The Society of St.Vincent de Paul is an international organization of lay Catholics who seek to grow in holiness by following Jesus' clear commandment to all of us to help the poor and needy around us.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is the largest lay Catholic charity organization in the world. We have over 700,000 members in 149 countries, with over 61,000 of us in the United States. If you travel anywhere in the country and you mention the St. Vincent de Paul Society at any parish you visit, they will likely know about SVDP.
We call ourselves "Vincentians", in tribute to St. Vincent de Paul. What all Vincentians have in common is a desire to serve those who are poor and suffering - the homeless, the sick, the lonely, and the elderly.
Vincentians help with food, provide clothing and furniture, help prevent homelessness by helping with rent, assist with utility bills, provide transportation, and assist in many other ways. The motto of the Society is "No act of charity is foreign to the Society."
We perform our charity in local groups called "Conferences". There are conferences in over 100 countries around the world. The Society serves the poor regardless of race or creed.
Vincentians embrace the lonely, forgotten, and alienated and provide service to anyone in need. By helping those in need, we offer hope to individuals, providing a chance for them to recover from their financial problems, often keeping them from becoming homeless.
It may not be easy to see them, but there are families and individuals throughout northern Alabama who right now are in desperate need of all of our love and support. Despite the prosperity of our community, poverty and pain are all around us. Often, SVDP represents a lifeline for people struggling to survive. In the spirit of Christ, who leads our ministry, we help our neighbors based on need – without judgment.
Vincentians realize that many seeking our help are just like us, but due to bad luck that any one of us are vulnerable to, they are now in desperate need of help. A common example is the person who has worked hard their entire life, providing well for the family, but is now suddenly disabled and can no longer work. The income is now zero, until they might qualify for government assistance, but the heating, rent, and food bills do not stop coming.
Family home visits have always been the fundamental activity of Vincentians. Our goal is to personally meet the family seeking help, get to know them and understand their situation, determine the best way we can help, and remain in contact with the family throughout their crisis, continuing to help where possible.
To respect the wishes of those who donate to us to support our works, we do our best to verify the legitimacy of our clients' claims of need before providing any financial assistance.
The Society serves the community by way of Conferences that are affiliated with one or more Catholic parishes. Vincentian members will respond to help those in need, generally in the area of their affiliated parish(es), but are not limited by any geographical boundaries. We will also serve on larger works that may serve the area of the entire diocese.
For more information of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, visit our national website www.svdpusa.org
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was founded in Paris, France, over 180 years ago, in 1833, by a young French nobleman, Bl. Frederic Ozanam, to confront his city's devastating poverty. Inspired by his love of St. Vincent de Paul, a 17th century French priest who had an untiring commitment to serving the poor, Ozanam's mission was clear - help the needy on a one-to-one basis and "accomplish through charity what justice alone cannot do."
On April 23, 1833, challenged by fellow students at the University of Paris to practice what they preached, Ozanam and five other like-minded students met with Emmanuel Bailly in his newspaper office and formed the Conference of Charity. Starting with just seven members, the conference membership soared to more than one hundred by the following year. It was Ozanam who believed that the original conference must divide into more units in order to better serve the needy. By 1835, the society had its own official rule and a new official name: The Society of Saint Vincent DePaul.
The Society took Saint Vincent de Paul as its patron under the influence of Sister Rosalie Rendu, DC (Daughter of Charity). Sister Rosalie (who was beatified in 2004) was a member of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, a group of religious women who take vows to serve the poor and those in need, founded by St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac in 1633. Sister Rosalie, who was well known for her work with the most poverty stricken people in the slums of Paris, guided Blessed Frédéric and his companions in their approach towards those in need.
The Society grew rapidly from the start. There were already over 2000 members when Frederic Ozanam died in 1853. Bl. Frederic was beatified in 1996.
The Society has beeen a part of Biloxi for over a hundred years as the first Conference was established in the 1890s. For the past 110 years, Vincentians have been serving the needy throughout the area of the Diocese of Biloxi by way of many SVDP conferences.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, District Council of Huntsville, AL, is part of a worldwide organization of lay Catholic men and women who are committed to live and grow in their Christian faith through prayer and personal involvement in charitable works. The Society’s mission is accomplished through local groups called Conferences, and programs called Special Works. The Society’s work includes any action that alleviates suffering and distress, and maintains the dignity of the person being helped.
“No Act of Charity is Foreign to the Society.”
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, members, who are 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.