St. Vincent de Paul was born of a peasant family at Pouy, Gascony, France, in 1580, and worked as a shepherd boy on his father’s farm. At a young age Vincent had a great desire to become a priest; and after completing his studies for the priesthood, he was ordained in 1600 and remained in the vicinity of Toulouse, acting as a tutor while continuing his own studies.
Having traveled to Marseilles for an inheritance and sailing home to Toulouse, Vincent was captured by Turkish pirates in the year 1605 and was taken to Tunis. He was maltreated and eventually sold as a slave; but he escaped two years later with his master, a renegade whom he eventually converted to Catholicism. Upon his escape from the Turkish pirates, Vincent immediately dedicated his life to the practice of spiritual and corporal works of charity.
St. Vincent de Paul died in Paris on October 5, 1660 at the house of St. Lazare. which belonged to his order of priests and was buried beneath the choir of the church. Ficty two years after his death, in 1712, his body was exhumed by the Cardinal-Archbishop of Paris, two bishops, two subpromoters of the faith, a medical doctor, , a surgeon and a number of priests in his order, including the superior general of the order.
When the body was exhumed eyewitness recounts that the body of the saint were perfectly intact except for the eyes and nose which was in state of decay. There were no discerbnible odor of decomposition and the doctors were astonished as to why the body remained incorrupt for fifty two years.
During the saint’s canonization on 1737 by Pope Clement XII, the body was exhumed again and it was then discovered that it was already in the state of decomposition due to underground floods that ravaged the body. The bones of St. Vincent de Paul are now encased in a wax figure displayed on the chapel of the headquarters of the Voincentian Fathers. His heart though remained perfectly incorrupt and is now encased in a reliquary in the mother house of the Daughters of Charity in Rude Du Bac in Paris, the same chapel where the apparition of the Miraculous Medal happened and where another incorrupt body of the Visionary of the Apparition, St. Catherine Laboure also rests.