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The Society

Inspired by Gospel values, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a Catholic lay organization of men and women who are joined together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to those who are needy and suffering, in the tradition of its founder, Blessed Frederic Ozanam, and patron, St. Vincent de Paul. 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.

Works of Charity

No work of charity is foreign to the Society. It includes any form of help that alleviates suffering or deprivation and promotes human dignity and personal integrity in all their dimensions. The Society serves those in need regardless of creed, ethnic or social background, health, gender, or political opinions. Vincentians strive to seek out and find those in need and the forgotten, the victims of exclusion or adversity.

Vincentians endeavor to establish relationships based on trust and friendship. Conscious of their own frailty and weakness, their hearts beat with the heartbeat of the poor. They do not judge those they serve. Rather, they seek to understand them as they would a brother or sister.

The Local Conference

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul operates internationally in over 4200 locations. Organized locally in conferences, generally at the parish or university level, Vincentians witness God’s love by embracing all works of charity and justice.

We are the local Society of St. Vincent de Paul Conference in Middleboro Massachusetts, serving the towns of Middleboro, Lakeville, Rochester and Carver. The primary ministry of our conference is the operation and funding of the Sacred Heart Food Pantry in Middleboro.

Vincentian Spirituality

Having been placed under the patronage of St. Vincent de Paul by the founding members, members of the Society are inspired by his spirituality, manifest in his attitudes, his thoughts, his example and his words.

Seeing the Face of Christ in the Poor

St. Vincent teaches us to see Christ in the poor and suffering, so much so that the poor become our Lords and Masters and we their servants. Vincentian spirituality is centered around this concept. Jesus said "Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me." (see Matthew 25: 34-40). So we honor our Lord Jesus Christ by serving Him both materially and spiritually in the person of the poor. Vincentians believe that true religion is found among the poor, and that as we attend to their needs, they inspire us and evangelize us.

To Be Evangelized By the Poor

"The poor have much to teach you. You have much to learn from them." -St. Vincent. When we share in the life and goals of poor persons, we discover the presence of the Spirit of the Lord who renews us. As we speak with them, listen to them, and accompany them as the agents of their own way to liberation, we allow ourselves to be evangelized by them - we are inspired and humbled by their faith and hope in God under the worst of circumstances.

To Evangelize the Poor

Vincentians seek, in their relationship with those in need, to bear witness to the love of Christ for each one of us. The mission to the spiritually needy and the materially needy are integrally related and cannot be separated; one without the other is worthless. Our proclamation of the good news will resound in people's hearts especially when we give vibrant witness:

  • through the language of works: performing the works of justice and mercy which are a sign that the kingdom of God is really alive among us: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, helping to find the causes of their hunger and thirst and the ways of alleviating it;
  • through the language of words: announcing with deep conviction the Lord's presence, his love, his offer of forgiveness and acceptance to all;
  • through the language of relationships: being with poor persons, working with them, forming a community that shows the Lord's love for all.

Text contained in this section (Vincentian Spirituality) was taken from the website vinformation.org

The Society and Social Justice

The Society is concerned not only with alleviating need but also with identifying the unjust structures that cause it. It is, therefore, committed to identifying the root causes of poverty and to contributing to their elimination. In all its charitable actions there should be a search for justice; in its struggle for justice, the Society must keep in mind the demands of charity.

Affirming the dignity of each human being as created in God's image, and Jesus' particular identification with those who are excluded by society, Vincentians envision a more just society in which the rights, responsibilities and development of all people are promoted.

Advocacy and Education

Where injustice, inequality, poverty or exclusion are due to unjust economic, political or social structures or to inadequate or unjust legislation, the Society should speak out clearly against the situation, always with charity, with the aim of contributing to and demanding improvements. Vincentians oppose discrimination of all kinds and work to change the attitudes of those who view the weak or those who are different with prejudice, fear or scorn, attitudes which gravely wound the dignity of others.

Social Justice and Catholic Social Teaching

The following are documents and videos related to social justice in the context of Catholic social teaching:

Text contained in this section (The Society and Social Justice) was taken from International Confederation of St. Vincent de Paul (2006) The Rule (pp 18-19)

National Council Documents