The Common Rules and the Constitutions of the Congregation of the Mission were printed in 1658 and Vincent distributed copies to the missionaries at an emotional ceremony on the 17th of May. At long last, when he was almost at death’s door, Vincent had finally settled the juridical structures of his Company.

With just a very few exceptions the Rules do not give detailed prescriptions for the order of the day or particular community practices. They are more geared to presenting the spirit in which a missionary is to face the demands of his vocation to perfection and to the apostolate. […] Each chapter opens with a call to imitate Christ by practising the virtue proposed in the chapter. Vincent’s gaze was increasingly fixed on the Savior as pattern and model of Christian holiness, and this is his unique way of interpreting Bérulle’s teaching that we should adore the different characteristics of the Word made flesh. They are the code of spiritual perfection that Vincent de Paul proposed to his missionaries […] the embodiment of everything that Vincent hoped for and wanted from his followers.

– José María Román, CM, Chapter XX, The Model and Spirit of the Rules

Read the account of the moving ceremony when St. Vincent distributed the Rules to his Congregation on May 17, 1658 in the presentation below.

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