Conversion and Discernment According to Vincent de Paul


Edward Udovic writes, “For Vincent de Paul the life-long conversion required by a vocation to Christian discipleship begins with the prayerful discernment of God’s will in one’s day-to-day life, the free decision to accept that will in faith and love, and then, to the best of one’s ability, living that faith in action and love relying always on God’s grace.” To follow God’s will was to be as obedient to it as Christ was. For Vincent, doing God’s will meant evangelizing the poor as Christ did, accepting God’s grace to follow Providence, and recognizing that only God can know what the results of Providence will be. Further discernment was required to discover the best ways of doing this. Before such discernment was possible, it was necessary to cultivate indifference, or detachment from one’s own will and to hold oneself in complete “unrestricted readiness” for whatever God might require. Vincent’s advice on how to do this as part of conversion is described, as are the obstacles to such conversion. Grace was needed during this process as well. Questions of discernment for the modern Vincentian Family are included.

“Conversion and Discernment According to Vincent de Paul” is an article that was published in the Vincentian Heritage Journal, Volume 32, Issue 1, Article 1 (2015) available at: