Saint Vincent de Paul - Saint Lawrence Conference Toronto, Canada

Society of Saint. Vincent De Paul
Saint Lawrence Conference



Frederic Ozanam

1813 - 1853
Society of
St. Vincent de Paul

In 1833, Frederic Ozanam, and a group of students from the Sorbonne University were challenged to prove their faith in Christ through action, not just words. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was formed when they took up this challenge and began to work with the desperately poor in Paris. Developing a simple system, they went in teams to help the poor in their homes, in the streets, in the hospitals and the asylums. Adopting as their patron St. Vincent de Paul, a 16th century cleric renowned for his work with the poor, the Society arose from humble beginnings to become an international organization found in 130 countries with one million members.

Continuing the tradition of visitation of the needy in their homes, Vincentians organize themselves into parish based units called Conferences to serve those in need through person to person contact. Emergency assistance is given by way of food, clothing and furniture; giving those in need access to basic necessities. Friendship, guidance and advocacy are also offered to enable individuals and families assistance through community programs and parish involvement. As well, from the beginning the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has operated Special Works which in a spirit of social justice seek to offer a helping hand up to those seeking assistance. These include supportive residential programs, children’s camps, community clothing stores and court services.

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