1813 - 1853
St. Vincent de Paul
||In 1833, Frederic
Ozanam, and a group of students from the Sorbonne University were
challenged to prove their faith in Christ through action, not just
words. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was formed when they took up
this challenge and began to work with the desperately poor in Paris.
Developing a simple system, they went in teams to help the poor in
their homes, in the streets, in the hospitals and the asylums. Adopting
as their patron St. Vincent de Paul, a 16th century cleric renowned for
his work with the poor, the Society arose from humble beginnings to
become an international organization found in 130 countries with one
the tradition of visitation of the needy in their
homes, Vincentians organize themselves into parish based units called
Conferences to serve those in need through person to person contact.
Emergency assistance is given by way of food, clothing and furniture;
giving those in need access to basic necessities. Friendship, guidance
and advocacy are also offered to enable individuals and families
assistance through community programs and parish involvement. As well,
from the beginning the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has operated
Special Works which in a spirit of social justice seek to offer a
helping hand up to those seeking assistance. These include supportive
residential programs, children’s camps, community clothing stores and
Next: What we do.