St. Vincent de Paul Society
The St. Vincent de Paul Society was founded in 1883 to serve the impoverished people living in the slums of Paris, France. The society chose St. Vincent de Paul as its patron. St. Rosalie Rendu, who was beatified in 2004 by Pope John Paul II, was a member of the Daughters of Charity working in the slums of Paris. It was she who encouraged and guided the founder, Frederic Ozanam, to establish a society specifically to meet the needs of these people.
 

The History of St. Vincent de Paul

 

St. Vincent de Paul was born in Pouy, France in 1580 and died in Paris in 1660. In 1617, he founded the first charity to assist the poor. It was not long before several more Paris priests, encouraged by his example, joined him in his mission. These first missions lasted until the French Revolution.
Vincent was also very concerned about the conditions of the convicts in the galleys of the ships, whose squalid conditions easily led to misery and death. Not only did he wish to bring them food, but he wanted to minister to their souls as well. He visited these convicts in the Paris prisons and galleys, serving their needs and treating them with kindness and compassion. Because of his gentleness to them, many were converted. Eventually, a house was purchased and Vincent started a hospital. Ten years later he also established a hospital in Marseilles and later cared for the convicts in Bordeaux in 1625.

With the help of a wealthy benefactor, Vincent founded his religious institute of priests, the Congregation of Priests of Missions who vowed to evangelize the country people. He realized priests were needed to spread the mission work. At the time of his death, Vincent was acting director of eleven seminaries and before the French Revolution his Congregation was directing one third of all of the seminaries in France.

In 1629, Vincent established the Daughters of Charity to help care for the poor. Conditions were so deplorable for many poor children that he worked to establish food, shelter and health care for children and meaningful work for their families. He used the newspapers to print accounts of their misery and raised more funds for their care. The Sisters of Charity made and distributed soup every day to 500 poor besides taking care of 60 to 80 sick people during war time.

By 1638 Vincent was sending his mission priests to other countries to care for the poor and the slaves in many parts of the known world. Vincent was devoted to prayer and the faith that God would provide for all of their needs as He saw fit. "His zeal for souls knew no limit; all occasions were to him opportunities to exercise it." (New Advent.org)

June 16, 1737, Vincent was canonized by Clement XII.

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The St. Vincent de Paul Society can be reached at 716-224-2515
Anyone in need of help or knows of someone that needs help please call. Please contact us if you wish to join us, make a contribution, and/or learn more about the St. Vincent de Paul Society.