Vincentian Fathers and Brothers: Our Story

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St. Vincent de Paul with Jesus icon Photo: DePaul University

St. Vincent was born in Southwest France in 1581, and after his schooling, ordination to the priesthood, and role as pastor at a parish in a small village near Paris, he became tutor to the household of the wealthy and influential Gondi family, Vincent began giving missions on the estates of Madame Di Gondi. After hearing the confession of a dying peasant who relayed the freedom he felt from being released of years and years of sins, in the same year, Vincent preached on the need for general confession. The response was so overwhelming that Vincent had to get help from other priests to hear all the confessions. Vincent considered this sermon to be the first sermon of the Mission, the beginning of the Congregation of the Mission or Vincentian Fathers and Brothers.

About 190 years later in 1814, the Vincentian Fathers and Brothers expanded to America and established a college seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. From there, seminaries and missions expanded to Chicago and New Orleans, to the East in Philadelphia and to the West in Los Angeles and Monterey, California. Vincentians in America continue the mission of evangelizing and serving the poor and training seminarians in the mission, to also assisting in foreign missions, educational work, and chaplaincies to hospitals, prisons, and the armed forces.