“Our vocation is to go, not just to one parish, not just to one diocese, but all over the world; and do what? To set people’s hearts on fire, to do what the Son of God did. He came to set the world on fire in order to inflame it with His love. –St. Vincent de Paul, 30 May, 1659
After a long and determined search for meaning and spiritual depth in his life, Saint Vincent de Paul had a life-changing conversion experience that led him to found a community of priests and brothers he called the “Congregation of the Mission.” Their mission was simple, but profound: to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to the poor. Four centuries later, as disciples of Jesus Christ and followers of Vincent, we serve Christ in the poor and embrace God’s poor as full members of the Body of Christ.
In his early years, Vincent’s search had led him to seek prestige and status among the wealthy and powerful. But even after attaining a comfortable life as the chaplain on the estate of a wealthy family, Vincent felt lasting emptiness and unease. Relief came in an unlikely way: by entering into the world of the poor and those living on the margins.
In hearing the confession of a laborer on the estate, Vincent found great spiritual poverty among the people. He began to preach parish missions to revive their faith, give them the sacraments, and instruct them in Catholic doctrine. In addition, Vincent saw direct service to the poor as a key part of his vocation. He founded “Confraternities of Charity” in parishes where missions were preached, so the laity could serve the poor.
“The whole purpose of the Congregation is: to have a genuine commitment to grow in holiness…on the virtues which the Master Himself taught us by what He said and did; to preach the good news of salvation to poor people, especially in rural areas; and to help seminarians and priests grow in knowledge and virtue, to be effective in their ministry.” – St. Vincent de Paul, Common Rules
St. Vincent’s work of providing for the spiritual and temporal needs of the poor continues in the community he founded, the Congregation of the Mission. Known also as “Vincentians,” we are a community of priests and brothers who continue his two-fold mission: to preach the Gospel to the poor and assist in the formation of clergy. We are searchers who, like Vincent serve Christ in a shared life of prayer, community, and a common mission. As an international community, we serve the Church across the world.
If you are searching for ways to better know, love, and serve Jesus Christ in a life of prayer, community and service, then the way of Vincent de Paul can become your way. Vincentian priests and brothers follow the way of Jesus and St. Vincent, striving to follow the “golden rule” of our Holy Founder: “live together in the manner of dear friends.”
“Let us love God, my brothers, let us love God, but let it be with the strength of our arms and the sweat of our brow.” St. Vincent de Paul
For those considering the Vincentian way, we are men on a mission to serve Christ in the poor. We seek young men in good health between the ages of 18-40 who wish to join us in community. As a ‘community for mission’ we are an active group, always searching for new ways to draw strength from a common life and the ministries that we share.
Those searching for a comfortable or easily predictable life should look elsewhere than the Congregation of the Mission. St. Vincent formed us to follow Jesus Christ, the first and foremost evangelizer of the poor. Vincent called us to emulate Jesus as the one who sought “not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for the many.” (Mark 10:45)
Those searching will find a warm welcome at Vincentian houses and ministries. Our men in seminary formation will freely share their own vocation stories and experiences as they prepare to make a commitment to Christ and the Church in the Vincentian way.