A SHORT HISTORY

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s mission statement is, “A network of friends, inspired by Gospel values, growing in holiness and building a more just world through personal relationships with and service to people in need.” The St. Matthew Conference of the Society is made up of men and women of all ages and backgrounds working together to help each other and those neighbors whom they serve.

In the St. Matthew Conference, we meet on the first and third Monday of each month to pray together, to learn together and to make decisions about what to do for those neighbors who ask for help. Members of the Society visit with those who call for assistance to assess their needs, help them with immediate issues and provide them with information about other resources that may be available. 

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul differs from other charitable associations or agencies in that it is the principal objective to grow in holiness and friendship together through the works that they do. We provide assistance with rent, utilities, food, car repairs, home cleaning, and much more. 

At St. Matthew, the Society raises money through the “Poor Box” in the chapel beneath the St. Joseph statue and through Community Sunday donations. St. Matthew parishioners have been very generous and it is greatly appreciated. In 2019, the Society also raised funds through its Friends of the Poor Walk/Run. The event was a success and will become an annual event. 

The goals of the Conference are to follow in the footsteps of the founder of the Society, Blessed Frederic Ozanam, to meet the immediate needs of those who need help and work toward systemic change to build a more just world. 

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ST VINCENT DE PAUL

He was a priest for 60 years. He spent great part of his life working in the streets, hospitals and schools, created much needed clergy reform of the time, founded the Daughters of Charity. He organized collections of food, clothing and blankets, etc. He went through the streets of Paris seeking the children who were left there to die. He was called the Father of the poor. He had a heart on fire. He founded the Daughters or Sister of Charity. He shaped our church of today and his legacy has stood the test of time. He is known for his teaching: “See the face of Christ in the person of the poor”, and “Love the poor. Honor them my children, as you would honor Christ himself” Canonized in 1737.

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ST. LOUISE DE MARILLAC

St. Vincent asked Louise to assist various charities, examine problems, teach nursing skills, instructing in their spiritual life and manage a good administration. She was a woman of courage. She poor and hungry of Paris listened to her as she went about serving their needs. She is the patroness of Christian social workers. Her quote:
“As for your conduct toward the sick, may you never take the attitude of merely getting the task done. You must show them affection; serving them from the heart.” Canonized 1934

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BLESSED ROSALIE RENDU

In 1802 Rosalie Rendu at the age of 15, joined the Daughters of Charity. She started an orphanage, trade school and home for the elderly. She was also sent to a slum area in the district of Paris where she worked there the rest of her life undertaking any work there was. She mentored young women in visiting the poor. Her quote: “Be kind and love, for love is your first gift to the poor. They will appreciate your kindness and your love more than all else you can bring them”

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BLESSED FREDERICK OZANAM

A devout Catholic and lawyer, sought the help of Rosalie to teach them how to minister to the poor with great gentleness and kindness and treat all with respect. He is recognized as a precursor of the catholic church’s social doctrine on which he wrote many books. Frederick started a group “Conference of Charity” and a year later adopted the name of St. Vincent de Paul in honor of their patron saint. He and Sister Rosalie then laid the Foundation of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

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