Saint Vincent’s Reading List XII Vincent de Paul and the Gondi Family

Corbinelli, Jean de. Histoire genealogique de la maison de Gondi. Paris: Chez Jean-Baptiste Cognard, 1705.
Call Number: SpC. 929.74 C791h1705


Gondi GenealogiqueAntoine de Gondi (1486-1560), a member of the illustrious Florentine family, first came to France at the beginning of the sixteenth century rising to prominence under Henry II and Catherine de Medici. By the beginning of the following century, the family was well-established at the highest levels of the nobility (as Ducs de Retz, Generals of the Galleys of France, and peers) and ecclesiastical hierarchy. For example, members of the family served successively bishops, and cardinal-archbishops of Paris from 1589-1662.

In the persons of Philippe-Emmanuel de Gondi (1581-1662) and his wife Francoise-Marguerite de Silly (1580-1625) Vincent de Paul found his most important and devoted patrons. Entering the service of the Gondi’s in 1613, he discovered an extended family who were all leading devots.  His own spiritual conversion took place within this milieu and led to his famous sermon at Folleville on 25 January 1617.

By the time of Madame de Gondi’s sudden death in June 1625, the ties between Vincent de Paul and the Gondi’s had led to the foundation of the Congregation of the Mission. Vincent would always insist that the Monsieur and Madame de Gondi be acknowledged as the founders of the Congregation. For the rest of Vincent’s life, the family’s patronage provided  the socio-political-ecclesial access and resources that he needed to support the works of the Congregation of the Mission, the Daughters of Charity, the Ladies of Charity, and the Confraternities of Charity.

The French branch of the family would die out at the beginning of the eighteenth century. This genealogical volume was commissioned by the last Duke and Duchess de Retz and provides invaluable information in understanding the multi-generational web of Gondi family connections that supported Vincent de Paul.


St. Vincent’s Reading List is recurring blog series exploring texts known to have been read and recommended by St. Vincent de Paul, those which can be presumed to have been read by him, and important works published during his lifetime (1581-1660). All materials discussed are held by DePaul’s Special Collections and Archives. The entire series may be viewed here.

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