What is the Society of St. Vincent de Paul?
The Society of Saint
Vincent de Paul, also known as Conferences of Saint Vincent
de Paul, was founded in Paris in 1833 by a group of young
laymen. It is a Catholic voluntary organisation of lay men
and women dedicated to providing personal help to people in
any kind of need.
work is based on direct, one-to-one interaction with people
in need, no matter what their origin or belief. We visit
them in their own place, whether that is their home, a
residential home, hospital, on the streets or in prison,
wherever they are, offering our friendship as the basis for
all the other help we give.
The Conferences of the
Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, the basic units of the
organisation, normally meet weekly to discuss the business
of helping the poor in their own area, normally their
parish. Within each conference, the members live a rich,
spiritual, community life.
There are around 51,000
conferences in the world, with over 700,000 members. Working
with the members, in particular tasks to help different
groups of people (children, the elderly, the sick, schools,
hospitals, etc.) are more than 1,500,000 volunteers,
throughout the world, since there are Conferences of the SVP
in 142 countries.
What is the Council General of the Society
of St. Vincent de Paul?
The Council General of the Conferences of
Saint Vincent represents the conferences at an international
level. Its offices have been in Paris since the Society was
founded in 1833.
Its work mainly involves
supporting the life of the Conferences around the world, sending
significant resources, according to its means, for the work
provided around the world, according to need. It acts as a link
between the poorest and the richest countries where the Society
is represented, to support technology transfer, economic and
financial help, etc., and ensures that funds are used in
accordance with the authorised programmes to help the poor.
It provides the Society’s
central administration, and grants the status of Conference to
new groups as they are formed around the world. All of its
members are volunteers, and only a small group (of ten people)
is employed in the Paris office to provide the continuity of