St. Vincent Ferrer was born at Valencia, in Spain. He had a special devotion to the Blessed Mother. It made him very happy, when anyone spoke of her. Vincent was very intelligent and did well in his studies. He was also handsome, but he wasn't proud or boastful. When Vincent was seventeen, he entered the Dominican order against the wishes of his family.
First, Father Vincent taught theology (religious studies) at different colleges. Then he became a very good preacher and converted thousands of people who heard him preach and became Christians. The Dominicans are called the Order of Preachers. For twenty years, Father Vincent traveled as a missionary, preaching all over Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Holland, England, Scotland, Ireland and Granada.
Although there were no microphones in those days, his voice could be heard from a great distance. Even a well-known Jewish rabbi, Paul of Burgos, became a Catholic. Vincent later became bishop of Cartagena, Spain and Counselor to Pope Benedict XIII. He then traveled through Spain, France, Switzerland and Italy to help end the Great Schism which was keeping these countries apart because they could not agree. He was a miracle worker and had the gift of tongues.
Many Catholics were so impressed by Vincent's sermons and example of holiness that they became much better Catholics. St. Vincent depended totally on God. He also asked people for prayers and penance for the success of his sermons. He knew it was not his words or his talents that won people over. That is why he prayed before every sermon.
But one time, when he knew that a very important person was going to listen to him, he worked harder than usual on his sermon. He ran out of time to pray. This sermon which he had prepared so carefully did not affect the nobleman at all. God let that happen to teach Vincent not to count on himself.
Another time, this same important person came to listen to Father Vincent preach. But this time the priest did not know it. He prayed and counted on God, as usual. The nobleman listened to the sermon and was very impressed by what he heard. When Vincent was told, he said: "In the first sermon it was Vincent who preached. In the second sermon, it was Jesus Christ."
He also said, “If you truly want to help the soul of your neighbor, you should approach God first with all your heart. Ask him simply to fill you with charity, the greatest of all virtues; with it you can accomplish what you desire.”
St. Vincent died in 1419 at Vannes, Brittany, in France.