How much time/commitment is required to be a member?
The Society recognizes that the level of involvement members can commit to will vary depending on personal circumstances such as work and family commitments. For this reason, the Society holds three forms of membership:
- Active (full) members are those who participate regularly in prayer life, attends regular conference meetings, and participates in charitable activities through personal contact with the poor of the Vincentian Conference or Council. An Active (Full) Member accepts the Rule of the Society and belongs to a Catholic Church.
- Associate members are committed to living the Society mission and serving those in need by offering assistance to outreach projects held throughout the year. Associate members do not attend conference meetings and may or may not be of the Catholic faith.
- Contributing members offer In-Kind or financial donations to a conference, Council Program or special work.
Meetings and opportunities to engage in service may occur during and outside business hours. While it varies from conference to conference, members meet bi-weekly or twice per month.
Youth and Young Adult conferences are often involved in services that range in commitment from weekly to monthly depending on the activities they are involved in.
Do members have to be Catholic?
Active (full) members are required to be of Catholic faith. It is not a requirement for Associate members, as defined above. The Society is a Catholic lay organization however, and exploring and sharing our Vincentian spirituality is an integral component. To enable a full experience of the Society and individual acts of service, members are encouraged to be open to prayer and reflection.
What is Vincentian spirituality?
Those who seek to live their lives and their faith in the spirit of St Vincent de Paul are known as Vincentians. Central to Vincentian spirituality is:
- To see Christ in the poor and marginalized.
- To be one with the poor.
- To serve with humility, authenticity, and without judgment.
- To give of one’s self, rather than the simple provision of material assistance.
Vincentian’s see their work as a continuation of Christ’s own work.
Who do members help?
The Society’s members help anyone in need, regardless of their background, culture, religion. One of the principle elements of St. Vincent de Paul is to meet people where they are; in their home, in a hospital, in a nursing home, in our jails and even in our streets.
What age can I become involved with the Society?
- Mini Vinnies
4 to 12 years (primary school age)
- High School/College Conferences
12 to 18 years (secondary school age)
- Youth & Young Adult Conferences
17 to 25 years
- Society Members
18 years +
Are there leadership opportunities for members?
There are many opportunities for members to contribute to servant leadership. This includes officer positions such as; Conference President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary roles as well as volunteer coordinators and/or representatives for special programs and services, youth representatives, spiritual advisers at all levels of the Society’s organizational structure. Of equal importance are opportunities to mentor and journey with fellow members in their Vincentian journey.
What support is provided to members?
The Society provides ongoing training and formation opportunities to support its members in their service to those in need and to deepen their understanding of the mission.
The Vincentian Formation pathway includes:
- Ozanam Orientation - All members must attend this training to become an active member of a conference.
- Home Visit Training - An in depth look at home visit expectations, the process, tools, and how conferences administer this ministry.
- Achieving the Mission - Examines the aspects of the helping relationship.
- Taking a New Look at Poverty Seminar (link) – An economic lens for supporting personal and community change.
- Membership Meetings - Held quarterly developing the four cornerstones of Vincentian life: Spirituality, Relationships, Solidarity and Unity.
Other informational gatherings are held throughout each year.