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How did it all start?

St. Vincent de Paul (1581 - 1660)

St. Vincent de PaulVincent was born poor and in the beginning he wanted to be rich. This was why he first became a priest!

Later he changed his mind and decided to spend his life helping the sick and mentally-ill, orphans and old people, beggars and the starving, prisoners and galley slaves.

Vincent’s life is a great reminder for us all to find ways to help those around us.




Frédéric Ozanam (1813 - 1853)

Frédéric Ozanam


The St. Vincent de Paul Society was founded in 1833 by a 19 year old Catholic student called Frédéric Ozanam. In a discussion one day, Frédéric was asked say what the Catholic Church was doing for the poor in France. Frédéric was embarrassed. He knew in his heart that the Church was doing very little.

So Frédéric and his friends began to meet each week to plan visits and help local people in need. He now realised that Christianity was about actions, not just words. Thus, they formed the world's first SVP group. In 1997 Frédéric Ozanam was beatified by Pope John Paul II in France.

St Vincent de Paul is recognised, both in France and worldwide as the apostle of charity and of the society.  It was decided by the Founders to dedicate the society to St Vincent de Paul.

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