Compelled to action by the convictions of our founders, St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle and King County joins the community to listen, engage, and build relationships that assist and advocate for individuals and families to meet basic needs and achieve stability and self-sufficiency.
A young law student named Frederic Ozanam founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in 1833 in Paris, France. Ozanam and five friends wanted to form a group to assist the poor, and decided to call it “Conference of Charity.” It was later renamed The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, named after the patron saint of the poor.
The founding members met with Rosalie Rendu, a Daughter of Charity who served in the most impoverished part of Paris, for guidance. She sent them on home visits and truly molded the idea of serving the poor with dignity and respect. Pope John Paul II later beatified both Ozanam and Rendu.
The first meeting in the United States took place in 1845 in St. Louis, Missouri. Right now, the US has over 4,600 Conferences with over 146,000 members. Our members annually give well over 7,600,000 hours of volunteer service, participate in over 650,000 home visits, and manage another 900,000 plus visits to prisons, hospitals, elderly, and to others in need. Our service to the poor amounts to over $330 million, and the in-kind value of food, clothing and furniture totals over $80 million.