the death of one of the most prudent and most virtuous priests of his congregation. But on this occasion and many similar ones, he only said with the most afflicted and the most patient of men : ” God gave him to me, and God nas taken him away, blessed be his holy name.”

Some months before the establishment at Warsaw, Vincent had interred the ancient prior of the religious who served the flouse of Saint Lazarus, the same who had made so many exertions to get him to accept it. Never had a benefactor greater reason to rejoice at his liberality. He always expe­rienced the most perfect gratitude from his adopted children. But the attention which our holy priest paid him, had nothing of that weakness which is sometimes discovered in human friendships. I will give an example which is too honorable to both to be omitted.

An abbess of high rank was, for scandalous faults, impri­soned by order of the queen. Mr. Le Bon, who was under great obligations to her, was requested to use all bis influence in her favor. As he knew the absolute power he had over the mind of the servant of God, he did not doubt that he would obtain whatever he should think proper to ask. He was de­ceived : the saint answered him that he was sorry he could not comply with his wishes, but that his conscience would not permit him. The prior was much hurt. at the refusal. Happily, the weight which he had upon his heart, did not op­press him long. He learned from a sure source that the lady for whom he had interested himself deserved no favor. From that moment he did justice to the firmness of the holy priest, and having thrown himself at his feet, he asked pardon for the hasty judgment he had formed of him. Vincent, who had also fallen on his knees, was charmed with this ex­planation; and after this momentary coolness, he gave him on every occasion proofs of the most humble and sincere deference.

His tenderness appeared to redouble when he found him­self on the point of losing him. In his last sickness he ren­dered him every service of the most ardent charity. When he saw him approaching his last end, he made all his mis­sionaries go on their knees around him ; and during his last agony, which was long, he recited the prayers appointed by the church for that last moment.

When this good old mart. who was more than seventy-five years of age, had breathed his last, and they had recômmended his soul, Vincent, after having besought God in a very affect­ing manner to be pleased to apply to the dear deceased the little good which his congregation had heretofore been able to do, begged his companions in the most humble terms never to forget that great benefactor. He caused his funeral to be performed in a most honorable manner; and to perpetuate the remembrance of the services which his congregation had received from him, he had them engraved upon the marble, with the epitaph of the deceased. He also desired that a so­lemn service should be performed every year on the 9th of April, the day of his decease. Besides this, his house per­forms two others every year ror the repose of the souls of the former religious.

Some months after the death of Mr. Le Bon, the holy priest held a kind of general assembly, in which, amongst other good regulations, one was made to exert a proper firm­ness in the tribunal of penance : for it is well to remark that, if Vincent of Paul did not approve that extreme rigor which condemns every body, he was a great enemy to laxity in morals. He more than once congratulated the bishops and the Sorbonne on their having censured those monstrous pro­positions of which enlightened pagans would have been ashamed. He wished that his congregation should attach itself inviolably to that truly Christian practice, which is founded upon the gospel, the writings of the holy doctors, and the decisions of the apostolic see. But if he had true zeal for the purity of morals, he had not less for the integrity of dogmas. His labors and combats against the too real here­sy of Jansenius, are an incontestible proof of it. But to place it in its full light, we must necessarily go back to the source of the evil.

  1. Life of Marshal de Fabert, by Father Barre, vol. i, p. 255.
  2. His name was Germain de Montevit. He was of the diocess of Coutane. He died the 29th of January, 1640, at the age of twenty eight.
  3. I learned from the Abbé Tervenus, curate of St. Rock, at Nancy, that a young girl of good condition having found at the door of a surgeon the blood of a sick person, which had been thrown out, seized upon it with a kind of fury. That respectable pastor, who died at a – ery advanced age, had this fact from his mother, who was witness to it.
  4. She died at Moulins, on Friday, 13th December, 1641, at the age of sixty-nine.
  5. some words missing in original
  6. some words missing in original
  7. some words missing in original
  8. Edme Joly, in 1692.
  9. M. de Richelieu died on the 4th of December, aged fifty-three years. His life has been written several times, and lastly by M. le Clerc. But it is less a history than a condemnation of Lotus XIII and his minister.
  10. Madame de Motteville
  11. Francis de la Rochefoucault, who was constantly employed with much zeal in the reibrination of the orders of St. Benedict and St Augustine, died on the 14th of February, 1645, at the age of 87.
  12. The expenses of the foundlings amounts now to more than five hundred thousand livres.
  13. Pater meus, et mater mea derelinquerunt me; Dominus autem aesumpbit me.—Ps xxvi, 10.
  14. To have a more just idea of the immense liberalities and the profound humility of this illustrious lady, our readers should peruse the funeral oration pronounced in the chapel of the seminary of Foreign Missions the t3th of May, 1675, by Mr. de Brisacier. He says “that she sold twenty-five thousand livres worth of her plate, to procure a decent place in all the desolate parishes, for the legiti­mate object of the only true worship.”