Saint Vincent de Paul was born in France, in 1581, to hard working parents who owned a small farm. In order to give him a good education, his father placed him under the care of the Franciscans Recollects. Gifted with a keen mind, the saint was able to finish his studies and be ordained a priest at the young age of twenty. In 1605, while on a sea voyage, Saint Vincent was captured by pirates and sold as a slave in North Africa. After two years as a slave, he escaped and returned to France, together with his captor, a former Christian who had been coerced into becoming a Muslim and whom he converted back to Christianity. In 1625, he founded the Vincentians, an order of priests who devote themselves to missions, especially to those in small towns and the countryside. Together with Saint Louise de Marillac, in 1633 he founded the Daughters of Charity, a well-known order of religious sisters dedicated to charitable works.
During times of war, Saint Vincent de Paul would raise funds and send his missionaries to relieve the sufferings of the poor in the affected countries. With his help, more than 1200 Christian slaves were ransomed from the Muslims in North Africa. He assisted King Louis XIII at the time of his death and became a counselor to the queen, Anne of Austria. Amidst so many great matters, his soul was always united to God. He maintained constantly a serene and humble attitude. In the autumn of 1660, after suffering much from ill‐health, he died calmly in his chair. His body is incorrupt and can be seen today at the Shrine of Saint Vincent de Paul in Paris.