The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is an international organisation formed of lay Catholics, whose vocation is to follow Christ through service to the most vulnerable people.
The SSVP is organised into groups called “Conferences”, which are communities of faith and love, prayer and action. Their members are traditionally known as Vincentians.
They have a spiritual bond, as brothers and sisters together. Their shared mission is to follow Christ by serving in hope those most in need.
Conferences meet weekly or fortnightly, forming bonds which strengthen their unity and friendship. Together they seek personal development and the encounter with Christ in the person of those in need.
Councils serve the Conferences they coordinate; they help them to develop their spiritual life, increase their service and diversify their activities.
The function of Councils is to create new Conferences, help expand existing
Conferences, encourage special works, support training, establish relationships with the Vincentian Family, drive forward collaboration with other organisations and ensure good communications among Conferences and their associated Councils. Finally, they promote the sense of belonging to a Society which covers the entire world.
Conferences are grouped under various levels of Council:
Superior or National Council: coordinates and represents the general work of all Conferences in a particular country or geographical zone.
Zone Council: represents groups of Conferences from a particular geographical zone, under the direction of the Superior Council to which they belong.
Regional, Particular, Central Councils, etc, are other levels of Council which may be established when circumstances require it.
International Council General (CGI)
This is formed of the representatives of each of the member countries of the
International Confederation of the SSVP. These vote on the main resolutions which affect the life of the SSVP, and every 6 years they elect a President General, who will appoint the executive board and members of the international structure to support the new President General during their term of office.
The CGI represents the Conference in the world, organises international meetings among countries, distributes information and provides funds for help in humanitarian emergencies. It is also the guarantor of the spirit of the Society, and ensures respect for the Rule (go to the document). It is also responsible for aggregation of the Conferences and institution of Councils.
International Commission for Aid and Development (CIAD)
The CIAD (International Commission for Aid and Development) is the Commission which considers requests for financing projects of the Society around the world.
Its actions are financed by donations from Superior or National Councils and from outside donors.
This Commission channels and coordinates four main areas of action around the world:
- Emergency help in disaster situations.
- Projects to support development.
- Support for expansion and growth of the SSVP.
- Strengthening Superior/National Councils.