"Faithful to its Founders, it is the Society's constant concern to renew and adapt itself to the changing conditions of the world... no work of charity is strange to the Society. Its work involves all forms of aid by individual contact in order to promote the dignity and integrity of man."
Fundamental principles of the Rule of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul.
How the SVP was Formed
The Society of St Vincent de Paul was founded in Paris in 1833 by a group of Catholic students who, led by Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, aimed to put their faith into action through direct contact and assistance to the poor.
Inspired by the work and teachings of St Vincent de Paul, a priest who abandoned the profit of an ecclesiastical career at the Royal Court in favour of working with the marginalised and forgotten poor of France in the 1600s, the group placed itself under his patronage.
A few years after its foundation, the organisation had grown in numbers and soon spread to other countries. By 1844, the first Conference of Charity had been formed in England & Wales.
The Society founded by Frederic almost two centuries later would continue its work not just in France, but across the world. The work would be undertaken by ordinary people who felt called to turn concern into practical action and to alleviate poverty in all its forms.
For more information on the history of the Society see:
- Founding of the SVP
- Inspirations for the Society
- Growth of the Society in England & Wales
- Other Key Vincentian Figures
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