The founding of the first Charity Conference, on April 23, 1833, began with the oldest prayer to the Holy Spirit, prayed since the 12th century: “Veni Sancte Spiritus”: Come, Holy Spirit… and ended with the “Sub Tuum Præsidium”, the oldest preserved hymn to the Virgin Mary as the Mother of Godl it was discovered on a papyrus near the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus: “Under Thy protection we place ourselves…. “
Prayers that the Conferences have maintained and prayed since then all over the world.
During the meeting of February 4th, 1834, members of the first Conference adopted several proposals. Le Prévost, speaking on behalf of several members, asked that the Conference place itself under the patronage of St. Vincent de Paul and celebrate his feast day, and, with regularity, each meeting begin and end with a prayer.
Frederic Ozanam, as a good representative of Lyon’s piety, in turn asked for a decision to be taken that the Conference place itself under the protection of the Virgin Mary and celebrate one of her feasts, the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th, the Virgin’s birthday.
Since then, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has maintained two patronages, that of the Immaculate Conception and that of St. Vincent de Paul.
The General Council requests that members from all over the world pray and offer an intention to the Blessed Virgin as mediator, in gratitude to our founders and for the healthy growth of the Conferences so that they may continue to live their faith in the service of our brothers and sisters who suffer the most.
The Thematic Year dedicated to Jules Gossin ends today.