In a letter to St Jane de Chantal in 1639, St Vincent de Paul wrote: ‘Because you wish to know what constitutes our humble way of life, I shall tell you then, most worthy Mother, that our Little Company is established to go from village to village at its own expense, preaching, catechising, and having the poor people make general confessions of their entire past life. We try to settle the disagreements we find among them and do all we can to see that the sick poor are assisted corporally and spiritually by the Confraternity of the Charity, composed of women, which we set up in the places where we give the mission and which desire it. … We live in the spirit of the servants of the Gospel with regard to the bishops. When they tell us: “Go there,” we go; “Come here,” we come; “Do that,” we do it; and that is how we act in what concerns the functions mentioned above. As for the internal discipline of the Company, that depends on a superior general. Most of us have made the three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and a fourth to devote ourselves all our life to the assistance of the poor common people’.

His work is continued today in the Vincentian family, notably in the admirable work of the St Vincent de Paul Society. May his passion for the service of the poor bear much fruit in our own times, and may God bless you this day.