• International Confederation

    Society of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul

    30 million poor people served in the world

  • International Confederation

    Society of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul

    "I would like to embrace the World in a network of charity"

Vincentian training

With around 800,000 members working for people in need all over the world, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is one of the most widespread of international NGOs.  Its basic unit, the “Conference”, brings together 10 to 15 people, and undertakes its work independently, as a local form of charitable action. Around the world, these conferences, grouped into local, regional and national councils, form a great network of charity, the dearest wish of one of its leading founders, Blessed Frédéric Ozanam. The International Council General leads this network and supports the work of volunteers, especially by providing them with training opportunities.

Why Training?

Like many other associations, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul devotes time to training its volunteers before sending them out into the field.

  • Training to give better help: Vincentians go to people in need, to build a personal, sustainable relationship with them. They visit people in their own home and are therefore invited to enter their lives and their intimate concerns.  This can only be done with prior training. The volunteers also have to know how to identify the problems of the people they help, so they can respond to them more effectively.
  • Training for leaders: The Society’s leaders (coordinators, conference presidents, council presidents, etc.) are volunteers who are also responsible for a team. These officers have to be trained so they can lead their members effectively, and know how to mobilise resources to put them at the service of the poor. The CGI’s job is to train these leaders who will then pass on their knowledge, on the cascade training principle.
  • Acting in a Vincentian spirit: All members must know the history of the Society in which they serve, the Church’s social teaching, the encyclicals and the Vincentian ethos, so they can undertake their work and make their commitment to their faith as part of a shared spirituality.

Council General and training

In the early days of the SSVP, Frédéric Ozanam and his companions were prepared by Sister Rosalie Rendu for visiting the homes of the poor in the Mouffetard district of Paris. This was the first form of training undertaken by the newly-created Society.

In 2010, when he took up his post, the International President General Dr. Michael Thio set training as a priority for the next 5 years, incorporating it into the first two objectives of his Strategic Plan. (link). Since then, CGI and particularly Brian O’Reilly (Vice President General) has undertaken regional and international training for national presidents, led by the Training Commission, whose members are:

  • Marie Françoise Salesian-Payet (International Vice-President for training)
  • Fr Mathieu Bréjon de la Vergnée
  • Fr Charles Mercier
  • Eduardo Marquez Almeida

The daily management of the commission is undertaken by Anne Wintenberger (coordinator)

The Training Commission initiated a thorough review of the content of the available programmes, leading to a universal training course that could be used wherever the Society is present. Guided by Council General, the Commission also works to design teaching resources available for SSVP members. Its aim is to ensure transmission of a shared culture founded on the vision of the founders, and the mission the Society has to accomplish.

With around 800,000 members working for people in need all over the world, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is one of the most widespread of international NGOs.  Its basic unit, the “Conference”, brings together 10 to 15 people, and undertakes its work independently, as a local form of charitable action. Around the world, these conferences, grouped into local, regional and national councils, form a great network of charity, the dearest wish of one of its leading founders, Blessed Frédéric Ozanam. The International Council General leads this network and supports the work of volunteers, especially by providing them with training opportunities.