St. Vincent de Paul Society Quietly Serves the Community

Every day, individuals and families throughout the area need clothing, food, rent, utilities, appliances, beds and more. And St. Vincent de Paul Society volunteers – Vincentians – from St. Sebastian parish bring what’s needed – no questions asked.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society is an international organization founded in France by Blessed Frederic Ozanam nearly 200 years ago. The society’s goal is the sanctification of its members through service to disadvantaged individuals.

Dating back to 1915—the St. Vincent de Paul Conference is among the oldest of St. Sebastian Parish societies. About 15 members meet on the third Wednesday of each month, and anyone is welcome to join. They make plans for home visits based on referrals, assess the family’s social condition, refer clients to community agencies when appropriate and provide vouchers for what’s needed.

At one time responding to the material needs of families and individuals as far west as the Waukesha County line and as far north as Silver Spring Road, our parish conference today serves a more limited (if more thickly populated) geographical area. But the St. Sebastian Vincentians continue to reach beyond parish boundaries to assist Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

In addition to making home visits, the Vincentians both collect goods and solicit funds for the needy. Parishioners, buoyed by the supportive attitude of parish priests, have responded generously to “Bundle Weekend” opportunities to pack St. Vincent de Paul trucks with donated items, special collections and the like.

Conference members bring the Eucharist to shut-ins, help out in the local office or at one of the St. Vincent de Paul stores, attend and host evenings of recollection and meetings involving Vincentians from a number of parishes, and join in on regional liturgies, dinners and the Walk for the Poor.  Members do what they are interested in doing on behalf of the needy in our general area.

People who need assistance in the way of food, furnishings, and household goods should call the St. Vincent de Paul area office, 414-462-7837. Personnel will make a referral to the Vincentian conference closest to the requester’s home.

Free training sessions are provided for new Vincentians on an archdiocesan level. Large-group programs are offered periodically, also without charge, to all members.

In the collaborative spirit of our cluster, the St. Sebastian and St. Catherine conferences have worked together on various Vincentian activities in recent years. For more information about the St. Sebastian Vincentians, call 414-771-8952.

arish St. Vincent de Paul Conference president Judy Ballard hands out literature as fellow Vincentians Jim Schiller (far left) and Stephen Dodridge look on.

Steve Dodridge, conference vice-president, made a pulpit appeal on behalf of the St. Vincent de Paul Society on the saint’s 2015 feast day, the last Sunday in September.

Steve Dodridge, conference vice-president, made a pulpit appeal on behalf of the St. Vincent de Paul Society on the saint’s 2015 feast day, the last Sunday in September.

Parish St. Vincent de Paul Conference president Judy Ballard hands out literature as fellow Vincentians Jim Schiller (far left) and Stephen Dodridge look on.

Parish St. Vincent de Paul Conference president Judy Ballard hands out literature as fellow Vincentians Jim Schiller (far left) and Stephen Dodridge look on.

St. Sebastian Vincentians (from left) Tom Jozwik, Melissa Bereiter, Sue Joyce, Steve Ballard, Mike Vruno. The Vincentian-to-be joining them is parish grade schooler Ava Dodridge.

St. Sebastian Vincentians (from left) Tom Jozwik, Melissa Bereiter, Sue Joyce, Steve Ballard, Mike Vruno. The Vincentian-to-be joining them is parish grade schooler Ava Dodridge.

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An informational display in the gathering space helps people understand the work of the St. Vincent de Paul Society and how they can get involved.