Quotations from St. Vincent de Paul

Quotations from St. Vincent de Paul's Conferences with the Daughters of Charity

"...rise at five o'clock, whenever your work in connection with the Confraternity of Charity has permitted for your going to bed at ten, for you must take care of yourselves so as to serve the poor and render your bodies what is justly their due."  v.1, p. 2

"... when you leave prayer and Holy Mass to serve the poor, you are losing nothing, because serving the poor is going to God and you should see God in them."   v.1, p 4

"... the poor ... you are not to attend to their bodies solely; you are also to help them to save their souls.  Above all, urge them to make general confessions, bear patiently with their little fits of bad temper, encourage them to suffer patiently for the love of God; do not get angry with them and never speak to them harshly.  They have enough to do to put up with their illnesses.  Reflect that you are their visible angel guardians, their father and mother, and do nothing to oppose them except in such things as are bad for them for, in that case, it would be cruelty to yield to their importunities.  Weep with them; God made you their consolers."   v.1, p. 4-5
 "... honour the sick and look on them as your masters."   v.1, p. 6

"... you must strip yourselves of all things and possess nothing of your own ... Providence will never fail you.  Will you not have sufficient courage to give yourselves to God who thinks so much of you?  ...  Rich people may become poor, owing to accidents which frequently occur, but those who are resolved to depend utterly on Providence shall never be poor."   v.1, p. 9

"To be daughters of Charity is to be Daughters of God, daughters who belong entirely to God, for whosoever is in charity is in God and God in him."   v.1, p. 12

"To be true Daughters of Charity you must do what the Son of God did when He was on earth.  And what did He chiefly do?  After submitting His will, by obeying the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, He laboured unceasing for His neighbour, visiting and healing the sick and instructing the ignorant unto their salvation ..."  v.1, p. 13

"... always do what you can so that, prayer being your first occupation, your mind may be filled with God for the rest of the day.  It is true that, in case of necessity, you prefer the service of the poor to making your prayer but, if you take care, you will find plenty of time for both."  v.1, p. 28-9

"A sister pointed out that she had great difficulty in making her prayers and had no liking for it ...  Each one can take her stand at the foot of the Cross, in the presence of God and, if she had nothing to say to Him, let her wait till He speaks to her; if He should leave her there, let her remain there willingly and await from His bounty the grace of either speaking or of listening to Him."  v.1, p. 46

"You should highly esteem the name you bear.  It was not men who gave it to you; and that is indeed the most certain testimony that it comes to you from God Himself.  ... in the course of time, when people saw you entirely devoted to the service of the poor, and other good works, they called you ... Daughters of Charity...  What do you think is the meaning of this beautiful title: Daughters of Charity?  Nothing else than Daughters of the good God, because whoever is in charity is in God and God is in him.  Hence you should be kind and gracious in the highest degree and a school of all the virtues. "  v.1, p. 48

"... the poor have the hounour to represent the members of Jesus Christ Who regards the services rendered to them as rendered to Himself.  ... the poor have the image of God imprinted on them."  v.1, p. 56

"... the chief aim of the Daughters of Charity is to imitate the life of Jesus Christ on earth."  v.1, p.  57

"Do you know what obedience means to you?  It serves the same purpose for you as a boat does for those at sea.  The boat encloses all who are in it and brings them safe to port.  If the boat is wrecked and breaks in pieces on the open sea, all within perish.  The same holds true of you, my dear Sisters; as long as you remain within the bounds of exact obedience to your superiors, your rules and Divine Providence, you will go straight to God, but, if you abandon this, you will certainly suffer shipwreck."  v.1, p. 62

"Our dear St. Genevieve ... also loved poverty, and all good Daughters of Charity should have an affection for the practice of this virtue.  I said practice, my daughters, because it would not be enough to love virtue, as it were, from the outside.  We should love the lack of necessities we may have to put up with, and not complain about things we do not possess. ... people will know you are true Daughters of Charity if you have no ambitions and are content with what has been given you by the grace of God."  v.1, p. 80

"... not to worry about the future; spend what you are accustomed to spend throughout the year, and, if anything remains over, bring it to the Mother-house with the idea of assisting to train Sisters for the service of the poor.  You have a right only to food and clothing; the surplus belongs to the service of the poor."  v.1, p. 81

"...  God is faithful to His promise and He is very, very good to those who trust in Him, and this trust is the entire wealth of the Daughters of Charity and their whole assurance."  v.1, p. 82

"And here, my daughters, is another great means to maintain union and cordiality amongst you; if you see you have saddened a sister, ask her forgiveness, at once, if you can, or at least do so in the evening, because to sleep with anger in your heart is a great piece of cowardice.  Not only is it the duty of a Daughter of Charity, but also of every good Christian, for God has said: 'Let not the sun go down on your wrath.' "v.1, p.  109

"You should also show great respect for one another, my daughters, bearing in mind that you are all equally in the service of the same Master and hence are bound to hold one another in greater honour than if you were in the service of the greatest lords in the world."  v.1, p. 110

"... you must know that one can show two sorts of respect to others.  One is grave and serious; the other cordial and kind.  Serious respect is often forced; it is the respect of inferiors to superiors; it is sometimes shown rather from fear than good-will, and hence is neither cordial nor genuine.  My daughters, the respect which you should show each other should always be accompanied by a sincere cordiality, that is to say, by a genuine sense of reverence, the way in which angels respect each other.  v.1, p. 129

"But do you know what it is to labour in charity?  It is to labour in God, for God is charity, and it is to labour for God purely and entirely; it is to do so in the grace of God."  v.1, p. 221

A Selection of Prayers St. Vincent de Paul said at the End of His Conferences with the Sisters in
the Motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity, beginning in 1634


"I implore God, the source of charity, to grant you the grace to learn how to serve the sick poor corporally and spiritually in His Spirit, and in the perfect imitation of the Spirit of His son, and also to bless you."   v.1, p.55

"O God, we give ourselves to Thee for the accomplishment of Thy designs on us; we confess we are unworthy of this grace, but we ask it of Thee by the love of Thy Son; we ask it of Thee by the Blessed Virgin; we ask it of Thee by our Sisters whom in Thy goodness, Thou hast already taken to Thyself in Thy holy paradise. Grant it unto us, O Lord, for Thy glory, and bless us."   v.1, p.113-4

"May the Divine Goodness, the source and fountain-head of true union, grant you the grace to avoid all the evils caused by disunion, and may God, for His own glory, ever keep you in perfect union with Himself and with your neighbour by true charity."   v. v.1, p.101

"I beseech the Divine Goodness to bless you by bestowing on you the gentle kindness of true Daughters of Charity, mutual forbearance in your weaknesses, the grace of reconciliation with one another, if any little difficulties arise amongst you."   v.1, p. 52

"I beseech Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has brought you together that you may follow the example of His holy life, I beseech Him to grant you His Spirit unto the observation of your rules, to give you the grace to imitate Him in His humility, simplicity and gentleness, that you may edify one another and be in good odour with all, in accordance with God's designs."  v.1, p. 187

These quotes are taken from "The Conferences of St. Vincent de Paul to the Sisters of Charity," translated from the French by Joseph Leonard. Newman Press, 1952.

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