During the lifetime of St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660), and the century following his death, the Mediterranean Sea operated as a theater of conflict, commerce and cultural intercourse. It served as both contested and connective tissue between Europe and North Africa’s Barbary Coast. It is in this world of expanding European power in the Western Mediterranean Sea, and increasing tense interaction with the Barbary regencies, that Vincent de Paul developed his mission and his paradigm of charity and public assistance. The conflicts and cultural communication of this time and place helped shape both Vincent and his legacy, which in turn shaped the larger Christian and Mediterranean worlds. It is our hope that the exhibition catalogue reveals the richness of this time period, and of materials held within DePaul University’s Special Collections & Archives.