Who was St. Vincent de Paul? The charitable organisation founded in his name ensures that he remains familiar, but what was the background and history of this French Catholic priest, canonized in the eighteenth century? This year is the 400th anniversary of organisations taking him as patron and source of inspiration.
A major new book by NUI Galway historian Alison Forrestal explores the thought and activities of the most famous figure of the seventeenth-century French Catholic Reformation. Her new book, Vincent de Paul, the Lazarist Mission, and French Catholic Reform, published by prestigious Oxford University Press, will be launched at NUI Galway’s Moore Institute on the Wednesday, 27 September.
Dr Forrestal’s book explores how Vincent de Paul turned a personal vocational desire to evangelise the rural poor of France into a congregation of secular missionaries, known as the Congregation of the Mission or the Lazarists. In the process he created a distinctive and influential vision for missionary life and work, and transformed the character of devotional belief and practice within the church. This is the first book to assess de Paul’s activities against the backdrop of religious reform and rule by the French Bourbon monarchy.