DePaul University: St. Vincent’s Reading List

Memoires de la Reyne Marguerite, by Marguerite de Valois and Auger de Mauléon. Brussels: F. Foppens, 1658.

Call Number: SpC. 944.031092 M331mr1658

A full-text version of this volume may be viewed here.


As far as we can tell, the young Vincent de Paul arrived in Paris by late 1609 or early 1610 and took up a position as one of the chaplains in the household of Queen Marguerite de Valois. The Queen was one of the daughters of King Henry II of France and Catherine de’ Medici, and sister to three French kings: Francis II, Charles IX, and Henry III. From 1572 until 1599 she was married to the Protestant Henry of Navarre as he struggled to win the French throne. Her marriage to Henry (eventually crowned King Henry IV of France) was childless, and since the new Bourbon King desperately desired an heir their union was annulled in 1599. Henry IV quickly married Marie de’ Medici and produced an heir he needed to secure the dynasty: the future Louis XIII. Marguerite spent the last sixteen years of her life living in her Left Bank palace in Paris.


Marguerite de Valois

Both Louis Abelly and Pierre Coste portray Vincent de Paul’s three years of service to the queen as a key period of conversion in the life of the saint. According to their accounts, this period saw Vincent being publicly accused of theft of by a roommate, his temptation against faith, and his service to the sick-poor at the charity hospital not far from the queen’s palace. Contemporary historiography has raised serious doubts about these accounts. In 1613, Vincent de Paul left the queen’s service and entered into service to the powerful ducal family of Philippe-Emmanuel de Gondi, Duke de Retz. Marguerite of Valois died in Paris at the age of 61 on 27 March 1615.

Marguerite as a Valois princess and as the wife of Henry of Navarre was a witness to, and played a central role in, the last phases of France’s long religious wars and the struggle for succession. At times she was a pawn in the struggles (she was held under house arrest by her brother Henry III for eighteen years), while at others she was an independent actor. She was an intelligent, articulate, beautiful, stylish, and highly literate princess who was simultaneously worldly and conventionally pious. Her historic role and accomplishments have always been under-appreciated because of the double-standards of historiographic misogyny.

The present work is a 1658 edition of her famous memoirs, first published in 1628. The work traces her life up to 1582 and is filled with fascinating insider details of the royal and political struggles of the period. The volume proved very popular and quickly went through many editions in Vincent’s lifetime.

Newsnote: Sickinger biography of Ozanam to be published in 2017 by University of Notre Dame Press


Raymond Sickinger’s biography of Antoine Frédéric Ozanam is more than a chronological account of Ozanam’s relatively brief but extraordinary life. It is also a comprehensive study of a man who touched many lives as a teacher, writer, and principal founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Ozanam’s life encompassed a particularly turbulent time in French history, and he was a witness to two major political upheavals—the overthrow of the Bourbon dynasty that brought Louis Philippe to power in 1830, and the end of Louis Philippe’s “Bourgeois Monarchy” as a result of the 1848 Revolutions. This book examines Ozanam’s life in a variety of ways. First, it explores the various roles he played throughout his life—son, sibling, student, member of and an inspiration for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, spouse and father, scholar, and spokesperson for the common people. Second, it examines the lessons he learned in his life, including the importance of friendship, the meaning of solidarity, and the role and purpose of suffering, among many others that he shares with those who study his thought and work. It concludes with an account of Ozanam’s enduring legacy.

Antoine Frédéric Ozanam feared that he would not have a fruitful career, but his legacy remains a powerful testimony to his greatness. This book will interest scholars wishing to know more about Ozanam and the period in which he lived, as well as a wider audience including those who are aware or are members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

“This is likely to become the definitive biographical work on Ozanam for the foreseeable future.” — David L. Gregory, St. John’s University

ISBN: 978-0-268-10142-8
460 pages

History of the Daughters of Charity, 17th-20th c.

Daughters of Charity’s school, Japan, Takaoka (before 1964). © Archives des Filles de la Charité, Paris.

I’m delighted to announce the publication of an edited volume of essays about the Daugthers of Charity.

More than twenty scholars have studied the history of the Sisters of St Vincent de Paul from 17th to 20th c. thanks to their archives recently opened, specially those kept at the mother house in Paris, crossed with local, private as well as public, sources.

Specialists of different fields could be interested : women and gender studies, religious history, transnational and colonial studies, nursing, history of education, spirituality, etc.

A nice iconography is also presented.


Matthieu Brejon de Lavergnée (ed.), Des Filles de la Charité aux Soeurs de Saint-Vincent-de-Paul. Quatre siècles de cornettes (XVIIe-XXe siècle), Paris, Honoré Champion, 2016.

Table of contents & more information:…

Book of the Week: “Protestant Sisters of Charity.”

This Vincentian Studies Institute research library at the John T. Richardson Library of DePaul University has acquired a rare copy (1826) of Alexander Dallas’ proposal for the establishment in England of a Protestant version of the Soeurs de la Charite of France.  Dallas (1791-1869) was an Anglican clergyman interested in the conversion of Catholic in Ireland among other causes. His father had been a friend of Lord Byron.

Newsnote: Vincentian Rare Book Purchase: The Berceau of Saint Vincent de Paul: 1906

“Le Berceau de Saint Vincent de Paul. Nouveaux Documents sur la Famille et sur la Maison Natale de Saint Vincent. 24 Avril 1906. 330e anniversaire de la naissance de Saint Vincent de Paul.” This volume contains much interesting information on these topics including the above illustration which shows the historic re-alignment and re-creation of St. Vincent’s birthplace for the 1864 creation of the modern Berceau.

Newsnote: Vincentiana Purchase of the Week “The Berceau of Saint Vincent de Paul.”

The Vincentiana Collection at Archives and Special Collections of DePaul University recently purchased a turn of the 20th century commemorative book on the Berceau of Saint Vincent de Paul. The work illustrates the shrine, the orphanage, hospice, and ecole apostolique all works of the confreres and sisters that surrounded the shrine. Of particular interest is a rare view of the previous shrine.

Update on Online Source

‘Vincentian Missionaries in Seventeenth-Century Europe and Africa: A Digital Edition of Sources from the Vatican Archives’

We are constantly adding to the catalogue and transcriptions for this collection. There are now 690 documents catalogued and published, along with an extensive biographical dictionary and other supporting materials.

Please see, for further information, and bookmark and share the site!

DRMA Fall Quarter Lecutre: Balm of Hope

Sr. Betty Ann McNeil, D.C. gave a lecture about her recently published book Balm of Hope. Sr. Betty Ann a scholar in residence at DePaul University.

Sr. McNeil’s discovery of 500 pages of handwritten memoirs by Daughters of Charity Civil War nurses led her into a multi-year project to transcribe, annotate, index, and publish Balm of Hope: Charity Afire Impels Daughters of Charity Civil War Nurses. This compendium includes: 1. Notes of the Sisters’ Services in Military Hospitals; 2. Civil War Recollections and Accounts; and 3. Correspondence. The texts invite readers to listen to courageous women reminisce in their own words about nursing amid the ravages of war.

Book Announcement: Fealty and Fidelity: the Lazarists of Bourbon France, 1660-1736.

Dear Colleagues

I am pleased to announce the publication of my book Fealty and Fidelity: the Lazarists of Bourbon France, 1660-1736, with Ashgate. The book provides a major critical investigation of the followers of Vincent de Paul, one of the French Catholic reform’s most decisive contributors. It uncovers rich new information on missionary activity and crown agency in France and two highly-neglected Indian Ocean French colonies during the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV. The book draws on a great number of unseen archival records, and both teachers and students of early modern France will enjoy it.

To read select material or order a copy please visit

If any of our colleagues is interested in purchasing a copy for themselves or their libraries, I would be glad to share the promotional code, which entitles the user to 50% off the price. Please don’t hesitate to email me at