He Lived a Good Life, Dedicated to Helping Others
What could have motivated Vincent de Paul to become such a compassionate helper of the poor? He himself was born to a humble peasant family who raised livestock and farmed in a small French village. Most people would assume that this was his motivating force, but in actual fact, Vincent grew to be ashamed of his origins while away at school. By the time he was a young man, he strived for a comfortable and scholarly life, far from the toiling underclass. So what changed his mind? While ministering to the wealthy people of Paris, he began visiting the sick, and befriended there another good and wise man who showed him that helping others could be so much more rewarding. His ambitions and travels brought him to other parts of France, and it is reported that he was once captured by the Turks and forced into slavery for several years. Once back home, he dedicated himself to teaching, and caring for the poor and imprisoned. He opened hospitals and an orphanage together with the financial help of some of his wealthy friends, and even motivated countless other people to dedicate their lives to caring for the needy and abandoned and to teaching them the Gospel. These societies that were formed to do this work still exist today and continue to touch the lives of others.