John Igoe, Roy Maurer and Tom Andrews
Society of St. Vincent de Paul Hotline
Thank you to the priests for the use of the rectory
garage where all three bays were filled with
donated furniture, the volunteers including those
from the Men's Club, and the parishioners who
donated all the clothing, household items, and
furniture which filled several trucks. Your donations
will help us help our neighbors in need!
Vincentians participated in the Annual National Friends
of the Poor Walk to raise money and awareness for
the needs of our neighbors. Sept. 2019
The Society at Mary Queen of Peace
The Mary Queen of Peace Conference started in 1927 but was dormant for many years. It was reactivated in 1976 with the assistance of Monsignor Jasper Chiodini. Some of the original members included Jack Flynn, Bill and Anita Cassilly, Mary Ruth Cordeal, Steve Geis and Joe and Nancy Mueller. Joe and Nancy are still active Vincentians today. Succeeding pastors, Monsignor Tom Woraceck, Fathers Jerry Meier, Bob Reiker and now Father John Vien have all enthusiastically supported the efforts of the Conference. In order to keep the Conference membership active and vibrant the members must make home visits.
There are not many families within our parish boundaries who require our assistance. The need in our area for a visit is usually prompted by events like loss of a breadwinner, divorce, fire or some other calamity. Accordingly, over the years, we have also made home visits to and assisted those in need living in other parts of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, including the cities of St. Louis, Maplewood, Brentwood, Shrewsbury, Valley Park and Fenton. For more than 20 years, we have also assisted parishioners and others living within the parish boundaries of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish (Ferguson, Cool Valley and Normandy).
Over the years we have maintained a consistent membership of 20-30 parishioners. We have an intake hotline that receives calls from our neighbors in need. In a typical month we will receive about 110, and on occasion more than 200, calls from people requesting assistance. Generally people are asking for help with rent, utilities and various other matters. We also provide food from our pantry or vouchers to shop for clothing or household articles at one of our Society of St. Paul thrift stores. The parish and especially our students have donated substantial amounts of food to the Conference that we deliver to our neighbors in need during a home visit. We strive to keep our neighbors in need in their homes and prevent disconnection of their utilities, eviction or foreclosure.
Two Vincentians make a home visit. Visiting clients in their homes is more dignified than merely paying a bill with a phone call. Visiting the poor is always an uplifting experience for the Vincentian. It allows us to experience some of their personal hardship.
A few statistics about our Conference’s activities and the assistance that we have been able to provide are quite revealing. In a typical year we may help about 200 families (many several times throughout the year) or about 3,000 individuals, make about 130 home visits and about 500 follow up phone interviews and calls to utility companies, landlords, lenders, and others, and distribute between $70,000 and $100,000 in utility, rent, mortgage payments, auto repairs and other expenses to help our neighbors in need meet their everyday living expenses.
Our Conference would not able to help these less fortunate people in our community without the unconditional support of the Mary Queen of Peace parishioners and students.Various parish organizations, especially the Men’s Club Christmas Dinner and Pullin’ for the Poor, and the Women’s League have been particularly generous. Our special events include the Thrift Store pick up where we fill 4-6 trucks each year with donations and our annual Walk For the Poor. Your support of these events are greatly appreciated. All of these donations and participation in our events have enabled us to help countless families over the years. We simply cannot help our neighbors in need without the continued support of our parishioners. We pray that you will continue to support our mission to help the poor.
We can always use new members. If you want to find out more about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul please attend one of our meetings. We usually meet every Monday evening at 7:15 in the Monsignor O’Toole room. See you there.
The History of The Society
The Society was founded by Frederic Ozanam in 1833. Frederic was a law student studying at the Sorbonne in Paris. He was active in a discussion group with several fellow Catholic students. The group was challenged to address some of the social issues that were confronting France at that time especially the plight of the poor. Frederic decided to found the “Conference of Charity” to assist the poor. His mentor was Sister Rosalie Rendu, a Daughter of Charity. She taught the members of Frederic’s group the art of helping the poor and sick. She sent them on home visits, teaching them how to serve the poor with respect and compassion. Home visits were to become a special charism of the organization. The group eventually changed its name to “The Society of St. Vincent de Paul”. Fredric Ozanam was proclaimed Blessed on August 22, 1997 by Pope John Paul II at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris. Today Vincentians everywhere pray for his Canonization at all of their meetings. Since its humble beginning the Society has blossomed into an international organization. The International Council includes membership in 150 Countries, on five Continents consisting of 45,000 Conferences comprising over 800,000 members. Today the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is the largest private social service organization in the world.
The Society in the United States
The Society was introduced into the United States in St. Louis, in 1845 at the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France, popularly called “The Old Cathedral”. An American Vincentian priest brought copies of the Rule of the Society of St. Vincent DePaul back from Ireland to St. Louis. With the assistance of Bishop Peter Richard Kenrick the Society was able to hold its first meeting in the United States on November 20, 1845, only twelve years after its foundation in Paris. Since its beginning the Society has continued to grow. At the present time there are more than 3,000 active Vincentians in St Louis, and 144 Parish Conferences. For more information about the Council visit the website: svdpstlouisorg.
The National Office is located in St. Louis and formulates policies and programs that are implemented by Councils and Conferences throughout the United States. Some of these programs include an automobile donation program and the annual Walk For The Poor. With the guidance of the National Office the Society has taken a leading role in providing disaster relief during such national emergencies as Katrina and now Harvey and Irma. At the present time there are more than 150,000 active Vincentians in the United States, in 81 Diocesan Councils, 80 District Councils and 4,500 Parish Conferences. For more information about the National Council visit the website: svdpusa.org.
Click below for a 90-minute movie based on the TV series “Our Faith in Action: Today’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul.” The program follows SVdP members on their spiritual growth journey through service to people and families in need. From the Society’s traditional assistance with food, rent and utilities to innovative health care, education and mentoring programs, the Society’s members, known as Vincentians, see the face of Christ in the people they encounter. Click here to watch the movie.