Vincent de Paul

Vincent de Paul: The Making of an Icon

Funded by IRCHSS Research Fellowship Project Grant, 2009-10


Dr Alison ForrestalProject Leader
Dr Felicia RosuPostdoctoral Researcher


The purpose of this project is to deepen historical understanding of the character and evolution of early modern catholicism through study of the values and activities of a leading ecclesiastical figure, Vincent de Paul (1581-1660). It sets de Paul's life within the political, social and religious context of the Catholic Reformation and early modern France, as a case-study in how leading figures within French catholicism moulded church, state and society after Trent. De Paul's involvement in Catholic affairs was wide-ranging and extremely influential; as a major Dévot of the French Catholic Reformation, his interest in renewing the church led him towards the foundation of three religious associations between 1617 and 1633 (the Congregation of the Mission, and two types of confraternal group, the Dames de la Charité (Ladies of Charity) and Filles de la Charité (Daughters of Charity), which concentrated on the cultivation of the ‘active Christianity' characteristic of Catholic reform. The organisations grew significantly during his tenure as founding superior general of the Congregation, and were a key element in the recovery of Catholic vitality and piety in France after the fragmentation of the Religious Wars.

Project Initiatives, 2009-10

  • Examination and collation of relevant documentation in the papal archives of Propaganda Fide, Congregazione delle Cause dei Santi, and Series Nunziatura di Franzia.
  • Preparation of an annotated catalogue of papal sources relevant to de Paul (1625-1737) for multimedia publication.