The Story of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul

St Vincent de Paul pic
St Vincent de Paul
Image: svdpcincinnati.org

Becky Catino, a business professional in Ohio, enjoys a number of hobbies and activities in her free time. Among Becky Catino’s charitable activities is serving as chair of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Cincinnati, an organization that reaches out to help the poor and the underserved in the community.

While many people may have heard of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, now an international organization known for its work for the poor, they may not know about the group’s origins. A student of law, Frédéric Ozanam, and six colleagues started the organization in Paris, France, in 1833 in response to a challenge to show how Catholics were reaching out to fight poverty in Paris. The group began doing such things as visiting impoverished individuals and providing them with help to improve their lives, drawing upon their own funds and the donations of others.

Over time, the group expanded from its original seven members to over 2,000, who worked to help the poor in various locations around France. Shortly afterward, in 1845, the Society expanded into the United States in Saint Louis, Missouri. Over the years, the organization continued to spread, and today has a presence in 150 countries around the world.

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