When Vincent de Paul passed away, two documents were found in his room; his bachelor’s degree from the University of Toulouse and his graduate degree from the University of Paris. That Vincent would hang onto these two things speaks volumes of the value he placed on education. The Irish Vincentans more so than any other province have long emphasised the importance of education of the Catholic people. Perhaps this was alot to do with the happenings in Ireland around the time when the little band of seminarians came together in St. Patrick’s Maynooth. Catholic Emancipation was in the air. What an exciting time to be around. But Irish Catholicism was just beginning to come forth after centuries of being hidden underground. There were so many of the Irish Catholics who would need pastoral care and education of their faith. This would have to be addressed. And that is exactly what these young men set out to do.
Even before the Irish Vincentians officially took vows, they founded their first school. 34 Ushers Quay opened its doors on 28th August, 1833 to a solitary boy. The following week, there were four and by Christmas, a hundred. Little did they realise at the time that this inauspicious start would yield as much fruit as it has done.