24 hour message line: 314.924.5026
Normally one of our Vincentians will respond the same day
The Society and the Conference
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was founded in May of 1833 by Frédéric Ozanam and a group of friends as a response a challenge that the Catholic Church had once been a source of good, but no longer was. The friends decided this was a challenge that was personally meaningful and began the society. To today’s Vincentians, this challenge resonates at least as loud in our world today – to live out the Gospel values through works of charity to serve as the face of Christ to the people around us.
The Society is organized in local conferences for be part of the communities we serve. The Society came to the USA twelve years later, and the first conference in the country was started at the old Cathedral in St. Louis. Today, there are nearly 800,000 Vincentians in 153 countries throughout the world, but focus is still local one-on-one contact with those we serve. St Catherine Laboure is one of 140 conferences in the St. Louis Archdiocese. Each conference serves primarily within its conference boundaries which are generally aligned with parish boundaries to keep our individual contact with our neighbors strong. We support all peoples and creeds.
Housing – Rent, direction to temporary shelters, other assistance
Utilities – Assistance with Ameren and Spire to keep connected
Car purchase and repair – primarily to enable employment
Furniture and furnishing – primarily through SVdP Thrift Stores
Bed program – still through Thrift Stores but new materials
Food – vouchers and pantry access
Prescription drugs – program through St Louis Council
Direction to other agencies – not all assistance is within our capability, so we work to connect with others
Council Programs – there are programs within the St Louis Council for special types of assistance
Others as needed: “No form of charity is foreign to the Society” Frédéric Ozanam
The Home Visit
Financial support is important, but more important is emotional support and being present. Home visits, always made in pairs, enable us to learn more about our neighbors as individuals and to understand what other needs they may have. For example, we may be called for utility assistance but during the home visit find there are no beds in the home. We typically will end the home visit with a prayer and an invitation to join us at SCL for services and community participation. While the financial assistance is appreciated, finding that someone cares about you as an individual can be the most important result. We always find we receive more than we give.
Special Works and Pregnancy Care Partnership
The support we receive from our parishioners allows us to be a Special Works conference helping people in need outside of our parish boundaries. One of the most gratifying has been working with mothers experiencing crisis pregnancies who might be struggling to avoid abortions. We have “adopted” Moms in less fortunate areas and our members have followed them through their pregnancy and a few months birth until they get back on their feetr.
We welcome new members. You are invited to attend one of our meetings to learn more. Our meetings are on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month in the Father Jim Center. Equally important to assisting the poor is our spiritual growth and fellowship. We provide on the job and other training; most of our Vincentians had no skills in providing assistance before joining.
Other Ways to Help
We are able to provide our services due to the generosity of our parishioners, both financially and in their prayers. Donations can be made through the parish website, collections boxes in Church or mailing to SVdP care of the parish office.
Donations of clothes or shoes to the bin in the SCL parking lot provide items to the Thrift Stores and give credit to our conference.
Volunteering at the Thrift Stores gives credits to our conference to provide Thrift Store items to our neighbors.
Donations of items directly to the Thrift Stores benefit the entire St Louis Council.
St Louis Council Website https://svdpstlouis.org/
National Website https://ssvpusa.org/
Please feel free to call Paul Lodewyck, president, at 314.852.1611 or Carol Murphy, Vice President at 314.712.7636