Given all the blood that is being shed today it might be easy to forget that Vincent was not no stranger to bloodshed and war. So it is legitimate to ask “What would Vincent do” (WWVD) or better yet, “What did Vincent do?” We are blessed with an article “Vincent de Paul and Peace” which provide much food for thought.

A few insights…

Vincent de Paul cares for war wounded_jpg

“Beside some brief and short-lived periods of peace, the century in which Vincent lived was a century of war: people suffered the consequences of the wars of religion and the upheavals of the civil wars which were often complicated by foreign wars and continual threats from the Muslim world.”

“Vincent, who had dedicated his life to the service of the poor, became concerned about providing for those persons who had been ruined by the war. He was not satisfied with collaborating in other initiatives that had been begun but rather organized the collection of money and supplies and then delivered and distributed these goods to the people who had been devastated by the war.”

“We have at our disposal accounts from the confreres who spoke about burying the dead, distributing food to the hungry and seeds and other tools to farmers. In Paris Vincent provided for the refugees, especially women religious, young women and girls … all of whom were arriving in Paris from the countryside.”

“Vincent was not afraid to confront Cardinal Richelieu and plead for peace. Later during the winter of 1649 he risked his own life when he sought peace from Queen Anne of Austria and once against took the same risk in 1652 when he spoke with Cardinal Mazarin and reminded him about the lessons that could be learned from French history. Fearing no one and nothing Vincent revealed himself as a tireless artesian of peace.”

“His desire for peace, however, did not lead him into a position of blind pacifism and this is reflected in his stance with regard is Islam.”

Please read the full article Source

Questions for reflection and dialog

[A] Violence and insecurity are aspects of our daily reality. Some people fear war; others are living in the midst of war; still others want war to occur. What is our reaction to the reality of war and violence?

[B] Blessed are the peace makers! Peace will become a reality if……

[C] There are individuals and organizations who seek to resolve the causes of conflict. How do I participate in systemic change strategies?


For more on Vincent and War Relief

“If Vincent de Paul has earned the titles of “Father of the Poor” and “Apostle of Charity,” he won them not because of his direct service of the needy but because of his indirect service, the creation of institutions to meet the needs of the underprivileged. He revealed this special genius clearly in his efforts to bring relief to Lorraine which was ravaged by war during his lifetime. He never visited this devastated province. Yet his correspondence details at length his efforts to relieve the sufferings of the people caught up in the maelstrom of war. During the first half of the seventeenth century the Thirty Years War ravaged Europe. At times French gold subsidized the Protestant forces in central Europe in the struggle to defeat the dynastic designs of the Hapsburgs to dominate Germany. In the 1630’s the fortunes of war and political intrigue brought the conflict to the frontiers of France.”

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