Our Spiritual Values and Ethos


Our Vision, which is inspired by Christ's message to love our neighbour as ourselves, is for individuals and families who are in any form of need to have hope together with a sense of dignity, worth, well-being and peace of mind.



Our Mission is to seek and find those in need, to help them in a spirit of justice and to tackle the causes of poverty where we can. We do this:

  • As members – in our active membership of local groups, through which we befriend and offer support, within our means, to any person in need.
  • As staff – through working in or supporting projects indirectly that provide services to those in need and supporting the members in their work.
  • As a Society – by working together to provide a national, and international, network of support--by providing a range of projects which address particular needs for those who are economically disadvantaged-by working together with other Vincentian groups to raise awareness of the level of need and the causes of poverty.


  • Christ Centred  - The St Vincent de Paul Society acknowledges the presence of Christ everywhere. 
  • Compassionate - We aim to show a compassion that is non-judgmental towards those with whom we work.
  • Respectful  - We respect the dignity of all in the knowledge that we are all equal.
  • Generous - We aim to be generous with our time, our possessions and ourselves in the service of others.
  • Responsive - We aim to be alert to the ever changing needs in the communities in which we work and to respond accordingly in order to alleviate poverty in all its forms as well as we can.
  • Accountable - We recognize our accountability to those we seek to help; whilst acting within the limits of our own knowledge and skills.
  • Confidential - We respect the confidentiality of those we help, whilst recognizing that the physical and mental wellbeing of any vulnerable party must always be paramount.

The St Vincent de Paul Society strives to achieve these values through the intercession of the Holy Spirit, through prayer, friendship, mutual support and encouragement. 


The Founders of the Vincentian family

St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac, Blessed Frederic Ozanam and Blessed Rosalie Rendu encountered Christ in the poor of their time. The God revealed in that encounter was a God of compassionate love. Through their relationships with people who were oppressed because of poverty, Frederic, Louise and Vincent were themselves transformed.

That transformation led them:

  • to look at society from the perspective of people who are excluded
  • to become more compassionate and caring and
  • to a deep commitment to the elimination of poverty and suffering.

This highlights the specifically Vincentian way of approaching Justice issues. It emerges from the ‘bottom up’ not from the ‘top down’, being based on active involvement with the poor. In opening our hearts to people who are poor, it is our hope that we will be similarly transformed on a personal level, and inspired to work for the transformation of society in their interests.

The SVP supports justice and peace by encouraging communities and individuals to improve their quality of life, but works to address the causes of need. It gathers and uses information about the effects of legislation on grass roots poverty, examines relevant draft legislation and responds to government on issues that adversely affect the poor, mainly by co-operating with other Christian and voluntary groups in the UK and within Europe. However, in dealing with such matters it avoids party politics.

Membership is open to men and women, young and old, of any denomination. The SVP only asks that members accept fully the Christian ethos of the Society, and are committed to express their love of God through personal service to their neighbour. The SVP respects religious liberty and values all people.

Visit the Spirituality Resources section for more information.