Some lesser-known human qualities of the Saints of the Vincentian Family

Francisco Javier Fernández ChentoVincentian FormationLeave a Comment

Author: Robert P. Maloney, C.M. · Year of first publication: 2004 (?) · Source: International site of the Daughters of Charity.
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It is easy to forget how human the saints are. Their biographies, their canonization processes, and even their fans tend to focus on their spiritual gifts. The danger is we make the saints too ethereal, too distant, almost too perfect for us mortals. We begin to think of them as always good, senex a puero (as the litany of St. Vincent puts it). Some biographers have depicted saints as making private vows of chastity at an early age when, reason might tell us, they could hardly have understood its meaning. Such saints become like the little plastic statues we see on the dashboard of cars, always smiling, never changing, eyes fixed constantly on the Lord.

But the saints are human like us. They eat and they drink. They laugh and they cry. They sometimes act heroically and they sometimes sin grievously. They change. They grow.

Today, in order to accent the humanity of our Vincentian saints, I want to focus on a few of their very human qualities. Biographers have often ignored some of these qualities, but to tell you the truth, I find them very interesting. I will describe five.

1. Louise de Marillac, the painter

Louise was a well-educated, cultured woman. She studied both French and Latin. She was read a lot, wrote well, eloquently at times, and had a subtle grasp of the theology of her era. She herself composed a catechism to help her sisters in teaching poor young girls. We still have the text today.

I am surprised that so little has been written about Louise as a painter. I don’t mean to say that she was a great artist, but her painting is surely an interesting facet of her personality.

We still have a number of her paintings. We know that there were many more. Louise called these “my way of amusing myself through images or other devotions” (ES 775).

Let me say a few words about each of these paintings.


We possess three watercolors done by Louise. The first depicts a young woman, representing Louise herself, seated by a river where there is a lovely view. Notice the towers in the building across the river, the trees, the flowers. The woman has just finished writing on a scroll the name of Jesus (which is upside down to the viewer). Louise has framed this scene with the words: “C’est le nom de Celui que j’aime” (It is the name of the one whom I love)”.

This painting is in the office of the Superior General at rue du Bac.


This second watercolor shows the Good Shepherd surrounded by his sheep. One of them has climbed onto Jesus’ lap and is quenching his thirst at the wound in Jesus’ side. Two others seem to be doing the same at Jesus’ feet. A fourth appears to be about to kiss Jesus.

Notice the background, which is quite detailed: the towers, a home, the fence, the river, a wall, the trees, birds, plants …


This third watercolor is of the Holy Family. Joseph is working as a carpenter, with the child Jesus watching and learning. Mary seems to be mending clothes. Notice the tools, the lumber, the wood scrapings on the ground, the house, the windows, the door, the paved terrace, the birds, the landscape, the trees …


Here is a much larger rendition of the Holy Family. This painting dates from the foundation of the first house of the Daughters of Charity in the Parish of St. Savior. When the house closed, the painting came to the Maison-Mère.

Mary and Joseph are standing, or perhaps walking, with Jesus, upon whom the Holy Spirit is descending. Joseph is adorned with the traditional lilies. Mary seems to be praying.


This medallion is in the Archives at rue du Bac and was formerly in the apartment of the Mother General. On the reverse side, as we shall see, is an attestation that it was painted by St. Louise.

A close photographic analysis of the painting showed a heart that the naked eye could barely see and that had gone unnoticed for years.

On the right banner near the head of Christ are written the words: “Learn from me that I am gentle …”, and on the left banner: “Come, blessed of my Father …”

It was to images like this that St. Louise was referring when she wrote to a sister, saying (ES 334): “Here are some images that I am sending you: a Lord of Charity to put in the room where you receive the poor and another for your own room.”


As you can see clearly, there is an attestation on the reverse side of the medallion stating: “Cet image a été peint de la propre main de la venerable Louise de Marillac, veuve de M. le Gras, secretaire de la reine Marie de Medicis, et 1ere Supérieure de la Compagnie. Morte le 15 mars 1660 (This image was painted by the very hand of the venerable Louise de Marillac, widow of Monsieur le Gras, secretary of the queen Marie de Medicis, and first Superioress of the Company. Died, March 15, 1660)”.


This painting is on the staircase near the office of the Superior General in the Maison-Mère of the Daughters of Charity on rue du Bac. St. Vincent and St. Louise distributed similar images, which they called the “Lord of Charity”. Vincent sent Louise the first such printed image, painted by an unknown artist, in January of 1640 (SV II, 10). Louise sent out a number of these images to the houses of the Daughters (cf. Ecrits Spirituel, 223, 334).

At the bottom of this painting someone has written in capitals: “Ce tableau a été peint par Mlle Le Gras notre mère et institutrice (This tableau was painted by Mademoiselle Le Gras, our mother and founder)”. In 1891 this painting was noticed in a chapel annexed to the cathedral of Cahors, where a house of the Daughters of Charity had been established in the time of St. Vincent and St. Louise. It is likely that this house, like many others (as we know from the writings of St. Louise), received a “Lord of Charity” painted by her. Such paintings were probably placed in the room or chapel where the Confraternities of the Ladies of Charity met, so that they might have an image of the Lord, their patron. It appears that, for some reason, the sisters in Cahors had a local artist add 25 centimeters of canvas around the painting, harmonizing the new canvas with the original painting and adding the inscription. The painting probably was sent to the chapel at the cathedral during the French Revolution when the sisters were expelled from the orphanage they ran in Cahors. In 1891, a member of the Conferences of St. Vincent de Paul drew it to the attention of a confrere, M. Méout, who was the superior of the major seminary there. The bishop of Cahors gave it to the Daughters at the Maison-Mère.

The painting shows Jesus, almost life-size, with open arms, his head inclined and his eyes lowered as if he were speaking, and offering his love to, a Christian who is imploring him. He is standing on a globe to signify that he is both its creator and its savior. His feet and hands show his wounds. His heart radiates rays of light.

This is really a remarkable image, if one considers that it was painted 50 to 60 years before St. Margaret Mary’s visions of the Sacred Heart. Louise’s devotion to the heart of Jesus probably has roots in the influence of St. Francis de Sales on her spirituality and in her contacts with the Capuchin sisters and with the Visitation sisters, who at that precise time were fostering devotion toward the sufferings and the five wounds of Christ. The heart that Louise paints is simpler that the one that Margaret Mary later popularized. It is without a flame. There is no crown of thorns. But it is one of the first such representations of the heart of Jesus that we know of. Some feel that the heart in this painting was added, but most likely it comes from the hand of St. Louise herself. It is interesting to note that St. Louise placed the heart of Christ on the seal of the Daughters of Charity too.

2. Pierre-René Rogue, the singer

Pierre-René is a fascinating character. Most of his life and ministry, and then his execution, took place in his hometown in Vannes where, before entering the Congregation of the Mission in 1786, he had served as a diocesan priest. His principal ministry in the Congregation was the formation of the clergy. The townspeople affectionately called him “the little priest”, since he was only four feet eleven inches tall. He was an only child. He had brown hair which fringed a mostly bald head, brown eyebrows, weak-sighted blue eyes, and a red beard.

When the French Revolution broke out, Rogue was utterly firm in rejecting the Civil Constitution of the Clergy and was outspoken in urging others to reject it too. When his own superior declared that he was disposed to take the oath, Rogue convinced him not to. He encouraged many others to refuse the oath too.

It was an odd, often awkward, period for the people of a small town like Vannes, most of whom loved Rogue. They wanted him alive rather than dead. At one time when he was living in hiding and ministering in secret he was asked to come to police headquarters to give the last sacraments to an officer’s wife. He went. No one bothered him at all.

Pierre-René was arrested on Christmas Eve in 1795, betrayed by a man named Le Meut whose family Rogue’s mother was helping economically. The townspeople, many of whom had been at school with him, offered him numerous opportunities to escape, but he refused, because he felt that his escape would bring reprisals on them. At his trial, held in the seminary chapel where he had prayed daily, the public prosecutor, who knew him well, refused to present the case against him. Even after he was sentenced to death, his friends tried to arrange an escape, but once again, fearing reprisals on them, he declined. As he went to his execution, (executed) at the age of 38, he offered his betrayer his watch. He also asked his mother to continue to help the betrayer’s family economically. His executioner was one of his former pupils and was very hesitant. Rogue told him to do what he had to do. He did.

His contemporaries attest that Rogue had a wonderful singing voice. In prison he encouraged others, heard their confessions, and shared with them the abundant food his mother sent him for his meals. He also wrote poetry and sang. On the way to the guillotine he sang a five-stanza hymn which he had composed in prison. Here it is .

Que mon sort est charmant,
mon âme en est ravie!
Je gofte en ce moment
une joie infinie,
que tout en moi publie
les bontés du Seigneur!
Ma misPre est finie,
je touche B mon bonheur.

J’ai servi Dieu, mon Roi,
en imitant son zPle ;
J’ai conservé la foi,
je vais mourir pour elle.
Que cette mort est belle,
et digne d’un grand cÉur!
Priez, peuple fidPle,
pour que je sois vainqueur!

O vous tous que mon sort
affecte et intéresse,
loin de pleurer ma mort,
tressaillez d’allégresse ;
Tournez votre tendresse
sur mes persécuteurs ;
Sollicitez sans cesse
la fin de leurs erreurs.

Hélas ! Ils ne sont plus
les enfants de lumiPre,
puisqu’ils n’écoutent plus
le successeur de Pierre ;
Mais puisqu’ils sont nos frPres,
chérissons-les toujours ;
N’opposons B leur guerre
que douceur et amour.

O Monarque des cieux,
O Dieu, plein de clémence,
daigne arrLter les yeux
sur les maux de la France!
Puisse ma pénitence,
égale B ses forfaits,
désarmer ta vengeance,
te la rendre B jamais!

How delightful is my destiny,
my soul is enthralled!
I sense at this moment
an infinite joy,
may all this is within me proclaim
the goodness of the Lord!
My misery is over,
I stand at the threshold of happiness.

I have served God, my King,
by imitating his zeal;
I have kept the faith,
I am about to die for it.
How beautiful is this death,
and worthy of a stout heart!
Pray, faithful people,
that I may be victorious!

O, all of you whom my destiny
touches and interests,
far from weeping at my death,
leap for joy!
Extend your tenderness
to my persecutors;
Seek without ceasing
the end of their errors.

Alas! They are no longer
children of light,
since they no longer listen
to the successor of Peter;
but since they are our brothers,
cherish them always;
Let us oppose this war of theirs
with only gentleness and love.

O Monarch of the heavens,
O God, full of mercy,
deign to fix your eyes
on the evils of France!
May my penitent suffering,
equal to her offenses,
disarm your vengeance,
and bring her back to you forever!

3. Justin De Jacobis, the cartoonist

Justin was a keen observer of life. He was always jotting down his thoughts and impressions. He was creative too. In a moment of boredom onboard ship, he wrote a poem, which appears in his Diary (I, 229). When a person or a place impressed him, he drew a sketch of it. Such sketches dot his diary. On one occasion he lamented that he did not have better paper to draw on (I, 186) and that, having no paintbrush, he had to use a very poor pen to “render what I think is the tenderest scene in the world”. Let me illustrate a number of Justin’s sketches for you.


In Part 3, p. 32, of his Diary, Justin expresses great admiration for how the Abyssinian painters expressed the figures of angels, represented Christian dogmas, and told the stories of the saints. He then begins to describe the paintings in a church dedicated to Mary in a town that he was visiting. He writes: “I feel the need that a missionary has to draw a little today …” He then focuses on the Holy of Holies within the church, noting that on its walls is painted a Cherubim which taken its sword from its scabbard and holds it in its hand.


In regard to the same church, Justin writes about the painting of the Universal Judgment, in which the Abyssinian painter has attempted to express: the resurrection of the dead by means of two Angels who are blowing trumpets, one on the right and one on the left; the separation of the good from the evil, who are with the Devil in the fire; the open book in which the good and evil done by each is inscribed; and how Christ the Judge has near him on the right Mary as the first among the saints.


This is a sketch of the front of the church at the hermitage in Debrà Dammo, which Justin describes (III, 183) as one of the most beautiful in Eastern Abyssinia. He states in his Diary that the central nave is divided from the two side aisles by four-meter-high cubical one-piece stone columns. The top of the columns are massive cubes upon which a cross is engraved and which hold up a stone architrave. The architraves have an architectural style unknown to Justin. There is a roughly sculptured frieze-work on their surface.

On the second level, one sees a part of the attic sectioned off (dipartito) into three small square spaces (quadretti) in whose opening (vano) can be seen, sculptured in wood a camel, a Grifone, and some other grotesque or imaginary figure.

It is not clear to me what the two door-like structures in the hill are. Are they entrances to tombs, about which Justin speaks a little later?

To get to the monastery, Justin says that he had to be harnessed and pulled up a sheer 45-foot cliff. When he got there, the monks prostrated before him. He tells how impressed he was by the fasting and nighttime prayers of the monks.

Justin drew this Abyssinian monk with little commentary, even though there are numbers to identify various objects: 1) an aspergillum; 2) a stole?; 3) a cross; 4) a rosary. Note the turban, the flowing robe, and the bare feet.


This sketch (III, 352) depicts the costume worn by the women among the Abyssinian soldiers in the army. Notice that Justin has written at the bottom “Soldata” and “Soldato” (female and male soldiers). The Diary provides almost no commentary on this drawing, except to say that he had come to a place where the families of soldiers lived. Notice the lance, the garments, the hair styles, and the bottles. Do I see a baby in this sketch? Is that a shield on the back of the person on the right?


This is a drawing of the “expedition” that accompanied Justin to Memsah (III, 413). Justin states that because the road was so full of thieves and murderers, he decided to travel in the poorest way; that is, on foot, with head uncovered, clothed in an old black habit. In the group were the elderly Atò Achilàs, two men from the town, two young Catholics, and a mule carrying grain and a bed. They set out quietly at two in the morning under a bright moon. Justin says that Atò Achilàs was always at the head of the group and was, though the oldest, the most vigorous. At dawn each of them took off his outer garment and wrapped it around his waist like a belt, with a tail hanging down in the back to his calf. They said to each other: “We are at the most dangerous spot. We have to move ahead quickly in silence, staying on the alert.” They then went on, Justin recounts, walking for 10 hours with a pace “that would have killed a greyhound.”


This sketch depicts funeral customs which Justin describes at considerable length on the previous page of the diary (III, 443-444), noting their great solemnity. Mourning lasts 8 days. People gather in the house, on the street, and in the church. Relatives and friends come from other villages. People wail aloud repeatedly. They scrape their left and right temple again and again with the edge of their garment, sometimes leaving very notable scratches. On the third day the solemn funeral takes place.

Near the entrance of this dead person’s house, his bed is placed outside. The bed has the forms of a long parallelogram with four legs (picchi), linked by four (assicelli) to which strips of leather are tied, so that a person can lie on it. The women cry out: “Lì, lì, lì”, which in some cultures is a cry of joy, but here is used at funerals. There is also dancing, which, Justin says, he has attempted to represent in the sketch.


This sketch shows a part of the hermitage at Debrà Bizèn (III, 465). Justin describes at length how difficult it was to climb up to this hermitage, perched high upon a mountain composed of huge granite stones, and how all drank some liquor they had found and were revivified by it, though the native guide thought he was dying of poisoning as he felt the effects of this mysterious beverage.

The Diary states that Debrà Bizèn lies at about 7000 feet, near a volcano, and is almost completely isolated. When they reached the top, they found a wooden pilgrim’s cross. Exhausted by the climb, Ghebre Michael, who accompanied Justin on this journey, threw himself on the ground at the foot of the cross and rested.

While Justin and his companions were there, the monastery was attacked, and Justin had to mediate peace.

He and his companions were eager to see the famous library of this monastery. They began by offering their hosts gifts. Justin writes: “In Abyssinia gifts always work miracles.” In the library they found about 300 books, mostly, as Justin puts it, “stories of the saints filled with countless incredible things which contradicted not only common sense but also the spirit of true Christianity.”


In this sketch, which is both playful and serious at the same time, we see a young boy of 4 or 5 years of age pulling on Justin’s beard (III, 516). Justin describes the boy as good-looking and almost completely naked, except for a poor goat skin draped over his shoulders; he was the only child of an impoverished woman who was dying. She can be seen wrapped in a cow skin, lying on the ground. Justin had gone to her hut, a cave, to hear her confession. The sketch is also a self-portrait. Justin writes: “The cute little child, meanwhile, without being afraid of me, as usually happens when Abyssinian children first see me, amused himself by stepping on my feet and pulling on my beard.”

4. Louis-Joseph François, the writer and homilist

Louis-Joseph, now largely forgotten, was well-known in his own time. But he happened to live at the most turbulent of times, especially if one were a French priest.

He was born in the tiny town of Busigny on February 3, 1751, the eldest surviving son of a farming family. After being educated by the Jesuits, he was received into the Congregation of the Mission when he was not yet 16 years old. He had to wait before pronouncing vows and again before being ordained to the priesthood because he was too young to meet the required age. Two of his brothers joined the Congregation and a sister became a Daughter of Charity.

He was bright and articulate. Even before his ordination he was sent to teach in the seminary. We know that in 1781 he was the superior at the seminary in Troyes. In 1786 he was named Secretary General of the Congregation. When the revolution came, he was (1788) superior at Saint-Firmin in Paris, the former Collège des Bons-Enfants. It was there that he was one of the many victims in the September Massacres, killed on September 3, 1792, thrown from a window to the ground below and then beaten to death by a group of women wielding clubs. A total of 72 persons were killed at Saint-Firmin that day.

But today I want to talk about his extraordinary gifts as a homilist and writer.

As a homilist, Louis-Joseph was much sought after. In July of 1786 he was one of the preachers at the centenary celebration of Saint-Cyr, a school founded by Madame de Maintenon, the second wife of Louis XIV. He gave a eulogy on the foundress that ran to 78 pages in print.

In December of 1787 he delivered the official funeral oration for Sr. Marie-Thérèse de Saint-Augustin, the daughter of King Louis XV. This too was published and ran to 95 pages.

While Secretary General, he lived at Saint-Lazare. A note in the collection of the circular letters of the Superiors General states that when Louis-Joseph was scheduled to speak at the Tuesday Conferences, “all the clergy of Paris” turned out.

He became a noted pamphleteer after the outbreak of the revolution, In November 1789 he wrote An Opinion on Church Property, arguing against the decision of the National Assembly to confiscate church property. In January 1791 he wrote Mon Apologie, explaining why he did not take the oath of fidelity to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy and encouraging others to refuse to do so too. This pamphlet ran through at least seven editions. Over the next few months he produced five other pamphlets. Then in April 1791 he composed The Defense of “Mon Apologie” against Monsieur Henri Grégoire, a constitutional bishop, who had attempted to refute him. This also ran to 7 editions.

When the National Assembly itself published a pastoral letter encouraging priests to take the oath, Louis-Joseph wrote An Examination of the National Assembly’s Instruction on the Constitution of the Clergy, a clever refutation of the Assembly’s position. Since one of the Assembly’s arguments for taking the oath was that refusal to take it would lead to schism, Louis-Joseph added another pamphlet, Reflections on the Fear of Schism. When the Assembly began to suggest that non-swearing priests should voluntarily resign their posts, Louis-Joseph countered with a pamphlet entitled No Resignation. Then he turned to priests who had already pronounced the oath and, in a pamphlet called There is Still Time, encouraged them to retract.

Next, attracted by a detailed work written by a theologian at the Sorbonne, he brought out a popular abridged edition of it, called At Last the People See. It went to four editions. In December of 1791 a new Assembly drew up a new oath which King Louis XVI refused to sanction. Louis-Joseph wrote, in defense of the king’s position, Apologia for the King’s Veto. That was his last venture into print.

5. Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac, the administrators

St. Vincent was realistic, practical. He believed that, without a solid economic base, the Congregation and the Daughters of Charity could not carry out their missions.

He said that he never accepted the proposal of “persons who have only the desire and do not wish to meet the costs” (SV VII, 208)! If the missionaries were to perform their services gratis, then they had to count on a financial base in the form of some kind of a fund or a source of regular income.

Vincent was remarkably creative in putting together foundations in order to support houses, missions, and other works. Funds for supporting our mission and our missionaries came from benefices, from the rights to claim taxes and duties, from wills, from properties, from donations, from coach-route businesses, and other sources. Among his most generous benefactors were King Louis XIII and his widow, as well as the Duchess d’Aiguillon. Strange as it may sound to us today, the main source of income for the missions in Algeria and Tunis was coach-route businesses in Chartres, Rouen, Orleans, Soissons, and Bordeaux.

In recent years, several writers have studied this subject; notable among these are José-María Román and Bernard Pujo.

Here is a list of Vincent’s foundations in the Congregation of the Mission:

  • 1625
    • Collège des Bons Enfants à Paris
  • 1632
    • St. Lazare
  • 1635
    • Toul
  • 1637
    • Aiguillon
    • La Rose
  • 1638
    • Richelieu
    • Lucon
    • Troyes
    • Alet
    • Annecy
  • 1641
    • Crécy
  • 1642
    • Rome
  • 1643
    • Marseille
    • Cahors
    • Sedan
  • 1644
    • Saintes
    • Montmirail
  • 1645
    • Le Mans
    • Saint Charles (Paris)
    • Genoa
    • Tunis
  • 1646
    • Algiers
  • 1648
    • Madagascar
    • Tréguier
    • Agen
  • 1650
    • Périgueux
  • 1651
    • Poland
  • 1652
    • Montauban (Notre Dame de Lorm)
  • 1654
    • Turin
    • Agde
  • 1658
    • Meaux
  • 1659
    • Montpellier
    • Narbonne

As you can see, Vincent founded, on the average, about a house a year between 1635 and 1659. That was a remarkable pace for someone who by all accounts moved slowly and never “stepped on the heels of providence.” But what is all the more remarkable is that he set up a foundation for the support of each of these houses. It is interesting to note that the geographical distribution of these foundations follows principally the locations of the pastoral and financial interests of St. Vincent’s most important contacts.

Here is a list of Vincent and Louise’s foundations for the Daughters of Charity:

Paris Houses

  • 1633
    • Principal House, rue des Fossés St Victor
  • 1634
    • Hospice for incurable women
  • 1635
    • St. Paul, school
    • Foundlings
  • 1641
    • Principal House, St. Laurent Parish, across from St. Lazare
  • 1643
    • St. Laurent
    • Holy Name of Jesus Hospice
    • St. Louis en l’Ile
    • Bel-Air, orphans
    • Saint Sauveur
    • Child Jesus, Notre Dame Hospice
    • St. André des Arts
    • St. Cosme
    • St. Jean en Grève
    • St. Martin
    • St. Nicolas
    • St. Marguerite
    • St. Etienne du Mont
  • 1655
    • the insane, Hospital of the Little Houses
    • St. Sulpice

War Zones served

  • around 1649 Picardy
  • 1641 & 1653 Sedan
  • around 1652 Étampes and elsewhere
  • 1653 Châlons and St. Menehould
  • 1657 Montmédy
  • 1658 Calais

Houses Outside of Paris

  • 1638
    • Richelieu
  • 1639
    • Angers Hospital
    • Sedan
  • 1641
    • Nanteuil
  • 1636/45
    • Liancourt
  • 1638/45
    • St. Germain en Laye
  • 1645
    • Morée Hospice
    • Saint Denis
    • Serqueux
  • 1646
    • Nantes
    • Fontainebleau
  • 1647
    • Chars
    • Montmirail
    • Montreuil
    • Chantilly
  • 1648
    • Dourdan
  • 1649
    • Fontenay aux Roses
  • 1650
    • Hennebonn
  • 1652
    • Brienne
    • Warsaw, Poland
    • Varize
    • Rueil
  • 1654
    • St. Fargeau
    • Châteaudun
    • Lublé
    • Videlles
    • Ste. Marie du Mont
  • 1655
    • Houilles
    • Bernay
    • La Roche Guyon
  • 1656
    • Arras
    • La Fère
    • Attichy
  • 1657
    • Cahors
  • 1658
    • Ussel
    • Metz
  • 1659
    • Narbonne
  • 1660
    • Moutiers St. Jean
    • Gex
    • Belle-Isle
    • Alençon

As you can see, Vincent and Louise founded, on the average, about two houses a year between 1633 and 1660. That was even more remarkable than the pace for founding the houses of the Congregation of the Mission. As with the Congregation of the Mission, foundations were set up to support the houses of the Daughters of Charity, and their geographical distribution followed principally the locations of the pastoral and financial interests of St. Vincent’s and St. Louise’s most important contacts. Vincent and Louise were good beggars and good negotiators.

Vincent recognized that Louise was an excellent administrator. He tells the Daughters’ General Council in 1655: “You have not had a superior who let the house go to ruin; on the contrary, she collected what was necessary to have a house. So you must thank God for having put you in such a state. I do not know of any house of sisters which is in your condition. No, I tell you, I do not know of any in Paris, and that, after God, is through the good administration of Mademoiselle.”

There is much more that one could say about St. Vincent as an administrator. In recent years, many contracts have been discovered in recent years that throw light on the question. For example, it is estimated that, during the relief work in war-stricken Lorraine, Vincent succeeded, over the course of ten years, in bringing help amounting to more than 1,500,000 livres, as well as 33,000 meters of various fabrics. Historians estimate that the livres come to roughly $60,000,000 in today’s currency.

That was just in Lorraine. If one adds to that the house of the Congregation of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity and the many other enterprises that Vincent was supporting, the sums of money that Vincent administered were huge.

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