In 1833, a 19-year-old college student, Frederic Ozanam, and his friends began serving the poor in Paris, France. This was the beginning of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Today, there are more than 400,000 members serving in 133 countries around the globe.
The Society came to the United States in 1845 and a conference was formed in St. Louis, Missouri. The first presence of the Society in the Archdiocese of Galveston- Houston began in 1871. There are 61 Conferences in the Archdiocesan Council involving more than 1,800 members in spiritual growth, friendship and service to the poor. With your support in 2012, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston provided 169,000 hours and 208,000 unreimbursed miles visiting 9,100 homes while providing over 437,000 services totaling $5.6 million in assistance. The volunteers provided $2.5 million in rent and utility assistance, distributed $2.4 million in food, offered $308,000 worth of clothing, and distributed $195,000 worth of furniture and appliances.
Inspired by Gospel values, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic lay organization, leads women and men to join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to the needy and suffering in the tradition of its founder, Blessed Frederic Ozanam, and patron, St. Vincent de Paul.
As a reflection of the whole family of God, members who are known as Vincentians are drawn from every ethnic and cultural background, age group and economic level. Vincentians are united in an international society of charity by their spirit of poverty, humility and sharing, which is nourished by prayer and reflection, mutually supportive gatherings and adherence to a basic rule.
Organized locally, Vincentians witness God’s love by embracing all works of charity and justice. The Society collaborates with other people of good will in relieving needs and addressing its causes, making no distinction in those served, because in them Vincentians see the face of Christ.