27 September 1660 – Saint Vincent de Paul dies

350 years ago today, September 27, 1660 at 4:45 a.m., after long time illness Monsieur Vincent de Paul died peacefully in his room in Maison St. Lazare, Paris, France. He was a priest, reformer of the Church, founder and first Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission, Father of the Poor. Have a look at how historians report on his death:

Pierre Coste describes last moment of St. Vincent de Paul “In Paris, at a quarter to five in the morning, in his room, on his chair by the fireplace, and dressed, without effort or convulsion, Monsieur Vincent dies. And his face, his face of eighty years, is at once a majestic beauty, everyone is surprised. Although since the beginning of the year, Monsieur Vincent has not left his room, he was still busy with matters until September 14, and always with the same lucidity. But on 14th, his old legs have started to flow: their ulcers have grown to the size of a finger. Then from 19, exhausted by his suffering, deprived from sleep for many nights, the dear old man fell into a state of slumber, and he came out intermittently. On September 26, at half past six in the evening, the last rites were administered.

Then, he himself did a noticeable effort to recite the Confiteor. Since that moment, Monsiur Vincent has had the strength to utter, from time to time, one word, one syllable. And Monsieur. Gicquel who, at about two o’clock in the morning on 27th, with well-intentioned zeal which was also untimely, he suggested, without stopping, pious invocations, the holy Founder who, for eighteen years, is preparing two times a day to death, replied: “Enough …” He repeated, however, one last time: “Jesus”, before being seized by the agony hiccups. And so, without historical words, “plainly and simply” Monsieur Vincent died, worn out by his fifty years of total dedication to the service of total Charity” (SV III, pp. 445-455).

Monsieur Gicquel, who was present at the time of his death writes in his diary: “Around four his face was covered with the brilliant and pleasing flushness. It seemed that his face was on fire. Then a little later his face became white as snow. As he experience the nearness of death he repeated the words ‘Deus in adiutorium..etc”. He repeated these words never closing his lips but just moving them: Deus in adiutorium, etc. Those present said: ‘Jesus’ and he repeated the word, again just moving his lips. The attack became more severe and around four-thirty he began his final struggle which lasted for another fifteen minutes. There were no convulsions or gasping for air. He died, handing himself over to the hands of the Lord. He died seated, very majestic and appeared calm and peaceful as never before.”


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