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 Frédéric 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.
How Does St. Vincent de Paul differ from other charities?
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is composed of women and men who seek their personal holiness through works of charity. In this essential way, the Society differs from charitable associations or agencies whose principal objective is not the spiritual advancement of their members but the doing of good for someone else.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul began with a personal challenge to provide individual help to the needy and it remains true to that mission today. In 1833, Frederic Ozanam, a young law student at Sorbonne in France, was challenged during a debate to demonstrate what he and his fellow Catholic students were personally doing to help the poor in their Parish. Ozanam – only 20 years of age – acted immediately and with six others financed works of charity out of their own pockets. They called their group the Conference of Charity. Ozanam pioneered the lasting process of a home visit to access needs and the follow-through to meet them.
As recommended by his mentor, Monsieur Emmanuel Bailly and Sister Rosalie Rendue, a Daughter of Charity, Ozanam placed the Conference under the patronage of St. Vincent del Paul, who served the poor in 16th Century France. Ozanam’s group of 7 grew to 600 and then 2000 spreading across France. In 1845, it crossed the ocean to St. Louis, Missouri.
April 2016 - Commissiong of Officers for Rapid City District Council and three Conferences: Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Rapid City SD), Our Lady of the Black Hills (Pidemont, SD), and St Mary/St Joseph/ St. Paul (Spearfish,SD)