SVDP Memphis

What We Do

Org chart

Members of the Society of St.Vincent de Paul (or "Vincentians") are men and women who strive to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to individuals in need. They are young and old. They come in every shade of skin color. Some are wealthy, some are financially poor, but all are blessed with awareness that our blessings (time, talent or treasure) are to be shared with our brothers and sisters in need.

They are not alone, but part of an international society of friends united by a spirit of poverty, humility, and sharing, which is nourished by prayer and reflection, mutually supportive gatherings, and adherence to a basic Rule. Energized by the awareness that service to their brother or sister in need is in fact an encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ, members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul are keenly aware that poverty, suffering and loneliness are present for millions in our communities. For that reason, Vincentians collaborate with all who seek to relieve need and address its causes.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul offers tangible assistance to those in need on a person-to-person basis. It is this personalized involvement that makes the work of the Society unique. This aid may take the form of intervention, consultation, or often through direct dollar or in-kind service. An essential precept of the Society's work is to provide help while conscientiously maintaining the confidentiality and dignity of those who are served. The Society recognizes that it must assume, also, a role of advocacy for those who are defenseless or voiceless. Some 12 million persons are helped annually by Vincentians in the United States.

The list of services of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is endless. No work of charity is foreign to the Society. To quote our patron, St. Vincent de Paul: "Charity is infinitely inventive."

The Society's basic, local unit is called a Conference. At this level, Vincentians meet regularly for prayer and to serve their brothers and sisters in need by direct service. A Society Council is formed at the district or diocesan level to help coordinate the works of various area Conferences, provide resources and support, and may develop additional special works. In Memphis, the first St. Vincent de Paul Conference was aggregated (formed) September 18, 1865 at St. Peter and Paul Church.

At the present time there are ten active conferences with 253 members in the city. During 2015-2016, these conferences donated a total of 13,779 member service hours and 1,808 nonmember service hours to the poor, including 5,678 visits to homes, hospitals, eldercare and 480 visits to prisoners. The total value of food, clothing, furniture, legal, medical, dental and professional services provided was some $274,698.

 

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The Society

The primary focus of The Society since 1865 has been the assistance of individuals that call for help. That help may include assistance with utility bills, food baskets, rent or mortgage assistance.  It could also include help paying medical bills and whatever else the person may need to get back on their feet.

In Brief

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul first arrived in Memphis in 1865. The first conference (or group of volunteers) gathered at St. Peter and Paul parish in downtown Memphis. Since then the Society has grown to ten conferences, with hundreds of Vincentians, as the members are called. That number does not include the scores of volunteers that work at the food mission.