Charity as lived by the Society’s 800,000 volunteers throughout the world is inspired by the example of St Vincent de Paul, a great apostle of charity in his day and the Society’s patron saint. This charity is characterized by concrete action in neighbourhoods, villages and communities. The SSVP’s members maintain the Vincentian spirit via the vision of its co-founder Frédéric Ozanam: “I would like to embrace the world in a network of charity.”
Since Vincentians are called to visit the poor in their homes via a long-term relationship, they must have empathy and listening skills. This enables them to understand the difficulties of people they help and provide the most appropriate response. Empathy also enables members to work as a team within Conferences.
Simplicity and humility are essential values to help the poorest of the poor and regard them as our equals in a fraternal relationship. Humility also implies spiritual maturity, which leads the Society’s members to serve the poor in sometimes very lowly tasks.
There is no charity without justice. The Society’s members do not limit their action to simply giving; above all, they want to help people regain their autonomy and dignity, while respecting their convictions and beliefs. More generally, the SSVP throughout the world combats the root causes of poverty and promotes the all-round development of human beings. It initiates action to help poor people become self-reliant in the long-term and fulfilled in a more dignified life.
The SSVP’s members live the Gospel message by serving Christ in the poor. This is the basis of their commitment. Inspired by the spirituality of St Vincent de Paul, members strive to deepen their faith via action meeting real needs.