Wednesday, 21 April 2021 19:10

Society of St. Vincent de Paul Ireland

Written by

Introducing New Category of  "HISTORIC IRISH ASSOCIATIONS"

@  Irish Heritage Hall Of Fame Online Gallery


Induction & Tribute of Society of St. Vincent de Paul (Ireland)


As one of Ireland’s largest Volunteer Associations with branches all over Ireland since first established in Dublin in 1844, The Society of St Vincent de Paul, IRELAND, is an instantly recognised name by people throughout the 32 counties of Ireland.

With the refurbishment programme of Irish Heritage Hall Of Fame Online Gallery, several new menu categories have been incorporated and “Historic Irish Associations” is one of our prime new services for our Honours and Inductions Awards.

From our index of considerations, one Irish voluntary Irish association stood out as our prime No.1 association to Induct into our Collection of Historic Irish Associations at Irish Heritage Hall Of Fame Online Gallery.


Society of St Vincent de Paul:

HISTORIC IRISH CHARITABLE SOCIETY FOUNDED in Paris, France, in 1833 by Frenchman, Blessed Frédéric Ozanam expanded to Ireland in 1844

This Irish Heritage Hall of Fame recognition of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Ireland is our No.1 and primary Induction in our categories designated to Irish Associations. The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP or SVdP or SSVP) is an international voluntary organization in the Catholic Church and was founded in 1833 for the sanctification of its members by personal service of the poor.

Throughout the world innumerable Catholic parishes have established "Conferences", most of which affiliate with a diocesan council. Among its varied efforts to offer material help to the poor or needy, the Society also has thrift stores which sell donated goods at a low price and raise money for the poor. There are a great variety of outreach programmes sponsored by local conferences and councils, addressing local needs for social services.



The Role Of St. Stephen

The name may imply in peoples minds around Ireland, it was St. Stephen de Paul who founded the society, but 173 years after the death of St. Stephen, a Frenchman was the inspiration in the foundation in 1833 of a new charity in Paris, entitled in English speaking countries, as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

St. Stephen was also a Frenchman of the 17th century and was acknowledged as the pioneer of supporting services for the downright poor and neglected French families and when the founder of the new charity was contemplating a name for his society, a French nun stated, ‘he need look no further than St. Stephen de Paul’

Throughout Ireland millions of its citizens found favour and kindness in the most difficult of circumstances since 1844 and hence the society run by thousands of Irish volunteers, is very well regarded as one of Ireland’s most deserving charities. The chain of continuity in Ireland is testament to the excellent management of the society and its significance amongst all Irish people.

INDUCTION: ‘Historic Irish Associations’ at Irish Heritage Hall Of Fame Online Gallery, seek to recognise and appreciate members of the Society Of St. Vincent de Paul (Ireland), of times past and current, who served and continue to serve an Irish Volunteer Society, with dignity and great compassion. By inducting the Irish wing of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul into our Hall of Fame Gallery, current and future generations of Irish citizens will realise the traditions and storylines relevant.



In our research we present and itemise key components in the history of the society and a brief biography of how it all began.

“What is your church doing now? What is SHE doing for the poor of Paris? Show us your works and we will believe you!"

Those remarks sparked a fuse that directly inspired the founder to consolidate his own Catholic beliefs when interrogated by a group of student colleagues.


No.1 is the founding father of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, founded in 1833 in Paris, and that was Frenchman, Frédéric Ozanam, who is now Blessed Frédéric Ozanam.

The incubation seed of the St Vincent de Paul Society was planted by Frenchman Blessed Frédéric in 1833 in Paris, France. Born on the 23rd April 1813; died 8th September 1853; Frédéric was a French literary scholar, lawyer, journalist and equal rights advocate. He founded, with fellow students, the Conference of Charity, later known as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The founder was beatified by Pope John Paul 11 in the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris in 1997 and hence he may be properly called ‘Blessed Frederic’ by Catholics with his Feast Day appointed as 9th September.

Italian Birthright: Frédéric Ozanam was born on Friday, 23rd April 1813, to Jean and Marie Ozanam and was the fifth child of Jean and Marie Ozanam’s fourteen children. Frédéric was just one of only three children of the family to reach adulthood. His family, which was of Jewish origin, had been settled in the region around Lyon, France, for many centuries. Ozanam was born in Milan, Italy and reared in Lyon, France, and in his youth he experienced a period of doubt regarding the Catholic faith. However he was fortunately strongly influenced by one of his teachers at the French Collège de Lyon, a priest Abbé Noirot. His religious instincts surfaced early in life and in 1831, aged just 18, he published religious pamphlets which attracted widespread attention.

In the autumn 0f 1831 he went to study law in Paris, where he suffered a great deal from homesickness and while still a student, Ozanam took up journalism and contributed considerably to Bailly's Tribune catholique, which became a French Catholic daily newspaper that adopted a strong Catholic voice.

The Challenge: In college Ozanam and his friends revived a lapsed college discussion group called a "Society of Good Studies" and formed it into a "Conference of History" which quickly became a forum for large and lively discussions among students. Their attentions turned frequently to the social teachings of the Gospel and at one meeting, during a heated debate, in which Ozanam and his friends were trying to prove from historical evidence alone, the truth of the Catholic Church, compared to the one founded by Christ. Their adversaries declared.. ‘though at one time the Church was a source of good, it no longer was’.


One college voice issued this challenge......

"What is your church doing now? What is SHE doing for the poor of Paris? Show us your works and we will believe you!"

As a direct consequence of the college debate, in May 1833, Ozanam and a group of other young men, founded the charitable Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which already by the time of Ozanam’s death in September 1853, numbered upwards of 2,000 members. The founding members developed their method of service under the guidance of Sr. Rosalie Rendu,  who was a member of the Congregation of The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.

The nun was aware from her own readings of the history of the priest who founded her own order, The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, that by persuading Frédéric to adopt the name of St. Stephen de Paul for the new society, she would be preserving St. Stephen’s greatest attribute, ‘Care of the Poor and Needy’.

Frédéric on learning of the great attributes of St. Stephen in previous centuries, accepted the nuns recommendation and hence the French origin and birthright of the Society Of St. Vincent de Paul. In the years and decades that followed the foundation, the society expanded into many other countries, including Ireland.


The founding objective of the Society was to help impoverished people living in the slums of Paris, France and the primary figure behind the Society's founding was Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, who was a French Lawyer, Author and also a Professor. In an association with Emmanuel Bailly, who was editor of the Tribune Catholique, they were active in reviving a student organisation which had been suspended during the French revolution in July 1830. Ozanam was 20 years old when he founded the new Society of St. Vincent de Paul and he was subsequently beatified by Pope John Paul 11 in 1997 and Emmanuel Bailly was chosen as the Societies First President.

The Society took St. Vincent de Paul as its patron under the influence of Sr. Rosalie Rendu and she was also beatified by Pope John Paul 11 in November 1999. The work of the French nun was renowned as a member of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul for her diligence in helping the poor citizens in the slums of Paris. She guided Frédéric and his companions in their approach towards those in need.

Short Lifespan: In June 1841, 28 years old Frédéric married a daughter of the rector of the University of Lyon and the couple travelled to Italy for their honeymoon and the couple had one child, a daughter, Marie. Frédéric was stated to be a man of great faith and valued friendships and defended his friends, no matter what the cost. He was attentive to detail, perhaps too extreme at times. ...He displayed a great tenderness when dealing with his family. ..and had a great reverence for his parents, revealing his ability to sacrifice his career and his profession in order to please them.

DEATH: Leading a life of intense commitment and concentrations and pioneering charitable projects, he took solace by consuming more than average amounts of alcohol and this gave rise to a weak health constitution,that ultimately ceased his young life at just 40 years of age.

Frédéric Ozanam died on Thursday 8th September 1853 at Marseille, France, and was laid to rest in the crypt of the Church of St. Joseph des Carmes at the Institute Catholique in Paris, France.


International Expansion & Recognition:

As the new Society took wings and gained great appreciation for its tremendous voluntary work, it was the mid 19th century before the international expansion occurred and in Ireland, the date16th December 1844 is a landmark date of the founding of the Irish Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Dublin. Since first established in Ireland, St. Vincent de Paul society is now the largest voluntary charitable organisation in Ireland, making it one of Ireland's best known and most widely supported and respected organisations of social concern and action.

Irish Volunteers number over 11,500 who are active in every county in Ireland and during the Socities Irish history, it has helped People in Need through English occupation of All Ireland, a famine, a civil war, a war of independence, two world wars and several economic recessions. Ireland is part of the international Society which is represented in over 140 countries; having 700,000 members, 1.5m volunteers, 51,000 Conferences and helping 30 million poor throughout the world.


Irish Heritage Hall Of Fame Appreciation:

Although Frédéric had no Irish connections or heritage, the Society he founded has made an immense impact with Irish people and the Socities Irish Volunteers since 1844. The daily role of the Irish Society is appreciated by people who benefit from its foundation and for many Irish citizens, the Society is their last port of call when financial obligations occur.

At Irish Heritage Hall Of Fame we now honour the legacy bestowed to Ireland by Blessed Frédéric Ozanam and the men and women Volunteers of Ireland who maintained the irreplaceable services of the Irish Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Accordingly we induct the Irish Society of St. Vincent de Paul as our very first Inductee of Historic Irish Associations at Irish Heritage Hall Of Fame Online Gallery.



About St. Vincent de Paul:

In 2021 it is 144 years since a French Catholic priest dedicated his life to serving the poor. Born on 24th April 1581, the clerical life he adopted for himself was a life of daily toil and preaching to his fellow clerics to become more committed to their spiritual obligations. In 1622 Vincent was appointed a chaplain to the prison galleys and after working for some time in Paris among imprisoned galley slaves, he returned to be the superior of what is now known as, The Congregation of the Mission incorporating The Vincentian Order, known in France as ‘The Lazaristes’.

This order of priests took vows of Poverty; Chastity; Obedience and Stability, thus devoting themselves entirely to the less well off communities in the smaller French towns and villages. As the pioneer and superior of the order, Vincent decided his clerical colleagues required further charitable indoctrination and set up retreats for priests at a time, when there was great laxity, abuse, and ignorance among them. He was renowned for his compassion, humility, and generosity and Vincent established seminaries and founded The Congregation of the Mission and also Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. 


Editorial by Derry JF Doody

for Irish Heritage Hall of Fame Induction of the founding associates of St.Vincent de Paul Society Ireland

Last modified on Monday, 15 August 2022 03:50