As one of the oldest charitable organizations in the world, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a Catholic lay organization of about 800,000 men and women throughout the world who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually and offer person-to-person service to the needy and suffering in 153 countries on 5 continents.
The services the Society of St. Vincent de Paul provides include: home, hospital and prison visits, housing assistance, disaster relief and long-term recovery, education and mentoring, food pantries, dining halls, clothing, help with transportation, prescription medication, and rent and utility costs.
The National Council coordinates programs that directly benefit local Conferences and Councils such as: domestic disaster relief efforts, the Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run and the Friends of the Poor® Grant Program. Other support includes: fundraising and communications resources, the Servant Leadership Program, Vincentian training material and the Serving in Hope Training Program. Financial support is provided to international relief efforts as requested by the SVdP International office in Paris.
The Society was founded in 1833 in Paris by Frédéric Ozanam. As a college student, Ozanam and his companions were moved by the plight of the poor and challenged to put their Catholic faith into action. They adopted St. Vincent de Paul as the Society’s patron because he cared for the poor, forgotten and downtrodden of Paris.
The first St. Vincent de Paul presence in the U.S. was established in 1845 in St. Louis, Mo., where the headquarters remains. U.S. membership totals nearly 100,000 in 4,400 communities.
Inspired by Gospel values, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic lay organization, leads women and men to join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to those who are needy and suffering in the tradition of its founder, Blessed Frederic Ozanam, and patron, St. Vincent de Paul.
As a reflection of the whole family of God, all members, known as Vincentians, are drawn from every ethnic and cultural background, age group, and economic level. Vincentians are united in an international society of charity by their spirit of poverty, humility and sharing, which is nourished by prayer and reflection, mutually supportive gatherings and adherence to a basic Rule.
Organized locally, Vincentians witness God’s love by embracing all works of charity and justice. The Society collaborates with other people of good will in relieving need and addressing its causes, making no distinction in those served because, in them, Vincentians see the face of Christ.
To learn more about SVDP, please visit www.svdpusa.org.
At the heart of all St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) service is the “home visit,” where trained volunteers, known as “Vincentians," visit those in need at their convenience to learn more about their needs.
Vincentians make thousands of in-home, person-to-person visits each year and are able to see first-hand, the exact situation in which a person is living. SVdP assistance is tailored to each person’s or family’s needs and may include food, clothing, furniture, rent, utility, transportation, medical, emotional or spiritual support.
When those in need are visited in their homes, they are assured that information collected will be kept in confidence. The home visit allows SVdP to offer immediate assistance and determine if those in need would benefit from other programs offered by the Society. The home visit preserves the dignity of the individual/family in need while making it convenient.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul provides food for the hungry through our food pantries.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a voice for the poor.
St. Vincent de Paul is the Patron saint of all Works of Charity
St. Vincent de Paul was born at Pouy, France on April 24, 1581. He was ordained a priest on September 23, 1600. Vincent devoted himself entirely to the alleviation of the sufferings of the poor, and to that purpose established the Confraternities of Charity, later known as the Ladies of Charity, in 1617. In 1625 he founded the Congregation of the Mission, his community of priests and brothers. With Louise de Marillac, he co-founded the Daughters of Charity in 1633. Vincent died in Paris on September 27, 1660 and was canonized in 1737. Pope Leo XIII declared him patron saint of all works of charity.
September 29 is the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul
Frédéric Ozanam, Founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Bl. Frederic Ozanam was schooled in law, literature and philosophy and taught at the universities in Lyon and Paris. Challenged by a detractor of the faith to demonstrate the good he was doing socially in France, Frederic and six companions founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul on April 23, 1833. On June 23, 1841 Frederic married Amelie Soulacroix, and their only child, Marie, was born in 1845. He succumbed to ill health and died on September 8, 1853. Pope John Paul II beatified Frederic Ozanam in Paris on August 22, 1997.
September 9 is the Feast of Bl. Frédéric Ozanam
Bl Rosalie Rendu fulfilled her vocation of servant of those who were poor as a humble Daughter of Charity.
Bl. Rosalie Rendu, DC (1786 - 1856) was a Daughter of Charity who served for 54 years in the Mouffetard area, the most impoverished district of Paris. Emmanuel Bailly, the President of the Society, sent the founding members of the Society to Sister Rosalie for guidance and direction. Sending them on home visits, she formed them in the spirit of St. Vincent, teaching them how to serve the poor with respect and compassion.
Louise de Marillac co-founded the Daughters of Charity on November 29, 1625.
St. Louise de Marillac was born August 12, 1591. She married Antoine LeGras on February 5, 1613, had a son named Michel, and was widowed when Antoine died on December 21, 1625. St. Vincent de Paul then became her spiritual director, and under his guidance she became very active in caring for the poor and in visiting the Confraternities of Charity. With Vincent, Louise co-founded the Daughters of Charity on November 29, 1633. She died March 15, 1660, and was canonized in 1934. In 1960, Pope John XXIII proclaimed her the patron saint of all Christian social workers.
May 9 is the Feast of Saint Louise de Marillac