Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash

It began with firewood—the spark that lit the fire in the heart for love of neighbor.

A group of college buddies in 1833 who loved God and studied theology felt that something was missing. They were convicted to live their faith in a more active, tangible way.


They began with firewood, by delivering it and other material items to the people in their community who were impoverished. This was the 19th century version of helping a family pay their utility bill to keep them warm in the winter.


It wasn’t enough, though, to just drop off the material items. Daughter of Charity Sister Rosalie Rendu mentored the young men in the ways of love. “They will appreciate your kindness and your love more than all else you can bring to them,” she said.


With a basket of bread in one hand and a rosary in the other, she showed these young men how to give to the poor with kindness and friendship. In turn, they discovered within themselves a burning love for both God and neighbor.


This was the beginning of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which swept like wildfire across its origin of France and today exists in over 150 countries. Even today, these Vincentians (members of the Society) “aspire to burn with the love of God as revealed by Christ to deepen their own faith and fidelity. Vincentians are aware of their own brokenness and need for God’s grace. They seek His glory, not their own.” Rule 2.2


This is at the heart of every ministry associated with St. Vincent de Paul:  to not merely help others with material goods, but to meet every person we encounter where they are and to encourage them with love.


By meeting one another in our shared brokenness, we recognize the need for God’s grace and allow him to fill those cracks in our hearts and in our lives. This is how we will change the world. The firewood is just the spark.


Lord, fill our hearts with the light of Your Love, that we may burn with love for You and neighbor.


–Jackie, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Dayton

Contact Us:
St. Vincent de Paul Dayton
124 West Apple St.
Dayton, OH 45402

Phone: 937.222.5555
Fax: 937.222.7944


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