Who is my neighbor?"
This quote is from the
parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 29-37) which was a story of
special personal significance to Frederic Ozanam, founder of the
Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
The Society of St.
Vincent de Paul is an international Catholic organization of lay
persons who wish to live their faith by loving and serving as Jesus
did. It was founded in Paris, France in 1833 by Frederic Ozanam, a
20-year-old college student and his companions to bear witness to the
Church and the mission it received from Jesus. Placed under the
patronage of St. Vincent de Paul, the Society derives its inspiration
for his thinking and work and seeks in a spirit of justice and
charity, by a person-to-person involvement of its volunteer members,
to help those who are needy and suffering, especially those most in
need. The Society's charitable services, expressed principally through
its network of parish volunteer groups called "Conferences,"
is part of the life of the Catholic Church and is closely associated
with Catholic Services and other diocesan organizations involved in
No work of charity is
foreign to the Society. Its ministry through a person-to-person
contact encompasses every form of aid that alleviates suffering and
promotes the dignity and integrity of mankind. It serves everyone
regardless of creed, opinion, color or origin.
through prayer, meditation on the Scriptures, fidelity to the
teachings of the Church and in the various aspects of their daily
lives, to bear witness to the love of Christ in their relationship
with those they serve. It is through these relationships that members
share Jesus' healing love and presence with those in need and in this
very giving of themselves, receive from the very needy and suffering
they serve, more of Jesus whom they seek to emulate. Those who see in
the poor the face of Jesus, understand Vincentian spirit.
Faithful to its
founders, the Society constantly strives to renew and adapt itself to
the changing conditions of the world. Members, united in the same
spirit of poverty and sharing, form with those they help, one and the
same family throughout the world. The Vincentian is there to serve,
not to judge.
did to the least of My brothers and sisters, you did it to Me.
(From the Society of
St. Vincent de Paul - Archdiocese of Miami)