The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul was founded in Paris in 1833, by a young French student, Frédéric Ozanam, to confront his city’s devastating poverty. Inspired by St. Vincent de Paul, a 17th century French priest who had an untiring commitment to serving the poor, Ozanam’s mission was clear – help the needy on a one-to-one basis and “accomplish through charity what justice alone cannot do.” Compassion in action was the heart of Frederic Ozanam’s spirituality. Today, the Society is a network of charity in 142 countries.
St. Vincent de Paul was founder of the Congregation of the Mission, Daughters of Charity, Confraternities of Charity, and Ladies of Charity. A man of deep faith, keen intellect, and enormous creativity, he has become known as the "The Apostle of Charity" and "Father of the Poor."
Blessed Rosalie Rendu, a Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, is recognized as a co-founder of the Society of St Vincent de Paul. She mentored the founding members of the Society in the spirit and heritage of St. Vincent.
Sr. Rosalie always recommended patience, mercy and courtesy. She taught Frederic Ozanam and the first members of the Society how to make home visits and how to see Jesus in the poor. She gave them families to visit and advice on the Vincentian way to go to them with respect and compassion.
St. Louise de Marillac, a contemporary of St. Vincent, was inspired and directed by Vincent's spiritual leadership. She was Vincent's collaborator in founding the Daughters of Charity and organizing hospitals for the sick poor, asylums for the orphaned, workshops for the unemployed, championing literacy for the uneducated, and establishing standards for local charities. Louise was a wife, mother, teacher, nurse, social worker and religious foundress
The Council of Santa Cruz County was incorporated in California in 1969. In 1989 the Council helped startup the Casa De La Cultura Center in Pajaro to serve families there.The Council currently collaborates with other agencies in Santa Cruz County including Siena House Maternity Home, Homeless Services Center, Friends Outside, Jesus Mary and Joseph House.
The Society’s first Conference in the United States was established in 1845 in St. Louis, Missouri, at the Basilica of St. Louis King of France, or "Old Cathedral" (above). SVdPUSA is naturally positioned to create collective impact collaborations due to its unmatched in scope, national network of 4,400 community based initiatives and more than 96,000 volunteers.
The Society's nearly 100,000 trained volunteers in the United States provided 12.6 million hours of volunteer service in 2017, helping more than 5.4 million people through visits to homes, prisons and hospitals at a value of more than $3 billion dollars. WWW.SVDPUSA.ORG