Date of publication: 22/05/2024

Tribute to Santiago de Masarnau in Rome

Council General International

President General’s Agenda.


On the 175th anniversary of the establishment of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in Spain, on the invitation by the Royal Academy of Spain in Rome, within the scope of the dissimination of the Spanish musical heritage, a piano concert was offered with the music of Venerable Santiago de Masarnau. The concert was performed by Claudia Dafne Sevilla, a young and prestigious Spanish pianist, specialized in forte-piano, whom we thank for her commitment to this cause.

This recital is part of a series of romantic piano concerts to pay tribute to the venerable, for the cause of his beatification and for the promotion of the Saint Vincent de Paul conferences. 

 Santiago de Masarnau (1805-1882) was a multifaceted man, an illustrious musician, trained in London and Paris. In 1838 he moved to Paris.  God came to meet him and he experienced a great transformation; he then discovered the Conferences of Saint Vincent, founded by Frederic Ozanam and a group of friends. He returned to Spain and in 1849  founded the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in Spain. He devoted his possessions and all his efforts to the service of the most needy, a task that eclipsed his fame as a renowned musician of international fame.

For Masarnau, music was an art that connected the human and the divine, capable of transmitting emotions and feelings. For this reason, it should be at the service of integral education from childhood, acting in the affective, aesthetic and cognitive development to offer to the most disadvantaged a means of socialization, with both moral and cultural benefits.

A brilliant performance full of emotions, highly praised by the public, among whom were various civil and ecclesiastical authorities: Father General of the CM, Daughters of Charity, members of the General Council of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, members of the National Council of Italy, the Director of L’Osservatore Romano and other media reprensentatives, friends and benefactors of the Conferences.

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, on this 175th anniversary in Spain, requests prayers for a miracle through the intercession of Venerable James of Masarnau, to continue his cause for canonization.


The agenda of the President General began with a visit to the Undersecretary of the General Secretariat of the Synod, Monsignor Luis Marín de San Martín O.S.A., at the Vatican. He briefed the guests on the preparations for the second session of the Synodal Assembly, scheduled for October 2-27, 2024.

With a fraternal and warm welcome,  Monsignor encouraged the visitors to participate in the parishes, in the communities, in our Conferences, to go out together to evangelize, because “the whole process is oriented towards evangelization, to promote Jesus Christ in today’s world, we must adapt ourselves to the sign of the times”.  Synodality expresses the identity of the Church as the People of God on a journey, on a pilgrimage towards the Kingdom and, therefore, the message is “to walk together as the family of God”.


This Dicastery has the task of promoting the human person and his or her God-given dignity.

The President General was welcomed by the Secretary of the Dicastery, Sister Alessandra Smerilli, F.M.A. and by Father Patricio Sarlat Flores, Secretary of the Research and Reflection Section.

Father Sarlat, from Mexico, commented that he is very familiar with the Conferences and the life and work of Ozanam, because when he was pastor of San Jose Sanchez del Rio, he was spiritual advisor to his parish Conference.

Sister Alessandra, cordially welcomed the visitors and made herself available for any matter related to this Dicastery. She commented that the Dicastery is in the process of change and that it will be structured in three sections: Listening and Dialogue, Research and Reflection, and Communication / Restitution.

With the commitment to continue collaborating together, all reflected on Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation 2024, which is: “Hope and Act with Creation”; this day is celebrated every September 1, the Time of Creation, which concludes on October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

The diffusion of this message is entrusted to the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, of which the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is a member.


On May 13, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima and the day of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations, the President General visited Maria Lia Zervino, Director of the World Observatory of Women and former President of WUCWO, whose main task is to give visibility to women, especially the most vulnerable women who seem “invisible”, with the aim of inspiring and generating changes that favor their integral development.

The fraternal meeting dealt with the implementation of the agreement signed between both entities so that SSVP can be the voice of WUCWOF where it is not present, specifically now, they are requesting support in some countries of Africa and in Mexico.

The PGI was accompanied to these three meetings by its First Deputy Vice President, Sebastian Gramajo, and John Berry, USA National President.


On the occasion of the 175th Anniversary of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in Spain, the President General was interviewed by Radio Vatican, where he said that the aim of the concert was to promote the life and work of its founder, Venerable Santiago de Masarnau, and the work of the Conferences in the world.

He also recalled that the founders of the SSVP were young university students from Paris and like Sr. Rosalia Rendu SC, who  took them to the Mouffetard neighborhood, where they began to serve Christ in the poor.

He discussed the preparations for the third meeting of young Vincentians in Rome during the Ordinary Jubilee in 2025 (the previous one was held in Salamanca, Spain).

He also commented that the SSVP is one of the many branches of the Vincentian Family with which they share faith, mission and charism.  

In conclusion, he stated that one of the most important challenges is to make the journey together, in community with the Church, and to continue evangelizing through charity, “which comes from caro, from querido, from amado, as a social commitment and always in proximity to the needy”.


Andrea Monda, Director of L’Osservatore Romano, showed the facilities of the communications offices to the PGI, introduced him to the correspondents of the various media and, as an anecdote, the German correspondent gave him the latest copy of the German edition of L’Osservatore Romano, which contains a page with a photo of Federic Ozanam and his biography.

He also invited him to visit him as often as he comes to Rome and asked him to write an article for publication, referring to the homage paid to Masarnau at the Spanish Embassy in Rome.

The PGI who thanked them for their kindness and courtesy, was accompanied by his First Deputy Vice President, Sebastian Gramajo, the International Vice President for Institutional Relations with the Vatican, Antonio Gianfico and Monica Galdo from the Executive Board of the SSVP Federation of Italy.

Rome, May 13 and 14, 2024