Vincentian Places 04 – Toulouse

by | Apr 23, 2024 | Formation | 0 comments

Part of a Series on Vincentian Heritage Places

 

Toulouse

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Unlike the majority of aspiring priests in his time, who studied privately, Vincent was able to do his theological studies at the University of Toulouse, probably between 1597 and 1605. It is difficult to be certain about the exact dates. He lived at Collège de Foix at least for the majority of his time. The name of the college comes from Cardinal Pierre de Foix, who had it built and endowed between 1453 and 1457. This building still exists and is one of the finest and rarest examples of the local architecture of the fifteenth century. Fortunately, its appearance has not changed much since Vincent’s day. It consists of a central court surrounded by a cloister, and especially by a rectangular building, the donjon. This section contained a renowned library, of which the vaulted ceiling alone remains in the present chapel. There were student rooms above. The original chapel at the side of the college was taken down in 1850. In his time, it received some 25 students of civil and canon law and theology, together with professors. The name of his college lives on the Rue du Collège de Foix. Today the Collège de Foix is the motherhouse of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Compassion, founded by Maurice Garrigou (1766-1852). This priest, known as the “Vincent de Paul of Toulouse,” secured this property for his new congregation in 1817.

Pierre Coste recounts how disturbed the University of Toulouse was in Vincent’s time. Thousands of students from many countries attended lectures there, and it is no wonder that troubles broke out. Not fortunate enough to secure a scholarship, Vincent had at least enough money to enable him to begin his studies. His father’s will, dated 7 February 1598, asks that the family help Vincent continue them. He may also have spent some time at the University of Zaragoza in Spain, since it was not uncommon for students to travel and pick up information from famous lecturers when and where they could. It is likely that Vincent began his studies in Zaragoza and continued them in Toulouse.

After about seven years of philosophical and theological studies, he received his degree of bachelor in theology, receiving the title of maître. It is possible that he taught theology briefly at Toulouse, something his degree allowed. Other adventures then occurred in the life of this young priest.

Members of the Congregation of the Mission gave missions in the diocese of Toulouse beginning in 1632.

In 1752 the diocesan seminary was given to the care of the Vincentians. With the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1762, the seminary of the Mission was transferred to their former novitiate and house of continuing formation for their members.

The first Daughters of Charity came to Toulouse in 1789 to work in the Hôtel Dieu Saint Jacques. This splendid complex still stands next to the Pont Neuf, to which they returned in 1800. The Sisters also had several other houses here and continue their works. Vincentians returned in 1892, and the city is now the headquarters for the Vincentian province of Toulouse.

The first American Vincentians were the guests of the seminary toward the end of January 1816. They then moved on to Bordeaux, from where they embarked for the United States.

Source: VincentWiki

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