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Spirituality of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul

Vincentian Spirituality

Want to become a Vincentian? It is easy to join. No special qualifications are required other than the desire to join with others to help those in need for the love of God. When a person first agrees to become a Vincentian, to join the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in one's parish, that person embarks on a journey of faith. There are no rituals to join. There are no membership fees. The Society asks for a commitment of time, talent, energy, compassion, prayer and love. To become a Vincentian, one must feel the calling and be prepared to live their faith. This faith journey should be an exciting one, and one that is spiritually uplifting. We travel light, carrying prayer and Scripture. Our traveling companions are the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Together our journey will be rewarding.

As a Vincentian, we perform many acts of charity and service to the poor and the needy. Vincentians are people who are willing to grow in love for the poor. The work could become mundane and trivial, unless it is nurtured by active and living spirituality that infinitely gives new meaning and purpose to who we are and what we do as Vincentians. This helps us to treat our callers with love and respect. It helps us to be patient with weakness and non judgmental. Our first role as a Vincentian is Spirituality. We are evangelizers. We are not bible thumping evangelizers, but ones of action. We look for Christ in all we serve, and we bring the actions, healing hands and loving presence of Christ to those we serve. In order to become a friend of the poor, we must be armed Spiritually.

The word Spirituality comes from the Greek language and translated means the spirit or soul, the principle of life. We will endeavor to glance at the soul of the Society. What makes us who we are and different from all others? What is that inner vital power that gives energy and purpose to all we do. We are an intimate community of workers. We are sisters and brothers working in unity for a common purpose with a common interest. To remain in this intimate community we must respond to Christ’s invitation to grow closer to Him, to one another and to spread the message of His love wherever we go.

We, as Vincentians, embark on a deep...or deeper journey of faith. This journey is not meaningless. We are not just deliverers of groceries and payers of rent. We cannot become caught up in that. Each person we serve is a prayer. Each person we contact is Christ asking for our help. We must be good listeners and always take the time to hear their stories. The dignity of each person must be preserved. We must look at each person as a unique child of God. Our Spiritual growth, as a Vincentian must be a top priority. We nourish our Spirituality within our intimate community (our Conference), within our Parishes and within ourselves. If we are to look for Christ in others and bring His healing caress to the poor, we must know Him better. The Trinity is our strength, our companion and our sword. We look to Christ for He is our Light.

In our Conferences, we keep records. We know how many visits we make, how much money we spend and how many hours we have given. Sometimes our success is judged by our annual reports or by how many Christmas hampers we give, or how many buildings we have. If these were the only measures of our success, we would not have lasted for all these years. These are good works that could be done by any service organization. The good works of the Society have been blessed from the beginning when Frederic Ozanam called on his faith and the presence of Our Lord within the Society. The Society is Faith driven. God is at the center. That is what sets us apart. We are not volunteers for the Society we are ministers of the Society. We are disciples of Christ, looking after His Lambs. Frederic Ozanam’s vision for us is our Faith. It is our soul, our spirituality, that makes us different. It is our personal relationship with Christ that transforms our good works and actions to the level of grace and spiritual power for us and for those we serve.

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