SVDP Memphis

Q. What are the special feast days of the Society?

A. January 4th
St. Elizabeth Ann (Bayley) Seton was born in New York on August 28, 1774 and was brought up in the Episcopalian faith. She married William Seton, bore five children, and was widowed on December 27, 1803. After overcoming many obstacles, she converted to the Catholic faith on March 14, 1805. She dedicated her life to works of charity and education and founded the community of the Sisters of Charity in 1809. Elizabeth died in Emmitsburg, Maryland on January 4, 1821. Part of her community was united with the Daughters of Charity in Paris in 1850, and the others remained the Sisters of Charity in the US. Elizabeth Seton was canonized as the first American saint in 1975.

February 7th
Blessed Rosalie Rendu was born at Confort, France on September 9, 1786. She entered the Daughters of Charity on May 25, 1802, just after the Community was reestablished in France following the French Revolution. Her zeal for the poor drove her to establish the means to educate poor children, to care for infants, to support the elderly unable to care for themselves, and to supervise young working girls. One of her disciples in her mission of service was Frederic Ozanam, founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. After fifty years of dedicated service to the poor in the Mouffetard district in Paris, she died on February 7, 1856. Pope John Paul II beatified Sr. Rosalie in 2003.

March 15th
St. Louise de Marillac was born August 12, 1591. She married Antoine LeGras on February 5, 1613, had a son named Michel, and was widowed when Antoine died on December 21, 1625. St. Vincent de Paul then became her spiritual director, and under his guidance she became very active in caring for the poor and in visiting the Confraternities of Charity. With Vincent, Louise co-founded the Daughters of Charity on November 29, 1633. She died March 15, 1660, and was canonized in 1934. In 1960, Pope John XXIII proclaimed her the patron saint of all Christian social workers.

April (Last Sunday)
Ozanam Sunday: Frederic Ozanam was born on April 23, 1813 in Milan, Italy. On April 23, 1833 Frederic and six companions founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Also, St. Vincent de Paul was born on April 24, 1581. To commemorate these events the Society in the United States celebrates the last Sunday of April as Ozanam Sunday.

June (Friday following second Sunday after Pentecost)
Feast of the Sacred Heart: The Society of St. Vincent de Paul has been solemnly consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus since February 5, 1872. An Act of Consecration was drawn up at the request of the Society in 1872, and this act of consecration is renewed annually by all units of the Society.

September 9th
Blessed Frederic Ozanam was schooled in law, literature and philosophy and taught at the universities in Lyon and Paris. Challenged by a detractor of the faith to demonstrate the good he was doing socially in France, Frederic and six companions founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul on April 23, 1833. On June 23, 1841 Frederic married Amelie Soulacroix, and their only child, Marie, was born in 1845. He succumbed to ill health and died on September 8, 1853. Pope John Paul II beatified Frederic Ozanam in Paris on August 22, 1997.

September 27th
St. Vincent de Paul was born at Pouy, France on April 24, 1581. He was ordained a priest on September 23, 1600. Vincent devoted himself entirely to the alleviation of the sufferings of the poor, and to that purpose established the Confraternities of Charity, later known as the Ladies of Charity, in 1617. In 1625 he founded the Congregation of the Mission, his community of priests and brothers. With Louise de Marillac, he co-founded the Daughters of Charity in 1633. Vincent died in Paris on September 27, 1660 and was canonized in 1737. Pope Leo XIII declared him patron saint of all works of charity.

November 27th
Feast of the Miraculous Medal: The medal of the Immaculate Conception was manifested to Sister Catherine Laboure in the Motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity in Paris, France on November 27, 1830.

November 28th
St. Catherine Laboure was born May 2, 1806 in Fain-les-Moutiers, France. When she was nine years old, her mother died and she looked to the Blessed Virgin Mary to be her mother. She entered the Daughters of Charity on April 21, 1830. While Catherine was still a novice, the Virgin Mary appeared to her and asked her to have a medal struck in her honor. Because of the many miracles that resulted from devotion to it, it became known as the “Miraculous Medal.” Catherine Laboure was canonized in 1947.

December 8th
Feast of the Immaculate Conception: Blessed Frederic Ozanam had a great devotion to Mary and declared Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception the patroness of the Society.

Special Masses
Each parish conference should have Mass offered on five occasions annually for the following:

  • The Church
  • The Sovereign Pontiff
  • The United States of America
  • The Society of St. Vincent de Paul
  • The deceased members of the conference
  • The deceased poor
  • The sick and troubled who seek divine help and cure through the intercession of Blessed Frederic Ozanam
  • The canonization of Frederic Ozanam
 

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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.