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Who We Are

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is one of the oldest charitable organizations in the world, founded in 1833 in France by seven students including Frederic Ozanam. The young Frederic, a Catholic, wanted to help the poor of all religions during the industrial revolution.

He also wanted to improve the lives of his peers by urging them to perform works of charity rather than simply talk about what should be done to help the needy. Now beatified by the Vatican, Blessed Frederic founded the Society in the name of St. Vincent de Paul, a French priest from the late 16th and early 17th centuries who alerted the people of his day to many of society's ills.

Along with several friends, Frederic visited the poor in their home, helping them whenever possible by sharing whatever food of other necessities were available for them to give. More importantly, the young friends provided food for the spirit through their many acts of kindness and friendship.

The Society's work quickly began to spread are arrived in the United States in 1845 with the founding of what is now the Council of the United States in St. Louis, Missouri.

This international organization is made up of lay Catholic men and women who are committed to live and grow in their Christian faith through prayer and personal involvement in charitable works. It has spread to more than 144 nations, with more than 900,000 members worldwide.

Our worldwide mission is to help the needy in countless way, primarily through one-on-one contact of volunteers with children, families and the homeless. We accomplish this mission through parish and community based groups called Conferences and through special projects either at the Conference level or through an organization of Conferences at the Council level.

Our members, called Vincentians, continually strive to promote the dignity of the people they serve while helping alleviate their suffering and distress and working to correct conditions that cause these problems.

The Diocese of Joliet encompasses seven Illinois counties, DuPage, Will, Kankakee, Iroquois, Ford, Kendall and Grundy. We have local Conferences in DuPage, Will, Kankakee, Grundy and Kendall counties.

The Joliet Diocesan Council operates a SVDP1 senior housing project, a car program and six Thrift stores. The Joliet Diocesan Council comprises over 35 local parish Conferences with 1500 members. Several Conferences operate Food pantries and others provide PADS housing in association with DuPage PADS association or the Will County PADS association. Our members continually strive to carry on the work begun when the Blessed Frederic and his friends formed their first conference in France over 175 years ago.

To obtain more information from a global perspective, please visit the Society's International website at This site may be viewed in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. To obtain more information from the United States perspective, please visit the USA National website at

Diocesean Council of Joliet Illinois
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