Translated by Gertrud Graubart Champe
Vincent de Paul, the Trailblazer opens a bright window into the turbulent world of a renowned saint who lived during a time of great unrest. Bernard Pujo details how politics, war, and Vincent’s own charismatic personality served as essential elements in his construction of a vast and lasting web of charitable works.
Pujo introduces readers not only to the fascinating life of Vincent de Paul (1581–1660), but also to the cultural, political, social, ecclesiastical, and economic life of France during the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Pujo’s rich portrait reveals that Vincent played an active and prominent part in shaping this period of French history. In his quest to minister to the needs of the poor, Vincent counseled and challenged some of the key figures in French politics.
Vincent de Paul, the Trailblazer, describes Vincent’s childhood, his education, his life as a young priest, his skills as an organizer and manager, and his commitment to serving the physical and spiritual needs of the poor. This authoritative biography is lively enough to interest general readers and detailed enough to appeal to scholars of French and church history.
“[A]n informative and thoughtful examination of this remarkable saint from his peasant origins to his position as a powerful broker of Catholic Reformation good works.” — H-France Review
“Pujo’s Vincent makes seventeenth-century France the world of ‘never a dull moment’ for the Church. Readers will delight in Vincent’s lack of fear of women, readers will take comfort in his gentleness, and they will come to respect the man who couldn’t say it was right if it was wrong. Those who find history demanding and tedious can rely on the appended notes and charts after a good, enjoyable read. The only warning readers should heed is this: careful, Pujo’s Trailblazer is contagious!” — Cistercian Studies Quarterly
“Pujo’s biography makes excellent use of sources and he is judiciously critical of earlier biographers. A useful timeline and thorough index are also included. Vincentians and all who are drawn to their charism—to say nothing of historians of early modern France—will find Pujo’s work amply rewarding.” — www.catholicbooksreview.org
“Pujo has penned a fascinating biography of one of the most proactive saints in Roman Catholic history. . . . [N]o other biographer has taken the care to place all his good works so firmly into historical context.” — Booklist
“. . . Pujo carefully documents Vincent’s transformation from seeking a comfortable church benefice to recognizing the poor as one’s masters. Pujo, unlike most previous biographers, emphasizes the wide historical contexts of Vincent’s vision of service. Well written and translated, this fine religious biography is recommended for public and academic libraries.” — Library Journal
“Vincent de Paul, The Trailblazer is a remarkable biography of a truly great hero of France and of the Church itself.” — The Priest
“. . . Pujo’s bibliography is full, and his notes provide capsule biographies of almost every person who figures in Vincent’s story. The evidence provided here fully justifies the ‘trailblazer’ quality of Vincent’s career, and makes the book valuable.” — Sixteenth Century Journal
“Bernard Pujo has written a popular biography of Monsieur Vincent that presents him as a ‘Trailblazer.’ The work’s greatest strengths emerge in the author’s descriptions of the political realities of seventeenth-century France.” — The Catholic Historical Review