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St. Vincent de Paul and the Organization of Charity

by | Sep 27, 2019 | Formation

Vincent accomplished miracles. But he clearly did not do it alone. Anyone the least bit familiar with operational detail knows that the key to such outstanding results is organization. While Vincent clearly initiated and participated in preaching and direct charitable work, it has become apparent that he did not personally spend many hours cradling infants in his arms or serving in soup kitchens. As founder and director of major organizational enterprises, Vincent’s day was filled with the sort of activities we would– in our time– associate more with a managing director than a saintly priest. He carried on a vast correspondence (some 30,000 letters over his lifetime), chaired or participated in countless meetings, spent hours dealing with personnel issues, and managed a complex financial conglomerate supporting the work of the Vincentian organizational family.

[This Vincent] is still the simple, straightforward, gentle and immensely caring priest, concerned for both the spiritual and bodily welfare of the poor. But he is also something of an organizational genius, with the skills of a highly regarded management consultant or corporate leader.

from: “‘There Is Great Charity, But …’ Vincent de Paul and the Organization of Charity,” by Thomas G. Fuechtmann, Ph.D. Vincentian Heritage Journal: Vol. 26 : Iss. 1, Article 5.

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From a big-picture perspective, the nature of Vincent’s achievement emerges. He not only inspired great charity, he organized it and made it effective.


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