For over 125 years, St. Vincent de Paul has been providing the Greater Detroit Area and Southeastern Michigan with goods and services at little or no cost. How do we do it? With your help!
Through your donations, grants, volunteering and contributions, Vincentians help people in need. It doesn’t matter what race, religion, or ethnic origin, if someone needs help, we are there to assist. St. Vincent is not just about serving; we strive to preserve the dignity of all individuals and their families. This tenet of maintaining unity is a defining characteristic of St. Vincent de Paul and our work.
Annually, St. Vincent de Paul – Detroit serves over 90,000 people and has an administrative cost of just 8%. This means that 92 cents of every dollar that we take in goes to help thousands of people in need.
THE PHILOSOPHY: In the words of the St. Vincent de Paul’s Mission Statement, St. Vincent de Paul “leads women and men to join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to the needy and suffering in the tradition of its founder, Blessed Frederic Ozanam, and patron, St. Vincent de Paul.” Vincentians strive to be open and flexible to the needs they encounter: “No work of charity is foreign to St. Vincent de Paul.” From its earliest days St. Vincent de Paul has made no distinctions based on religious affiliation; “need, not creed” determines who is helped.
LEADERSHIP is provided by volunteer lay Catholic men and women.
THE PATRON: St. Vincent de Paul (1580-1660) was selected as patron because he not only ministered personally to people in need but also organized religious and lay women and men in ministries of service. All the groups he organized have survived to the present day except for the laymen’s organization, which did not survive the French Revolution. Its demise provided the opportunity for the fledgling group organized by Frederic Ozanam and fellow students in 1833.
Frederic Ozanam went on to lead an exemplary life as a husband, father, college professor and actively involved Vincentian. He died at age 40 in 1853. In 1997 he was declared Blessed by the Catholic Church. More about Frederic Ozanam.
FUNDS come from Poor Boxes, special collections, members’ secret collections at meetings, Conference fundraisers, grants, special gifts and bequests. In some cases the parish appropriates funds from the parish budget for the Conference. “Seed money” for new Conferences is available through St. Vincent De Paul District Councils. Other Conferences sometimes assist through the traditional Vincentian practice of “twinning.” Conference funds are banked separately from parish funds in an account with the U.S. Society’s tax I.D. number.