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Spiritual Reflection. Who Are We and What We Do? What is Our History? What is Vincentian Spirituality ? Why Do We Have A Rule and What Is It? Why Do We Make Home Visits? How Are We Organized? Why and How Are We Accountable? What is Our Society Doing Today?

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Who Are We and What We Do?

  • What is Our History?
  • What is Vincentian Spirituality ?
  • Why Do We Have A Rule and What Is It?
  • Why Do We Make Home Visits?
  • How Are We Organized?
  • Why and How Are We Accountable?
  • What is Our Society Doing Today?
  • Commissioning


  • Inspired by Gospel Values
  • Catholic Lay Organization of Men and Women
  • Joined Together to Grow Spirituality
  • Person to Person Service to Those Who are in Need or Suffering
  • Blessed Frededric Ozanam, Our Primary Founder
  • St. Vincent de Paul, Our Patron
  • Members Known as Vincentians


  • International Society of Charity
  • Poverty, Humility and Sharing
  • Prayer and Reflection
  • Mutuality Supportive Gathering
  • The Rule
  • No distinction in those who are Served
  • Organized Locally in Parishes
  • In those they serve, Vincentians See the Face of Christ

Purpose Of The Society

    • Primary
    • Secondary
  • Scope Of The Society
the society s essential elements
The Society’s Essential Elements
  • Spirituality
  • Friendship
  • Service
the core work of the society it always starts with a home visit







Churches & Agencies

Thrift Stores




Needs $$$







The Core Work Of The SocietyIt Always Starts With A Home Visit

Home Visit

our patron and his inspiration
Our Patron and His Inspiration

St. Vincent De Paul

St. Louise de Marillac

our founder and his mentor
Our Founder and His Mentor

Blessed Frederic Ozanam

Blessed Rosalie Rendu


Blessed Virgin Mary

Our Patroness

St. Catherine Laboure

Apparition of Our Lady

what is vincentian spirituality definition
What Is Vincentian Spirituality?Definition

Vincentians seek:

  • through prayer
  • meditation on the scriptures
  • the teaching of the Church
  • through their daily lives
  • in their relationship with those in need

to bear witness to the love of Christ

what is vincentian spirituality prayer
What Is Vincentian Spirituality?Prayer
  • Prayer is the Essential to Being a Vincentian
  • Open and Close All Meetings with a Prayer
  • Pray Before a Home Visit
  • Pray with Those We Serve
  • Pray to Sustain Us in Our Daily Vincentian Activities
what is vincentian spirituality good samaritan luke 10 29 37
What Is Vincentian Spirituality?Good Samaritan Luke 10:29-37
  • Frederic Saw Vincentians Not as Good Samaritans But as “Weak Samaritans…..Let Us Dare….to Approach this Great Sick One.: Perhaps He Will Not be Frightened of Us.” Frederic Thought that Wounded Humanity Would be Initially More Receptive of Vincentian Lay Persons Approaching Them Rather Than Clergy or Religious.
  • St. Vincent “The Poor are Your Masters, You Will See the Face of Christ in the Poor. It is for Your Love Alone that the Poor Will Forgive You the Bread You Give Them.”
charity and justice
Charity and Justice
  • St. Vincent’s Words:

“There is No Charity that is Not Accompanied by Justice, Nor Does it Permit Us to Do More Than We Reasonably Can.”

  • Frederic’s Words:

“The Order of Society is Based on Two Virtues: Justice and Charity…”

divine providence
Divine Providence
  • “Trust In and Reliance On Divine Providence” St. Vincent de Paul
  • Frederic Trusted That God Was Providing for Him
  • Frederic Believed That God Was Acting in His Life and the Lives of Others
  • Frederic’s Words:

“Our Little Society Has Grown Large Enough To Be A Providential Fact”


The Rule of the

Society of St. Vincent de Paul

Created by Gerry Felsecker

Executive Director - Milwaukee

how the rule came to be
How the Rule came to be?


Frederic Ozanam

August Le Taillandier

Paul Lamache

Francois Lallier

Jules Deveaux

Felix Clave

Emmanuel Bailly

In the beginning…

issue how big is too big
ISSUE: How big is TOO big?

But we need each other!

How about 100 members?

We must split up!

What shall we do?


Divide Don’t Divide .

-We do not know each other -We would go our separate ways

-No time to discuss our visit -We would lose touch with each

-Loss of personal touch other


The pro’s and con’s

can we compromise
Can we compromise?

(1) A structural way to keep us on the same page.

(2) Something in writing: who we are and what we are about







They called it:

‘The Rule of

the Society

of St.


de Paul’

Article 1

“All Christian young men who desire to unite in a communion of prayers and a participation in the same works of charity may become members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, wherever they may happen to reside.”

A mission statement, constitution,

and ‘how to’ manual - all in one.

how did the rule change
How did the Rule change?

Very little changed for 133 years.

Most of the changes reflected new structures (national, diocesan, and district council) that became neces- sary as the Society expanded.

Up to the 1960s, the wording of the original Rule was easily recognized to the Rule of its time.

what happened to change it
What happened to change it?
  • The bishops from around the world met as the Second Vatican Council 1962-65.

“All religious and lay organizations need to revise their constitutions in light of the changes in the world.”

general assembly



To change the Rule, the Society calls a meeting at which one person represents each country in the world were the Society is active (135).

An approval by the majority is required for the new Rule to be adopted.


what did they come up with
What did they come up with?


“Ever since the end of the Second Vatican Council, it has been the desire of the Society to call itself into question by a loyal examination of its own life. It wishes to remain faithful to the sense of rule and tradition, and at the same time to make explicit its adaptation to the modern world.”

- International President

what changed
What changed?







after five years of evaluation the rule was once again redrafted into a permanent form
After five years of evaluation, the Rule was once again redrafted into a ‘permanent’ form.

1973 - 2003

Most current Vincentians joined during this period

what does it look like

The new Rule in 2006 has three parts: more descriptive, more spiritual and more clear on difficult issues:

  • Basic Principles
  • (Developed and approved international– who are we, what we do, how we do it.

2. International Operations

(How we work together nationally)


3. National Applications

(Developed by each country – approved by international)

let s take a closer look

PART THREE of the Rule

- Membership

- Conference/Councils and their Work

- Governance and Management

- Accountability


home visits keystone of the society of st vincent de paul
HOME VISITS: Keystone Of The Society Of St. Vincent de Paul

Personal Service To The Needy In Their Homes

why do we do home visits
Why Do We Do Home Visits?
  • To See The Face Of Christ In The Poor
  • Maintain The Dignity Of Those In Need
  • Expedite Assistance To Those In Need
  • Better Understand The Real Situation
  • Better Protects the Privacy Of The Client
quote from st vincent de paul
Quote From St. Vincent de Paul

“You will find that charity is a heavy burden to carry, heavier than the bowl of soup and the full basket. But you will keep you gentleness and your smile. It is not enough to give bread or soup. This the rich can do. You are the servant of the poor…They are your master, and the more difficult they will be, the more unjust and insulting, the more love you must give them. It is for your love alone that the poor will forgive the bread you give them.”

society of st vincent de paul organization

Council General

(143 Countries)

USA National Council

National Committees

(15 National Committees)

(3 Ad Hoc Committees)

Diocesan Councils

(57 Diocesan Councils)

District Councils

(332 District Councils)


(4,690 Conferences)

Society of St. Vincent de Paul Organization


(8 Regions)

the societies international logo
The Societies’ International Logo

The Circle

International Logo

The Crossing

The Eye

Serving in hope


The National Council Office Is Located In St. Louis Missouri

  • Current President – Joe Flannigan

Society of St. Vincent de Paul

58 Progress Parkway

St. Louis, MO 63043-3706

Phone: 314 -576-3993

FAX: 314-576-6755

Email: usacouncil@svdpusa.orgWeb: and

national committees
National Committees


Vincentian Service

  • Communications
  • Development
  • Finance and Governance
  • Youth & Young Vincentians
  • Formation
  • Voice Of The Poor
  • Disaster
  • Stores
formation services
Formation Services
  • Projects
    • Serving In Hope
    • Forming the Formators
    • Weekly Reflections
    • Invitation for Renewal
    • OzanamOrientation
    • Invitation to Serve
formation services cont
Formation Services cont
  • Workshops
    • Leadership Development
    • Trustees
    • Executive Directors
    • Spiritual Advisors
  • Spiritual Formation
    • Presentations
    • Retreats
  • Vincentian Family
united states council is divided into 8 regions

Northeastern Region

  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • North Central Region
  • Illinois ·UP of MI
  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin
  • Western Region
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Eastern Region
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
United States Council Is Divided Into 8 Regions
  • Mid Eastern Region
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Ohio
  • Southeastern Region
  • Alabama · Florida
  • Georgia · Louisiana
  • Mississippi ·Tennessee
  • North Carolina
  • Puerto Rico
  • South Carolina
  • Midwestern Region
  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Wyoming
  • South Central Region
  • Arkansas
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
north central region
North Central Region
  • North Central Region
  • Illinois
  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin
  • U.P. of MI
district council
District Council


  • Animates and Coordinates the Work of SVDP Units in Their Jurisdiction
  • Compiles and Submits an Annual Report to the Next Higher Council
  • Organize Training and Formation for Members and Potential Members
  • Communicates with Conferences and Councils to Keep Them Informed
  • Represents the District In Contacts With Religious And Public Authorities
  • Extends the Society Within Its Boundaries
guidelines for a successful conference
  • Reachable
  • Meet Regularly –Two Monthly
  • Genuine Commitment to Spiritual Purposes and Christian Cordiality
  • Takes Initiatives – Collaborative in Community – Share their wealth by Domestic and Internation Twinning
  • Members Want to Grow in Holiness
  • Recruitment - Ongoing Responsibility
  • Responsible Servant Leaders – active in District, Diocesan, Regional and National Councils

Why and How Are We Accountable

  • Realities Of Being A Non-Profit Organization
    • Non Profit Reality
    • Solidarity With the Society
    • Insurance Coverage
    • Incorporation of Councils
    • Federal And State Tax Laws

Why and How Are We Accountable

  • Maintaining Records
  • Confidentiality
    • Friend in Need
    • Collaboration With Other Agencies
    • Release of Information
  • Who Speaks for the Society
national strategic plan summary
National Strategic Plan Summary
  • Promote Greater Spiritual Growth At Every Level Of Society
  • Enhance the Image of the Society to Become a More Visible Sign of Christ
  • Encourage Greater Unity at Every Level of the Society
  • Develop Greater Solidarity With and Care for People Who are Poor
  • Building Strengthened Relationships with the Church, Vincentian Family, and Other Organizations, Which Serve People in Need.
  • Prepare a Comprehensive Development Program for Coordinated Fund Raising.
international twinning

Twinning Country National Council




Twinning Country Conference

Assisting Conferences And Councils In Other Countries Who Are Unable To Conduct Works Of Mercy Due to Lack Of Funds

International Twinning

US National



domestic twinning

Twinning Conference


Domestic Twinning

Assisting Other Conferences And Councils In The Council Of The U.S. Who Are Unable To Conduct Works Of Mercy Because Of Lack Of Funds

US National



  • A Vehicle To Share Between Conferences In Your Own Council, Diocese, Region
vincentian family
Vincentian Family
  • Expanding Collaboration With The Vincentian Family
    • Modeling the Relationship Between the Founding Members of the Society and Sister Rosalie Rendu
    • Maintain and Develop Close Relationships with Other Branches of the Family:
vincentian family cont
Vincentian Family cont.

Major Branches

  • Ladies of Charity
  • Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian Priests and Brothers)
  • Daughters of Charity
  • Federation of the Sisters of Charity


  • Vincentian Marian Youth
  • Miraculous Medal Associations
  • Vincentian Service Corps
  • Lay Vincentian Missionaries