Vincent de Paul was born on April 24, 1581, in Pouy (now Saint-Vincent-de-Paul), France. He was educated by the Franciscans at Dax, France. He was ordained in 1600 and graduated from the University of Toulouse in 1604. He was allegedly captured at sea by Barbary pirates but escaped. He spent a year in Rome (Italy) and then went to Paris, France, where he remained permanently. Vincent de Paul placed himself under the spiritual guidance of the celebrated Cardinal Pierre de Bérulle, who entrusted him with the parish of Clichy, France.
After founding the Congregation of the Mission in 1625, Vincent de Paul established in and around Paris the Confraternities of Charity—associations of laywomen who visited, fed, and nursed the sick and poor. The wealth of these women, many of noble family, aided Vincent de Paul in establishing the foundling (children’s) hospital and other hospitals. With St. Louise de Marillac he cofounded the Daughters of Charity (Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul), an association patterned after the Confraternities of Charity. He died on September 27, 1660, in Paris. Vincent de Paul was canonized in 1737, and his feast day is September 27.