The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is composed of men and women, known as Vincentians, who seek personal holiness through works of charity. They strive to act in the image of Jesus, do God’s will, and devote themselves to the service of the poor and suffering.
Vincentians dedicate themselves to those in need, share in spirituality, promote a life of prayer and reflection, and work together to bring the most aid and comfort they can to their neighbors. It is a community of action – transforming concern for those in need into concrete service and understanding.
The cornerstone of the Vincentian journey is the Home Visit – in which Vincentians meet with clients in their place of residence so that they may better understand their struggles and needs. By meeting face to face with their neighbors, Vincentians see the Face of Christ in those they are blessed to serve.
Members of our SVdP conferences, called Vincentians, in conjunction with fostering our spiritual development, serve communities throughout Pittsburgh and surrounding counties to assist those in need. The focal point of our vocation is the person-to-person encounters and the acts of charity for our neighbors – whoever they may be.
• Vincentians serve anyone in need
• Vincentians visit individuals and families in pairs
• Vincentians assist with immediate and long term needs
• Vincentians have a reverence for the Poor
• Vincentians embrace three Essential Elements – Spirituality, Friendship & Service
• Vincentians serve as the face of Christ to those we are blessed to serve
• Vincentians feed the hungry
• Vincentians advocate for the poor and the needy
• Vincentians meet regularly to grow in our spirituality with an emphasis on serving the marginalized and the forgotten
Want to learn more about becoming a Vincentian? Contact Mike Calorie, Director of Conference Formation by phone (412) 321-1071, Ext. 203 or email. It will be a life changing experience for you.
Being a Vincentian, by Dian Perkins (member of the St. Philip Conference)
In the years I have been with Saint Vincent de Paul, I have been invited into the lives of many people. Each time I have been met at the door by a Friend in Need, I am acutely aware of the emotional risk that person has taken by opening their door, opening their lives, and putting their trust and faith in us to help them in whatever way we can to overcome the hardship they are facing. As I cross the threshold, I never know what will meet me: clutter, emptiness, the smell of illness, the sorrow of grief, the eyes of fear and hunger in children, and I pray that the Holy Spirit will give me the wisdom to help alleviate the suffering we find in that home.
A home visit is the first step in responding the call for help with a utility, rent, furniture, clothing and/or food. Once we cross that threshold, we often find the initial cry for help is a symptom and not the disease. That was the case with my friend Chuck. He called because he was facing shutoff of his electricity, but we soon found out he was in a house (owned by an elderly family member) which was facing foreclosure and sheriff sale and he needed to find a place to live. He was intellectually disabled and subsisted on a small monthly government check; therefore, we needed to find subsidized housing. In the process of qualifying for HUD housing, he was required to have a physical, which led to his immediate admission to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. Over the next year, Chuck and I became frequent visitors to the cancer center at Mercy. They asked our connection and I said, “Friend” and didn’t have to add “In Need”. We were the Odd Couple, a 75+ year old white lady and a 50 year old Black man, and until the day that the foreclosure was imminent and Chuck moved to Washington, PA to be stay with his brother, we frequented the halls of Mercy, visited the site of his former foster home, and talked about his life and family. Chuck died, but he lives in my heart.
With our belief that we see the Face of Christ in our Friends in Need, we can understand what Jesus meant in Matthew 12:28, “Come to me all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Your souls will find rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden light”. Whatever we face in service to our Friends in Need we know that He is with us and the burden will be light.