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In 1833, a 20-year-old college student and his friends began serving the poor in Paris, France. 

This was the beginning of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Today, there are more than 777,000 members serving in 149 countries around the globe. 


The Society arrived in the United States in 1845, where the first conference was formed in St. Louis, Missouri.

The first presence of the Society in the Galveston-Houston area was in 1871 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Galveston. 

Today, there are 58 Conferences in the Galveston-Houston Council with more than 1,900 members growing spiritually through friendship and service to those in need.

Timeline (1871-2021)

Our Patrons & Founders


The Society's Patron Saint

St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660) was the founder of the Congregation of the Mission, Daughters of Charity, Confraternities of Charity, and Ladies of Charity.

He was a man of deep faith, keen intellect, and enormous creativity, he has become known as the "The Apostle of Charity" and "Father of the Poor." His contributions to the training of priests and organizing parish missions and other services for the poor shaped our Church's role in the modern world.


St. Vincent de Paul Feast day is September 27th.


The Society's 


St. Louise de Marillac (1591-1660) had St. Vincent de Paul as her spiritual director. Her inherent desire to know and accomplish God's will blossomed into a life of ministry to those who were sick and destitute.


Her contagious spirituality and strong, organizational ability led her to co-found with Vincent the Daughters of Charity, a group of sisters who serve the poor and who inspire our Society.

St. Louise de Marillac Feast day is May 9th.


The Society's Founder

Blessed Frederic Ozanam (1813-1853) founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. He was a young Sorbonne student who met regularly with his fellow Catholic students to discuss the issues of their time. At one of their public meetings, a challenger admitted the Catholic Church, at one time, had been a great source of good, but asked, “What is your Church doing now?… Show us your works and we will believe you.”


Unable to respond, Frédéric conceded. Shortly afterward, Frédéric and six friends created the Conference of Charity, with the purpose of serving the poor of Paris.


Frédéric and his friends provided food, clothing, shelter,  financial, and spiritual help. They also established tutoring programs and libraries. 

Blessed Frederic's Feast day is September 9th.


The Society's Mentor

Blessed Rosalie Rendu, DC (1786 - 1856) was a Daughter of Charity who served for 54 years in the Mouffetard area, the most impoverished district of Paris.


Emmanuel Bailly, the President of the Society, sent the founding members of the Society to Sister Rosalie for guidance and direction. Sending them on home visits, she formed them in the spirit of St. Vincent, teaching them how to serve the poor with respect and compassion.

Blessed Rosalie's Feast day is February 7th.

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