History of the Society Of St. Vincent De Paul

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was founded in Paris, France, in 1833 to assist the poor living in the slums in that city.   Blessed Frédéric Ozanam founded the society when he was only 20 years old.  He was beatified in 1997 by Pope John Paul II.

Sister Rosalie Rendu, D.C (a member of the Daughters of Charity founded by St. Vincent de Paul), worked with Frédéric and convinced the society to take St. Vincent De Paul as it’s patron.  She was well known for her work with the poor people of Paris, and she herself was beatified by the Vatican in 2003.

In the mid-1800s, the Society began to expand beyond Paris, and was fortunate to acquire a few significant supporters and benefactors.  For example the Venerable Leo Dupont (a.k.a. “the Holy Man of Tours”) became a contributor to the society.

The members of the Society operate through “conferences”.  A conference is simply a group of Catholic volunteers who offer their time & resources to help the needy in their community.  Non-Catholics are welcome to join as long as they understand that it is a Catholic society that they are joining.  The conferences can be based out of a church, school, hospital, community center, or any other suitable location.

St. Vincent De Paul himself, as well as the Society, have influenced universities such as:

Currently the Society has around 950,000 members in 132 countries.  The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is part of the Vincentian Family.