The Vincentian Family
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is one of many organizations, both lay and religious, whose members throughout the world, together inspired by the spirituality of St. Vincent de Paul, form a single Vincentian Family.
The Vincentian Family marks its beginning in 1617, when St. Vincent de Paul, inspired by receiving the confession of a poor farmer, founded the Congregation of the Mission. That same year he would found the first Confraternity of Charity, and just a few years later, along with St. Louise, the Daughters of Charity.
For more than 400 years, members of the Vincentian Family have dedicated themselves to serving Christ in the person of His poor, and to loving God, in Vincent’s words, “with the strength of our arms and the sweat of our brows.”
Gratefully remembering the support and encouragement the first Conference received from Blessed Rosalie Rendu, a Daughter of Charity, the Society maintains and develops close relationships with other branches of the Vincentian family.
Organizations in the Vincentian Family
There are many organizations, perhaps hundreds, that continue the work and charism of St. Vincent de Paul, including:
- Congregation of the Mission was officially founded by St. Vincent in 1625, but dates its birth to the homily he gave at Folleville on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul in 1617. Today, there are some 4,000 missionaries (priests and brothers) serving in 80 countries throughout the world.
- Ladies of Charity, founded by St. Vincent as the Confraternities of Charity in 1617, is an organization of lay women dedicated to serving the poor. Globally, they are organized as the International Association of Charity (AIC) with over 250,000 members.
- Daughters of Charity, founded by St. Louise de Marillac and St. Vincent de Paul in 1633, their motto is: “The charity of Jesus crucified impels us.” Currently there are approximately 17,000 Daughters serving in 90 countries around the world.
- Sisters of Charity, founded by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmittburg, Maryland in 1809. Overall, the Sisters of Charity Federation counts some 4,000 members in North America.
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul, with over 850,000 members in 150 countries worldwide, was founded by Blessed Frédéric Ozanam in Paris in 1833. (Link: History of the Society)
Founding Saints and Blesseds
St. Vincent de Paul (1581 – 1660)
a priest, is the namesake and Patron Saint of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. He founded or co-founded the Congregation of the Mission, Confraternities of Charity, and the Daughters of Charity.
St. Louise de Marillac (1591 – 1660)
a widowed mother, was co-founder of the Daughters of Charity, who, along with her Spiritual Director, Vincent de Paul, dedicated her life to serving the poor.
Bl. Frédéric Ozanam (1813 – 1853)
a layman, husband, father, and college professor, was a widely known voice for the poor who founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul when he was 20 years old.
Bl. Rosalie Rendu (1786 – 1856)
was a Daughter of Charity who dedicated her entire adult life to serving the people in the poorest district of Paris, and was beloved by all. She helped introduce the first members of the Society to this work of charity.