Becoming an SVP member is an expression of faith. It is a direct response to the call every Christian receives to see Christ in all people, especially the lonely, troubled and poor. It is about living the words in Matthew's Gospel:
"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me."
In serving others practically and without judgement, members of the SVP try to remain true to this Gospel message. In doing so, members are themselves blessed. Those whom the Society seeks to help often give so much more in return, enriching the lives of members more than they ever expected.
"Those who carry out the Church's charitable activity.should be guided by the faith which works through love."
Adapted from the First Encyclical of Pope Benedict XV1 (Deus Caritas Est; Paragraph 33)
SVP members share their views...
“The St Vincent de Paul Society provides me with an opportunity of putting the essence of my Christian faith, my love of God and of my neighbour, into action.”
“The effect is infectious. Through putting Christianity into action, we inspire those around us to do the same.”
“I found the perfect job by helping others. Their smile repays me a thousand-fold.”
“God allows us all to make a difference to his world. We have the chance to change it for the better.”
“For me being an SVP member is being enabled to be a part in a cycle of love - I receive - I give and I see the ripples of love spreading out all around me. It is the most incredible privilege.”
“Most of us feel impelled in some way to respond to Christ's repeated injunction to help the needy, but we don't know where to start. The SVP provides us with a spiritual focus and an organisational framework which makes it so much easier - and a support network of fellow members which makes it fun.”
“Reaching out to those in need helps us reach out to God.”
Some of our members
Mon and Alice
We joined SVP because we wanted to extend our services that we had started from the Philippines like serving God first, helping other people, and to help our Parish and our community where we live now.
I was cooking at my local nightshelter when an existing member asked if I'd be interested in joining the SVP. My family had always been involved so I felt my time had come to put my faith into action. I'm never happier than when I'm meeting with my Vincentian brothers and sisters or trying to help someone in need. It has helped develop my spirituality and strengthen my faith.
Circumstances led me in the 70's to consider what I was (not) doing with regard to my Faith; one result - join the SVP. St James captures the essence of the SVP vocation in his letter (2.14-17): "Brothers and Sisters, what good is it to profess faith without showing works? If someone is in need of clothes or food and one of you says, 'may things go well for you; be warm and satisfied,' without attending to their material needs, what good is that? So it is for faith without deeds: it is totally dead."
As a student I was involved in some re-decorating projects managed by the SVP, and it wasn't long before I had joined a local conference. I don't just enjoy the variety of work we do, I simply couldn't be without it. It is encouraging, inspiring and immense fun.