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Celebrate Foundation Day Jan. 25

Vincentian Heritage Tour, Vincentian Mission Institute
(DePaul University/Jamie Moncrief)

The Vincentian Family celebrates Jan. 25 as the foundation day of the Congregation of the Mission and the anniversary of the first sermon on the mission Vincent de Paul preached. This date in 1617 marked the turning point and the turning question of Vincent de Paul’s life at the small parish church of Saint-Jacques in Folleville, France.

Soon after the Gondi family’s arrival in Folleville in mid-January, Monsieur Vincent was summoned to the death bed of an elderly peasant in the nearby town of Gannes. When Madame de Gondi later visited, this man told her of the great peace with which he now faced death after receiving the last rites from her chaplain. Madame de Gondi knew this was exactly the type of pastoral care the Church owed its believers, especially the poor peasants of the countryside. From her own experience, and her own observations, she had come to realize how seriously the Church was failing in its pastoral responsibilities.  

Urged on by this sense of responsibility Madame de Gondi turned to her trusted chaplain and spontaneously asked a simple but faith-filled question: “What must be done?” “What must “I” do? What must “you” do?  What must “we” do together to improve the Church’s ministry to the countless poor people of the countryside?” From this experience at Folleville, Vincent de Paul had discovered a mission, an enduring sense of purpose that would guide the rest of his life.

If you see a Vincentian or member of the Congregation of the Mission tomorrow, Jan. 25, be sure to wish them Happy Foundation Day! ​