He was ordained in 1600 and remained in Toulose for a time. In 1605, while on a ship traveling from Marseilles to Narbone, he was captured, brought to Tunis and sold as a slave. Two years later he and his master managed to escape and both returned to France.
St. Vincent went to Avignon and later to Rome to continue his studies. While there he became a chaplain to the Count of Goigny and was placed in charge of distributing money to the deserving poor. He became pastor of a small parish in Clichy for a short period of time, while also serving as a tutor and spiritual director.
From that point forward he spent his life preaching missions to and providing relief to the poor. He even established hospitals for them. This work became his passion. He later extended his concern and ministry to convicts. The need to evangelize and assist these souls was so great and the demands beyond his own ability to meet that he founded the Ladies of Charity, a lay institute of woman, to help, as well as a religious institute of priests – the Congregation of Priests of the Mission, commonly referred to now as the Vincentians.
This was at a time when there were not many priests in France and what priests there were, were neither well-formed nor faithful to their way of life. Vincent helped reform the clergy and the manner in which they were instructed and prepared for the priesthood. He did this first through the presentation of retreats and later by helping develop a precursor to our modern day seminaries. At one point his community was directing 53 upper-level seminaries. His retreats, open to priests and laymen, were so well attended that it is said he infused a “Christian spirit among more than 20,000 persons in his last 23 years.”
Learn more on St. Vincent de Paul: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=326