“Vincent dePaul – Patron and Client” – The website of the Australian Vincentians has a link to a study by Guy Hartcher CM.
“To understand M. Vincent de Paul as evangeliser and worker for the poor we must understand the socio-political world in which he lived. He was a worker of political charity, both liberated by and constrained by the French political world of his time. His life and work supports the hypothesis that the Vincentian charism is revolutionary in its aims, but that its methods work within the existing social structures, aiming to transform them in the service of the poor. Two elements of Vincent’s society delineate the world in which he lived. They are the fundamentally hierarchical nature of the culture, and the patronage system which provided that culture with an operating system to replace the almost defunct feudalism.”
He concludes, “His involvements in the wars of the Fronde, and especially in the provision of relief for the refugees, as well as his involvements over many years with the Ladies of Charity overflow with examples of the working of patrons and clients in those changing years of French national development.”
To read the full article click on “Vincent dePaul – Patron and Client” for a PDF copy.