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words express what is worst in the world. The Mussulman does not love Christians, but the convert to Moslamism hates them. Such is generally the case with converts of all sorts.
The apostate had three wives, Turkish by birth and religion, who seemed to think better of the Christian and of the Christian's faith than he did. One of them conversed with the slave, and made him sing for her some of those sweet psalms she had probably overheard him singing to himself. He sung for her "By the waters of Babylon, we sat down and wept;" and he sung it with tears in his eyes, for by the waters of Babylon he, too, was weeping. The Turkish wife questioned him as to his religion, and then told her husband that he was wrong in having left it. The heart and conscience of the apostate were smitten; after a time he explained the state of both to his slave and his priest; and the end of all was that both escaped to France, where the renegade master was publicly reconciled to the Church he had left; and the slave, whose piety had gained his ransom, was taken to the Court of Rome, and soon after sent on a special mission to Henry IV., who had obtained the throne, and accepted the religion of France. What became of the three Turkish wives we are not told; it is a pity that the double convert did not bring one, at least, to his side. Henry IV., still called the good king in France, saw the talents of Vincent de Paul, and would have recompensed them, but it was his son Louis XIII., who was to be the patron of his good works.
Perhaps none have ever accomplished great or good works, or devoted themselves earnestly to a philanthropic or peculiar mode of life, without have ing been, most probably unconsciously, prepared for such by some event, circumstance or situation, which gave a cast to their whole after life, a tone to their sentiments, a direction to their minds, or a determination to their views. This is called accident by some, providence by others. It is the working of the great, unseen Hand, raising, cutting, hewing, moulding the block, out of which is to come a vessel of honour meet for the master's use. So we see Vincent de Paul, the young country Priest, prepared for his district visiting societies, his Sisters of Charity, his hospital nurses, his labours among chained prisoners, and more especially among the galley slaves, by his own apprenticeship to suffering and trial as a captive and a slave in Turkey.
This was the preparation for his work; but besides this we generally see a moving cause required for putting that destined work in operation. The same hand is bringing all round, yet all looks like mere accident.
The origin of the Ladies of Charity was a circumstance, not very extraordinary, which took place at Chatillon. It was one that takes place in England, in London, oyer and over again. The “ Confrerie de Charité,” or “Association of Charity,” formed by Vincent de Paul, was brought about on this wise. We all know that for the work of reforming both clergy and people, he had formed a congregation of missionary priests, answering in no slight degree to an irregular movement made among ourselves, in a different manner, some years ago, and called “The Home Mission Society." His congregation, still existing as he formed it, was the result of his own missions, his own experience, his own labours and preachings among a people long neglected and demoralized. In his own parish his preaching awakened two young ladies who had been before then awake to the world and the things of the world only. They were converted, and thenceforth devoted themselves, just as we see ladies among ourselves always do, to the service of others, living not to themselves but to Him Who died for them and rose again.
The Father, whose children they were in CHRIST JESUS, soon left them to themselves, or rather to Him Whose Spirit and Grace were with them. When he returned again to that place, one of these ladies, who had not gone back in his absence, asked him, as he went up to the pulpit, to mention to the hearers the case of a poor family who were in much want. He did so, and with the usual result, a plenary one, for the poor people were so overloaded with provisions of all kinds, that one might almost be reminded of the scene on the sea of Galilee, when the men who had toiled all night and taken nothing, were at once unable to drag their net to shore. The eloquent and pathetic preacher, whose power consisted in simplicity, saw an abundant result of his charitable appeal. He praised a zeal which did not,
however, appear to him to be very wise. “This," said be, "is great charity, but it is very ill regu
he lated; these poor people have too much provisions now, and soon they will again have none."
This led him to think if there was not a means to be found of systematizing Charity, so as to prevent it from being thus called forth by an ebullition of feeling that would pass away with the circumstance that produced it. He communicated this reflection to some ladies of his parish, of fortune and piety, who entered with ardour into the design he was forming ; Vincent, therefore, drew up a plan for an association which they were to form, and which he wished them to try for some time before he rendered it permanent by obtaining the approbation of his ecclesiastical superiors. This is an extract from one of the statutes of this Confrerie :-"Each associate shall in turn go to visit the sick ; shall prepare their food, and serve them with their own hands; they shall repeat to them some words of our LORD, and shall try to cheer and enliven them if they appear to be too much cast down by trouble.” He gave them a rule, and caused them to meet together each month to report the good done, or that which was to be done.
Such, says a biographer, was the beginning of that association of Charity which has been like the mother of all the orders that have since been established. It was from this again that there sprung the order of Sisters of Charity, or Filles de Charité, (as they were all to be single women,) in the way we shall now relate in the following extracts, which it is necessary to remark, speak of a period some years after the formation of the aforesaid association of charity.
“The application with which Vincent de Paul, who was then established in Paris, at Saint Lazare, laboured for the reform of the clergy, did not cause him to forget the necessities of the country poor. He had formed the Confreries de la Charité everywhere he could; but neither himself nor his missionary priests could visit them, except very rarely. It was to be feared that the first warmth of an association so useful would slacken by degrees, if there was not some person capable of going among them from time to time, to animate their exertions, and kindle among them that spirit of mercy which should be the principle of their charitable union.
“God sent him a worthy instrument for such a work, in a pious and talented widow named Le Gras, who at his desire undertook for several years to travel from place to place among the various branches of this association, visiting them in each parish, calling together on her arrival in any place or village, the women who composed the association of charity in that place, instructing, animating, directing, or helping them, as they had need. This did great good, but still, owing to all the various accidents of life to which persons living in the world, with all its engagements and necessary duties, must be exposed,