Tag Archives: France

Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)

St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent de Paul

Feast Day: September 25
Canonized: June 16, 1737

Vincent de Paul was born of poor parents in in Gascony, France. He was ordained a priest at the age of 19. Five years later, Barbary pirates took him captive and sold him as a slave in North Africa. He spent two years in bondage until he escaped with his master, whom he had converted.

In 1609, he returned to France, where he served as a parish priest. In 1617, he began to preach missions and founded the Ladies of Charity from a group of women in his parish to collect funds for missionary projects, to found hospitals, to gather relief victims for victims of war and to ransom galley slaves from North Africa. From that group came the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.

In 1625, de Paul laid the foundation for the Congregation of the Mission. Known as Vincentians, the congregation’s priests devoted themselves to the poor. Renowned for his compassion, humility and generosity, de Paul also conducted clergy retreats, helped establish seminaries and pioneered clerical training.

In 1885, Pope Leo XIII named him the patron of Catholic charitable societies.

BRIAN FRAGA is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

Peter Chanel (1803-1841)

Although ST. PETER CHANEL was born in France, he is the patron saint of Oceania . . .

Peter Chanel

Peter Chanel

Feast Day: April 28
Canonized: June 12, 1954

Born near Cuet, France, Pierre Marie Chanel worked as a shepherd boy and attended a small parish school. He attracted the attention of a visiting priest and was placed in a church-sponsored school in Cras. After reading letters from missionaries, Chanel was drawn to the missions. Ordained in 1827, his application to join the Society of Mary (Marists) was denied.

He served as a parish priest until the Marists accepted his application in 1831. During his first five years, he served as spiritual director at the seminary. Once the order received formal approval by Pope Gregory XVI, they were asked to send missionaries to the South Pacific. Chanel was named superior to seven Marist missionaries who set out on Dec. 24, 1836, for a 10-month journey. Chanel settled on the Tongan island of Futuna.

While initially well-received, Chanel’s presence threatened King Niuliki, who felt the Christian faith would undermine his authority. When his son sought baptism, King Niuliki sent the warrior Musumusu to “do whatever was necessary.” Feigning injury, the warrior sought Chanel’s help, then used an axe to club Chanel to death. Eventually, most of the island converted to Catholicism. Peter Chanel is the patron of Oceania.

TIM DRAKE is Legatus magazine’s editorial assistant.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897)

Feast Day: October 1

Doctor of the Church: 1997

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, also known as the “Little Flower,” was one of the most ambitious saints in history. As a young girl she was determined to become a saint. “I have the vocation of the apostle,” she wrote. “Martyrdom was the dream of my youth, and this dream has grown with me.”

Thérèse was born in Alençon, France, the daughter of Louis Martin, a watchmaker, and Zélie-Marie Guérin, a lacemaker. The Holy Father recently approved a miracle worked through the couple’s intercession. The couple will be beatified on Oct. 19 in Lisieux.

Thérèse joined the Carmelite Order in 1888 at the age of 15. She is known for her “Little Way.” In her quest for sanctity, she realized that it was not necessary to accomplish heroic acts or great deeds in order to attain holiness and to express her love of God.

She wrote, “Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers, and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.”

Thérèse’s dream of reaching far distant lands with the love of Christ as a missionary were fulfilled by daily offering her sweeping, washing dishes and praying for the salvation of souls — all of which she did with a profound understanding of the global repercussions of her offering to God.

The saint’s spiritual diary, The Story of a Soul, is recognized as one of the greatest spiritual works of the 19th century. Thérèse is one of three female Doctors of the Church. In recognition of her prayer commitment for missionaries, she was named Patroness of the Missions.

This column is produced for Legatus by the Dead Theologians Society, a Catholic apostolate for high school age teens and college age young adults. On the web: deadtheologianssociety.com.