Spirituality of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul

The Spirituality of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul

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 those who are needy and suffering in the tradition of its founder, Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, and patron, St. Vincent de Paul.[1]

Members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul are called Vincentians (vin-sen-shuhns). These members see their relationships with the poor as an opportunity to grow closer to Christ. In their work, they are asked to see Christ in the poor.

Vincentians are called to journey toward holiness, because true holiness is perfect union with Christ and the perfection of love, which is central to their vocation and the source of its fruitfulness.  They aspire to burn with the love of God as revealed by Christ and to deepen their own faith and fidelity.  (Rule, 2.2)

Since 1836, The Rule has served to unite Vincentians in a common spirituality.  It is from this document that we understand the essential elements of our Society:  spirituality, friendship, and service. Each element is intertwined with the others, and a thriving Vincentian understands the importance of all three elements in their journey.

In addition to these essential elements, Vincentians strive to model five virtues of our patron, Saint Vincent de Paul:

  • Simplicity
  • Humility
  • Gentleness
  • Selflessness
  • Zeal

Vincentians use these virtues to guide their interactions with one another and also our neighbors in need.

Prayer, reliance on Divine Providence, Scripture, the Eucharist, and the Blessed Virgin Mary all serve as sources of strength for members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The vocation of the Vincentian affects not only their interactions with the poor, but the way they go about living each day:

The Vincentian vocation affects all aspects of members’ daily lives, making them more sensitive and caring in their family, work and leisure activities. Vincentians are available for work in the Conference only after fulfilling the family and professional duties. (Rule, 2.6)

[1] https://www.svdpusa.org/About-Us/Mission-and-Values

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