The Many Faces of Vincent de Paul: 19th Century French Romanticism and the Sacred

Guest-curated by Rev. Edward R. Udovic, CM, PhD, as a companion to Four Saints in Three Acts, this special exhibition of 19th century sculptures, holy cards, textiles, decorative arts and prints from the university’s collection will explore how Romanticism impacted the iconographic representations of Saint Vincent de Paul (1581-1660), at the dawn of the modern era.

The Journey of and to the Poor


An explication is presented of a carving hanging in Ravasi Hall of the DePaul Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. The panel is entitled “Saint Vincent on the road of the Poor in Africa,” and the artist’s vision is presented first. Following the road in the carving, Vincent de Paul meets and cares for the many types of poor persons in Kenya; the viewer goes on a similar journey. W. Barry Moriarty believes the carving can also represent the trajectory of Vincent’s life, ending in service to the poor. In Moriarty’s interpretation, Vincent’s life is presented within the context of an epic journey.

“The Journey of and to the Poor” is an article in the Vincentian Heritage Journal, Volume 31, Issue 1, Article 6 (2012) available at:

Update on the St. Vincent de Paul Image Archive

Thanks to DePaul University’s college of Computing and Digital Media (CDM), there is a readily accessible archive of Vincentian images. This has grown since its beginning in 2008 to have the largest collection of these images. We began with St. Vincent images, and then added St. Louise de Marillac, various Vincentian persons (mainly members of the Congregation of the Mission, including portraits of bishops and their coats of arms), and Vincentian places. Under the heading of Louise de Marillac are images pertaining to the Daughters of Charity.

These images can be downloaded freely. When it is not clear whether the images are copyrighted, I attempt to note that ambiguity in the description of the images.

I am always grateful for new images that I receive. Most recently, I was given a large collection of Vincentian images produced in Poland and most of these have been added to the image archive. The total is now more than 10,000, of which some 5400 are of St. Vincent. There have to be many more that are not recorded, and for this reason I am constantly searching for new ones. I have a dedicated e-mail address for these contributions:

A continuing source of new images is Fr. Edward Udovic, who is developing an extensive collection of Vincentian holy cards at DePaul University. They now number well more than 500 just of St. Vincent. Their range and variety are amazing.

Two recent additions to the image archive are worth noting. The first is an icon print of St. Vincent with the child Jesus holding on to the cross. This is the work of a Santa Fe, New Mexico, artist, Tomas Urrea, done in 2008. Fr. Robert Maloney kindly sent in a copy. The work is carefully done, but sentimental. In keeping with iconographic practices, the saint’s name appears in Greek: ho hagios Vintsensios ho Paulo; and the name of Jesus appears in its traditionally abbreviated form, IC XC (I[esu]s CH[risto]s). I don’t know where the original is.

The second is a photograph of a tomb sculpture of a Daughter of Charity ministering to a sick woman. It has been identified as coming from Costa Rica, but its exact location is unknown, as is the sculptor. It is beautifully carved out of white marble and has apparently not suffered from its outdoors location.

Any help in gathering new images will be appreciated. They don’t have to be beautiful. The interest here is to illustrate the vast amount of Vincentian iconography. Also welcome will be corrections or updates on images, along with suggestions for a better presentation.