The movement grew and flourished. Today, more than 700,000 St. Vincent de Paul members serve people in need on five continents.
Mission Statement of St. Vincent de Paul International:
“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 need and addressing its causes, making no distinction in those served, because in them Vincentians see the face of Christ.”
Presence in Louisville
In Louisville, St. Vincent de Paul has been helping the poor and homeless since 1853. Through our campus programs in the Smoketown/Shelby Park neighborhood, as well as through our 47 neighborhood-based conferences throughout Louisville, Central Kentucky and Southern Indiana, we help people in need.
Each year, about 1,500 trained volunteers give generously of their time and compassion to help deliver the services of St. Vincent de Paul through our neighborhood-based conferences. St. Vincent de Paul is privileged to work with schools, churches, businesses, and individuals wishing to support our mission of offering help to people in need.
Home visits are a key component of our behind-the-scenes service to the poor. Working in teams of two or more people, our trained volunteers meet with families and individuals who are seeking help with basic necessities such as food, rent and utility billls, or those facing other hardships and crises.
In addition to providing limited financial assistance, Vincentian volunteers offer prayerful fellowship and practical guidance to people who have reached out for help. Home visits serve a dual purpose: To help the suffering while also nurturing the spirituality of Vincentians, by allowing volunteers to become personally acquainted with the wants of those in need, and to be in a position to serve the poor — not from afar, but sincerely and intimately.
Finally, home visits enable volunteers to visit the poor not as social workers, but as brothers and sisters, as neighbors, as friends — and, most importantly, as representatives of Christ’s love.