Also known as

  • Congregation of the Mission of Saint Vincent de Paul
  • Lazarists
  • Paules



A congregation of priests and laymen. The special object of the congregation is that each member, besides devoting himself to his own perfection, shall be employed in preaching the Gospel to the poor, especially to poor country people, and in helping ecclesiastics to the knowledge and virtues requisite for their state. In many countries they are called Lazarists from the Priory of Saint Lazare, in Paris where Saint Vincent de Paul dwelt, and where he established his principal works. In English-speaking countries they are generally known as Vincentians, and they are called Paules in Spanish countries.

During the lifetime of the founder, establishments were made not only in France but also in Poland and in Italy, and the congregation undertook missionary work in Ireland, the Hebrides, Barbary, and Madagascar. In the interval between the death of Saint Vincent in 1660, and the French Revolution, forty-three theological and nine preparatory seminaries were established in France by the Vincentians. In 1641, a papal Bull authorized an establishment in Rome, Italy; in 1697 the pope gave them the house and church of Saints John and Paul on the Caelian Hill. They were called to Genoa, Italy in 1645; to Turin in 1655; to Naples, Italy in 1668. King Charles II invited them to London, England for his chapel, as King Louis XIV had done in France for his chapel at Versailles. In Poland, in the time of John Casimir, they were summoned to Warsaw in 1651; and later to many other cities, so that before the Revolution Poland was one of the most flourishing provinces. They established themselves at Barcelona, Spain, and from there made several other settlements. They reached Portugal in 1718, and at the time of the Revolution of 1834 there were six establishments in the country. During the 18th century the Vincentians passed over into China; they were called to Macao by the Portuguese government in 1784, and directed many houses of education there; after the suppression of the Jesuits they replaced that order in the Levant and in China. At the outbreak of the French Revolution there were in France, Spain, Portugal, and the Palatinate, along with the missions outside Europe, about 150 Vincentian establishments. During the Revolution all the Vincentian foundations in France were destroyed. In 1804 an imperial decree reestablished the Congregation; under the government of the Restoration in 1816, a royal ordinance recognized it, and in 1901 the Council of State considered it as legally recognized in France. The Vincentians had gone to Ireland during Saint Vincent’s lifetime; they gave missions and heard confessions, but were forced to flee the country during Cromwell’s regime. On the foundation of Maynooth College in 1798, one of the priests returned, and in 1832 a new community was organized. The first Scottish house was established at Lanark in 1859; the Australian mission was begun in 1885; and the Congregation was brought to the United States in 1816.

MLA Citation

  • “Vincentians”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 November 2019. Web. 23 July 2021. <>