The St Vincent de Paul Society (“SVP”) is an international Roman Catholic voluntary organization dedicated to tackling poverty and disadvantage by providing direct practical assistance to anyone in need. Active in England & Wales since 1844, today it continues to address social and material need in all its many forms. [1]

History[edit | edit source]

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was founded in 1833 to serve impoverished people living in the slums of Paris, France. The primary figure behind the society's founding was Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, a French lawyer, author, and professor in the Sorbonne. He was 20 years old when the society was founded.,[2] and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1997.

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Blessed Rosalie Rendu, D.C.

The Society took Saint Vincent de Paul as its patron under the influence of Sister Rosalie Rendu, D.C. Sister Rosalie (who was herself beatified in November 2003 by Pope John Paul II) was a member of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, and was well known for her work with people in the slums of Paris. She guided Frédéric and his companions in their approach towards those in need.

The society gradually expanded outside Paris in the mid 19th century and received benefactors in places such as Tours where figures such as the Venerable Leo Dupont, known as the Holy Man of Tours became contributors.[3]

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is part of the Vincentian Family which also includes the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian priests and brothers, also founded by St. Vincent de Paul), Daughters of Charity, Ladies of Charity (organization of lay women who help the poor, founded by St. Vincent de Paul), Sisters of Charity in the Setonian tradition, and several others, including some religious groups who are part of the Anglican Communion, like Company of Mission Priests.

Today[edit | edit source]

The Society numbers about 950,000 in some 132 countries worldwide, whose members operate through "conferences". A conference may be based out of a church, community center, school, hospital, etc., and is composed of Catholic volunteers who dedicate their time and resources to help those in need in their community. Non-Catholics may join with the understanding that the society is a Catholic organization. St. John's University in New York runs the Vincentian Center for Church and Society at its Queens campus. DePaul University in Chicago derives its title and fundamental mission from St. Vincent de Paul and hosts the Vincentian Studies Institute. Niagara University located in Lewiston, New York, also derives its fundamental mission from St. Vincent de Paul and is the oldest Vincentian University in North America.

United Kingdom[edit | edit source]

Youth SVP[edit | edit source]

Youth SVP (England and Wales) has involved over 10,000 young members since its founding 1999. Further to the success of Youth SVP, a new project, SVP 1833, has been started with the aim of involving younger adults. The target age group is 18-33.

Australia[edit | edit source]

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St Vincent de Paul Society Opportunity shop in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.

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St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store in historic Anson Brown Building, Ann Arbor, MI

In Australia, the society has engaged over 40,000 members and has many more volunteers. 'Vinnies Youth', the youth membership of the Society in Australia, engage young people from the age of 10 to 30 in the society's many works throughout the country.

CEO Winter Sleepout[edit | edit source]

The aim of the CEO Sleepout is to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless.[4]

Starting out as a local community venture in Sydney’s Parramatta in 2006, the CEO Sleepout launched nation wide in 2011, exceeding expectations with almost 700 CEO’s participating.

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. The Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 25, 1951 page 206
  2. Herbert Hewitt Stroup, 1985 Social welfare pioneers Roman and Littlefield ISBN 0882292129 page 185
  3. Joan Carroll Cruz, OCDS, "Saintly Men of Modern Times" (2003) ISBN 1931709777 page 195
  4. Template:Cite web

External links[edit | edit source]

de:Vinzenzgemeinschaft es:Sociedad de San Vicente de Paúl fr:Société de Saint-Vincent-de-Paul it:Società San Vincenzo De Paoli ln:Société Santu-Vincent-wa-Paul nl:Sint-Vincentiusvereniging pt:Sociedade de São Vicente de Paulo ru:Общество святого Викентия де Поля vi:Hiệp hội Bác ái Vinh Sơn

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