Our Founder and our first Brothers were deeply marked by the giant of charity that was Monsieur Vincent.
The circumstances of our origin thus placed us naturally under the protection of Saint Vincent de Paul, the perfect model of the interior life and the active life.
Indeed, Monsieur Vincent was indeed the model that the Founding Father tried to imitate and the teacher with whom he was initiated into the works of Christian charity.
It was under his protection that Mr. Le Prevost first invited the Conference of Charityto place themselves, adding to the prayer of the Veni Sancte Spiritus, the invocation, Sancte Vincentii a Paulo, ora pro nobis. Saint Vincent de Paul pray for us.
Le Prevost also hadThe Life of Saint Vincent de Paulreprintedby Abelly, (adding to it the life of his first successor, M. Alméras), to offer a model and a rule to “all those who, in whatever condition, wish to follow the degrees of evangelical perfection, to become living images of the Man-God, and formulate, following the example of Vincent and Alméras, their whole life on this divine Model”.
As president of the St-Sulpice Conference, he endeavored to inculcate in its members “the true spirit of Saint Vincent, this spirit of piety, simplicity, charity and fraternal union”.
It was at the foot of the shrine of the great saint, as we know, that he wanted to give birth to his Congregation, and it was there, for years, that his devotion directed his steps each morning to attend the holy mass.
But it was especially in his sons that he wanted to inculcate the cult of Saint Vincent and the imitation of his virtues.
Let’s glean some of his exhortations from his letters:
“I rejoice more and more that God has given him as our patron, his life is, proportionately, like the Holy Gospel: the more one reads it, the more light and holiness one finds in it. It is that holiness is, in fact, only the realization of the gospel light, an outpouring of the spirit of Jesus Christ in his saints. »
“Invoke this holy protector of our little family, so that all of us, following his example, may be servants of God, humble, devoted, patient and charitable”.
“We are the servants of the poor and the children of Saint Vincent de Paul: in these two respects, the Congregation must not take on grand appearances, but it must aspire to be small and ignored”.
“…My brothers, may our filial love bring us together to honor our patron saint, Saint Vincent; our first care must be to give glory to him who made him great and holy and who manifests in him his power, his wisdom and his love. If after this first look at God, we consider Saint Vincent in relation to us, we find that he has been given to us by God as patron, and father, and model. »
“…Let us labor ardently at the work of our sanctification, our eyes on Jesus, our type and model, on Saint Vincent his faithful imitator; …three things will certainly lead us there as they led Saint Vincent and all the other saints: faithful correspondence to grace, generous and constant mortification, finally the spirit of prayer, the love of prayer and the holy Eucharist. »
At the end of his life, he addressed to his sons this supreme recommendation:
“I am gathering what little strength I have left to pray to God to preserve the little Community in the spirit of Saint Vincent de Paul, in a great spirit of humility, simplicity and charity. I can no longer do anything, but every day I offer my sufferings for this intention.