The Society of St Vincent De Paul is an international fraternal organization of Catholic lay people, men and women, who practice Christianity by helping those in need on a person to person basis and in a spirit of charity and justice. The society was founded in Paris in 1833 by Frederic Ozanam and a small group or fellow students. Ozanam was then a 20 year old student of law at the Sorbonne University, where he was challenged to prove the practical value of his Christian beliefs. With his friends he formed a small group who set about helping the oppressed and poor.
The society is named after St Vincent De Paul (1581-1660) whose life was devoted to helping the under privileged. The aim of the society is to provide means whereby members can practice Christianity by loving their neighbours. The help may be in cash or in kind or in the form of counseling, moral support etc. The Society encourages self help and other welfare projects. Though the society is traditionally poor it gives day by day what it receives from its members and benefactors. The society continues to expand throughout the Christian world. It is now established in more than145 countries with membership bordering 10 lakhs in over 50,000 conferences.
Every Sunday at 10.00 am, the members of Vincent De Paul Society meet at Bosco Maiyam. Meeting begins with opening prayer by the Parish Priest and has spiritual reading, approval of the minutes of previous meeting, statement of accounts, members report on their visits to the adopted families or other cases given for investigations, consideration of new cases of any, secret collection as a proof of the spirit of sacrifice and sharing. The needy people come and place their request for help with the society. The meeting concludes with the closing prayer.
The main work of the society is to adopt poor families regardless of religion, caste and creed, then visiting them in their homes minimum once a week. These visits helps us to assess their actual needs, their strengths and weaknesses, it will helps us to strategies our material and spiritual assistance. There by preparing them to stand on their own feet is our goal. Other activities vary as circumstances demand and extend to every form of need or suffering, which can be relieved by person to person contact. At present we feet the basic needs of our Beneficiaries are food, shelter, health and education.
We provide them with rice and other cooking materials for a month or so thus they are able to manage or fight their poverty. Most of the things are donated by our Benefactors enthusiastically and often it were none other than the members of the society.
Members of our society visit people at home and occasionally visit hospitals, spend time with them counseling and encouraging them in their sickness. We help the sick, disabled and abandoned people to reach the hospitals. We provide financial help to those cannot afford to buy medicines. We even arrange funeral services for those who die without any persons to meet such expenses.
We have prioritized educational help to the needy students, as it results in teaching them to catch the fish rather than feeding them fish. Every year needy students, from primary to University are given financial Aid to pay their Fees, partially or fully depending on their medium of studies. Once in a year we conduct orientation program to our adopted Students along with their parents, and regularly check their Educational and Spiritual progress.
Social and Spiritual Activities
We help poor couples desiring to get married and also admit deserted senior citizens to old age homes. During the year SVP members attend quarterly prayer meetings and retreats held in different conferences. The Feast of St Vincent De Paul is celebrated every year along with our adopted families and students. Every month we submit our monthly accounts and activity report to the Council.
We are thankful to God for making us instruments of his love and charity. We appreciate the support and spiritual advice rendered by the Spiritual Advisor and other priests. Our heartfelt thanks to all our benefactors for their good will and support. We pray that the society of St Vincent De Paul may endeavour and serve human kind in the right direction in coming years.