Who We Are
Members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul strive to be an example of God’s love in serving the poor. As a reflection of the whole family of God, members, known as Vincentians, are drawn from every ethnic and cultural background, age group, and economic level. They are united in an international society of charity by their spirit of poverty, humility, and sharing, which is nourished by prayer, reflection, mutually supportive gatherings held at least twice per month, and adherence to a basic Rule.
What We Do
Vincentians do the work of serving the poor in their communities. The primary role of the Vincentian is not to pay the bills, furnish groceries, or clothe someone. The role of the Vincentian is to provide loving and compassionate interest in individuals. If that interest calls for food, clothing, or other assistance, so be it. However, it is in loving where the contact with Christ emerges. That contact is what separates the Society of St. Vincent de Paul from just another social agency.
From the beginning, the central and most basic activity of Conferences has been visitation of the needy in their homes. This is the clearest symbol of Vincentian charisma, which dictates the highest respect for the dignity of the poor. In this family setting, people feel most free to confide their stories of struggle. Vincentians are asked to listen, offer humble advice, and render assistance.
For the protection of all, Vincentians always visit in pairs. This practice follows the precedent sent by Christ himself when he sent out his Apostles two by two (MK 6:7) and emphasizes the Conference’s status as a community, not a collection of individuals who “do their own thing”.
Ideally, a visiting team is composed of Vincentians of both genders, various age groups, and different life experiences, so that a better perspective of the needy person’s situation can be gained and various courses of action explored.