What is the Society of St Vincent de Paul ?
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a volunteer Catholic lay organization, founded in Paris, France in 1833 by Frederic Ozanam. At that time, there was a great economic depression and Frederic, a 20 year old college student, called on Catholics to live the values of the Gospel. He and his fellow students would visit the poor in their homes and bring them food and wood (heating fuel) as well as friendship and the love of Jesus Christ. The group adopted as their Patron Saint, St. Vincent de Paul, the great French priest of the 17th century, who alerted the world to social problems and the need for charity. The Society soon spread throughout the world and today is comprised of 850,000 members in 131 countries. It began in the United States in St. Louis, Missouri in 1845, and in Michigan at St. Ignace in 1855. In Lansing, the Society started at the Church of the Resurrection in 1932. The Society has a commitment to compassion that seeks, in a spirit of social justice and charity through the personal involvement of members, to help those in need. Members, called Vincentians, regularly do home visits to those who request their help, regardless of race, faith or nationality. United in the spirit of poverty, the Vincentians form relationships with those they help. They bear witness to the love of Christ in their relationships with those in greatest need as well as in all aspects of their daily lives. No work of charity is foreign to the Society. Spirituality, Friendship and Service are our core values.