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What Is SSVP ?
The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is an International Lay Catholic organization which has its origin in Paris, France. It was founded on April 23, 1833 by six university students and a Professor who joined together to create what was then known as the “Conference of Charity” in response to the needs of the poor in Paris. The students were led by Frederic Ozanam of Sorbonne University who was celebrating his 20th birthday on that day. As more chapters known as “Conferences” were established, it adopted the name Society of St. Vincent de Paul in honor of the saint who was known as the “Patron Saint of all works of charity”. The SSVP is now present in 142 countries worldwide. On August 22, 1997, Frederic Ozanam was beatified by Pope John Paul II at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris coinciding with the celebration of World Youth Day.
On December 29, 1860, the SSVP was introduced in the Philippines by the Jesuit Congregation with the establishment of the first Conference in Intramuros, Manila. In 1933, the stewardship of the Society was passed on to the Padres Paules later known as the Congregation of the Mission (CM) or Vincentian Fathers and Brothers. The SSVP will be celebrating its 150th Founding Anniversary by December 29, 2010. Meanwhile, the Society of Jesus continues to promote the legacy of Blessed Frederic Ozanam by presiding over the giving of the “Ozanam Award” to persons who have excelled in humanitarian endeavors.
“No work of Charity is foreign to the Society”
The new international logo of the SSVP bears a fish with a blue background. It bears an inscription that states “SERVIENS IN SPE” (To serve in hope) The circle signifies the global or worldwide stature of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, an International Society. The eye of the fish is the vigilant eye of God seeking out to help the poor and underprivileged in our midst. The crossing of the tail or a tie-knot represents unity and oneness among members and with the poor.