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Foreword, History of SSVP, Mission of SSVP, SSVP Calender, Planned National Council Meetings

Foreword

Being merciful is a divine gift from God. All members of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul
have been given this gift which enables the Vincentians to be engaged in doing charitable
work of alleviating human suffering among those who are in need. It is God’s will that each
individual should share his or her life with others, especially with those who are
disadvantaged, so that the love of God may be revealed and shared with others in various
communities. It should be remembered that for the sacrifices and suffering the Vincentians
encounter on behalf of the less privileged people, God has promised mercy on the last day
to those who are merciful.
The Rule comprises of three sections. Part One reminds us of the main purpose of the
Society, the relief of the poor and needy and the sanctification of our members’ souls. Part
Two sets out the International Statutes by which the Society is governed. Part Three
contains the specifically Zambian statutes in terms of which we are guided in the conduct of
the Society’s work. All three together comprise the “The Rule.”
Short stories about our Patron Saint Vincent de Paul and founder member Frederic Ozanam,
and the Origin of the Society in Paris in 1833 have been included to give historical
background to the Rule.
It is in the interest of all members to read and sometimes study the Rule to acquaint
themselves with the structure and guidelines that pertain to the Society, internationally and
locally. This will help with the growth and development of the Society and its members as
one big family. In this vein we will see and understand that our work of our brothers and
sisters in our own small communities, and those throughout the world. We all have one
motivation and one aim, that is to serve our God in his poor.
With regards to this then, it is my hope that each member of our Society will acquire a
personal copy of the Rule, to read and study closely, and thus be able to refer to it when
need arises. Conference Presidents are so much encouraged to fit into their programme of
Spiritual Reading some articles from the Rule. This could be done over a period of time. Let
us not bluff ourselves that we can be loyal members to the Society without knowing its rules
and its spirit. Let us continue to be servants of the poor, and implement the new Rule
enthusiastically so that our beloved Society can grow from strength to strength.
It is indeed an honour and privilege for me to be President at this great time and write this
preface.
Thomas Kangwa
National President (2002- 2008)

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History of SSVP

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul was founded by a group of seven Catholic laymen, who initially named the society The Conference of Charity. Six of the seven men were young students at the Sorbonne University, with a brilliant young lawyer Antoine Frederic Ozanam, who was just 20 years old, and Joseph Emmanuel Bailly being the leaders of the conference. The other members include Francois Lailier, Augustus Le Tallandier, Paul Lamache, Felix Clave, and Julius Devaux (Treasurer).

The seven men came together on a Tuesday, 23 April 1833, at 18 Rue de Petit-Bourbon (now 38 Rue de Saint Sulpice, Paris, France). With the objective of serving the Parisian poor in mind, they formulated plans to provide assistance to the homes of the poor people around the area.

The team worked closely with another charitable organisation, The Daughters of Charity, in planning the distribution of help to the poor. With influence from Sister Rosalie Rendu (1786-1856), a nun from The Daughters of Charity, the newly-formed Conference of Charity took St Vincent de Paul as their patron saint, thus changing the name of the conference to The Society of St Vincent de Paul. The decision was made because the idea of helping the poor was in line with the works of Saint Vincent de Paul, who dedicated his life to serve the poor.

By the end of the first year, the society had increased in numbers to the point where it became necessary for the society to be divided into several smaller groups. Thus, the Rule of The Conference was drafted, introducing the concept of “Council General” and “Conference”. The first President-general was Joseph Emanuel Bailly, who was in charge from 1833 to 1844.

The Holy See approved of the aims and methods of The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, and enriched it with its precious approval at the end of 1845.

The society quickly grew in numbers, not only in France, but also throughout the world. The society reached Italy (1842); England (1844); Belgium, Scotland, and United States (1845), Germany, Holland, Greece, Turkey and Mexico (1846); Canada and Switzerland (1847); Austria and Spain (1850). The motivating factors that led to the rapid growth can be attributed to firstly the desire to see Christ in the poor and secondly the need to visit the less fortunate in their homes on a person-to-person basis, before any help could be given.

Between 1860 and 1870, the Council General was dissolved by force of law because the French government feared that this widely rooted society would become possible opposition. However, after 1870, the conferences resumed their activities and gradually continued with their work in serving the poor.

By 1933, a century after it was started, The Society of St Vincent de Paul had representations in more than 33 countries including Zambia. In 2008, the society had grown to include more than 45,000 conferences with more than 700,000 active members, existing in 143 countries worldwide. The Society of St Vincent de Paul of Singapore is a part of the global Vincentian family.

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SSVP Calendar

17th February 1951 First Zambian Conference formed. St. Francis, Mansa
2nd Sunday of July Remembrance of the dead Zambian Vincentians.
9th September Feast of Blessed Frederic Ozanam
27th September Feast of St. Vincent de Paul
8th December Feast of the Immaculate Conception

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Calendar of National Council Meetings

2014
31 Jul. - 03 Aug.
AGM, Plenary Session, Elections
2015
06 Aug- 09 Aug AGM
2016
04 Aug- 07 Aug AGM

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