The St. Vincent dePaul Society is an organization composed of Catholic lay men and women dedicated to providing temporal aid to those less fortunate. The major focus of our help is the pressing material needs of the poor.
Called by Baptism and inspired by gospel values, the members of the Society of St. Vincent dePaul seek to grow spiritually by serving the needy and suffering in a spirit of justice and charity.
The Society was founded in 1833 in Paris, France by a 20 year-old student of the SorbonneUniversity, Frederic Ozanam. Frederic and a group of fellow students sought out the poor in Paris in their homes and brought them food, clothing and, most importantly, friendship. They took as their patron the great French priest, St. Vincent de Paul. Their mission was to practice works of charity; to assist those in need. Additional groups began to form in Paris, then spread throughout France, and eventually throughout the Christian world. Frederic Ozanam was beatified in 1996 and now awaits canonization.
A conference is the basic organizational unit of the Society and is usually affiliated with a parish. The first U.S. Conference was formed in 1845 right here in St. Louis at what is now the old cathedral. The Society of St. Vincent dePaul of St. Louis has grown to more than 165 participating parishes with over 2600 Vincentian volunteers in the eleven counties in the St. Louis Archdiocese.
For more information, click here to visit the St. Louis Archdiocese web site.
Our Conference here at St. Peter celebrated its 110th anniversary in 2007, the same year as our parish’s 175th anniversary!
Membership, Programs and Services
Each conference has three types of members:
- Active Members - regularly participate in all conference activities.
- Associate Members - assist with special tasks when called upon.
- Benefactor Members - support the work of the conference with regular contributions and individual gifts for special needs.
The Society of St. Vincent dePaul responds to the need for advocacy and self-sufficiency of every person in need through a variety of programs which offer individualized assistance while maintaining the dignity and privacy of those served.
- Membership Outreach - provides direct assistance to households by providing food, clothing, rent, utility assistance and much more.
- Criminal Justice Ministry - provides spiritual and temporal services for prisoners, their families and others involved in the criminal justice system.
- Good Works Program provides home repair and maintenance services for seniors, low income families and people with disabilities who wish to stay in their own homes.
- Thrift Stores -We have four Thrift Stores -- three located in St. Louis County and one located in St. Charles County. The stores provide additional funding to serve the poor through the sale of used furniture, clothing and household goods.
- Medical Transportation is designed to assist Vincentians in serving clients who have a medical appointment but have no way to get to the appointment.
- Pharmacy Program through an arrangement with Express Scripts provides pharmaceutical vouchers to area conferences to give their clients who are uninsured or underinsured.
- Vinnie's Autos and Repair Service provides a mechanism whereby a client can purchase a used vehicle at a reduced cost and also clients can receive repair service through a network of auto shops in the area at a reduced cost.
- Burial services for the indigent.
- Disaster relief aid.
- Overseas twinning.
What has the St. Peter Conference done?
During the year 2011, we provided approximately $50,000 worth of basic assistance to approximately 800 people in our community with utilities, housing/rental assistance, food, household items, transportation needs and medical and prescription expenses.
Our conference continues to extend its hand to the less fortunate conferences of SVdP in the St. Louis region and in impoverished countries internationally. We also cooperate with our own Kirkcare, Inc., which operates the local food pantry and provides assistance to our neighbors as well.
In a February 14, 2001 letter to the International President of the Society of St. Vincent dePaul Pope John Paul II said: I ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to help you constantly to find new ways to love the poor, so that the whole Church will live this charity each day from close at hand; and I affectionately give you my apostolic blessing, which I extend to all members and friends of the St. Vincent dePaul Society.