Our Story

“What do you do besides talk to prove
the faith you claim is in you?” 

“What do you do besides talk to prove the faith you claim is in you?”

With these words, the idea for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul was born. Frédéric Ozanam was a 20-year-old law student at the Sorbonne in the spring of 1833. When confronted by another student about practical applications of his Catholic faith, Ozanam was inspired to found a “conference of charity” to assist the poor.

The group adopted the name the “Society of St. Vincent de Paul” in honor of the saint revered for his work among the needy. The Society quickly established a relationship with Sister Rosalie Rendu, a member of the Daughters of Charity, who organized the distribution of aid in one of Paris’s most impoverished neighborhoods. Within a few years, the original group of seven grew to 600, spreading to 15 other cities and towns in France, numbering more than 2,000 members. 

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul has a long and rich history of helping in the Denver Metro area. It was established in Denver in 1878 and has maintained an active presence in human services and relief activities for 139 years. The Society had its humble beginnings at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and now has 32 Conferences in the Denver metropolitan area. Please visit here for a complete listing of local Conferences.

The international Society of St. Vincent de Paul today is the world’s largest social assistance organization, with operations in over 140 countries on five continents. More than 800,000 Vincentian volunteers worldwide work to further Bl. Frédéric’s vision to “embrace the whole world in a network of charity.” 

Structure

The Society is organized into “conferences,” or all-volunteer neighborhood support groups.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is organized into conferences, or all-volunteer neighborhood groups, supported by regional Councils. Currently, there are 32 Conferences served by the Denver Metro Council. Last fiscal year over 450 local volunteers in the Society of St Vincent de Paul, Denver Metro Council helped over 21,000 individuals with rent, utilities, food, clothing, eldercare and other types of assistance.

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