Saint Vincent de Paul
Born: Apr 24, 1581
Died: Sep 27, 1660
Beatified: 1729
Canonised: Jun 16, 1737
Feast Day: Sep 27
St Vincent de Paul St Louise de Marillac
Saint Louise de Marillac
Born: Aug 12, 1591
Died: Mar 15, 1660
Beatified: Mar 11, 1934
Feast Day: May 9
Blessed Frederic Ozanam
Born: Apr 23, 1813
Died: Sep 8, 1853
Beatified: Aug 22 1997
Feast Day: Sep 9
Blessed Frederic Ozanam Blessed Rosalie Rendu
Blessed Rosalie Rendu
Born: Sep 9, 1786
Died: Feb 7, 1856
Beatified: Nov 9, 2003
Feast Day: Feb 7

Origins of the Society

First Beginnings: Paris France

Blessed Frédéric Ozanam is recognized as the main founder of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul.He gathered around him students of like mind and faith and they confronted faculty members of the Sorbonne University who attacked their faith.
One March night in 1833, a fellow student, a non-Catholic, challenged Frédéric and friends. His question was “What are you doing for them (the poor), you and your fellow Catholics…? Show us your works!” Ozanam knew that faith must be translated into action and that, like the apostles, they needed to evangelize by the practice of charity. He rallied the group when he cried out: “The blessing of the poor is that of God…let us go to the poor,”
One evening in May 1833, Frédéric and five other students met in the office of Mr. Bailly. The “Conference of Charity” was born. They asked Sister Rosalie Rendu, a Daughter of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul to teach them how to minister to the poor with love and respect, and she did so with much kindness. By 1834, there were more than 100 members and the Conference was renamed the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, taking the saint as an example to follow, and placed under the protection of the Blessed Virgin.

First Conferences in Canada

The conviction and enthusiasm of the founders of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul convinced many Catholic students to join the nascent Society. One of them was a young Canadian, Joseph Painchaud, Jr. (1819-1855). He joined the Saint Severin Conference while studying medicine in Paris. On returning home, Dr. Painchaud introduced the Society into Canada by establishing the Conférence Notre-Dame at Quebec’s Cathedral (now a Basilica) Parish on November 12, 1846. During its first year of existence, the Conference members distributed $5,000.00 to the poor, mostly to aid victims of two major fires that destroyed two thirds of the city in that year. The new Vincentians also opened a hospice for seniors, a Savings Bank (Caisse d’économie) for workmen and labourers and assisted German and Irish immigrants arriving in Quebec City. The Society expanded quickly and the first Particular Council was instituted on October 11, 1847 in the Quebec City area bringing together nine Conferences. The Superior Council, which is now called the National Council, was created in 1850.

Expansion into Ontario

Blessed Bishop Ignace Bourget, then Archbishop of Montreal, first established a Conference in Montreal in 1848 in Saint Jacques Parish. Dr. George Muir, who was an active member of the Quebec City Conference, moved to Toronto where he became the founder of the first Conference at St. Michael’s Cathedral Parish in 1850. The Society continued to expand in Ontario with the establishment of the Conference Notre-Dame de la Merci (bilingual) in Ottawa by Mr. Jimmy Joyce and his companions in December 1860. Three years later, the first francophone Conference was founded at the Notre-Dame du Bon Secours Parish (now Cathedral-Basilica) of Ottawa. The Society expanded to Hamilton, London, Windsor and other Ontario communities.

St Vincent

"You, Lord Jesus, live in the person of the poor ... Looking into their eyes, I find myself looking into yours"
Ordained as a priest at age 19, worked as chaplain to poor parish and to prisoners, seeing their physical and spiritual poverty, realized a connection between the two.
Through his study of Jesus, discovered Christ in the poor. 1617 - Formed the Ladies Charity, 1625 - Formed the Congregation of the Mission 1633 - the Daughters of Charity

St Louise

"Love the poor. Honour them, my children, as you would honour Christ himself"
Dedicated to helping abandoned children on the streets; also visited sick men in prison hospitals. Established a house nearby where women could cook meals for the prisoners. Assisted Vincent de Paul in forming the Daughters of Charity in 1642, helping abandoned children, people who were poor and sick, wounded soldiers, slaves, people with mental illness, and the elderly.

Blessed Frederic

"Christianity is not about ideas, but about deeds inspired by love"
From a Catholic family that ministered to the poor, he defended workers' rights and advocated for the poor. Envisioning a society and political structure founded on Christian principles.
At age 20, established The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in Paris, France.

Blessed Rosalie

"I have never prayed so well as in these streets"
Was nearly 17 years old when she joined the Daughters of Charity. She opened a free clinic, a pharmacy, a school, an orphanage, a childcare centre, a home for the elderly, and a youth club for young workers.
She also assisted wounded soldiers during the French Rebellion, regardless of what side they were fighting on.