THE VINCENTIAN FAMILY
The Congregation of the Mission
St. Vincent de Paul founded the Congregation of the Mission in 1625 for the evagelisastion of the poor and formation of the clergy. Today, there are over 4,000 Vincentian priests and brothers scattered all over the world in 86 countries.
Ladies of Charity
In 1617, St. Vincent de Paul assembled women from affluent families and founded the Confraternity of Charity, which later became the Ladies of Charity, AIC (Association Internationale des Charites). This international non-governmental organisation (NGO) has over 250,000 mainly women volunteers in 50 countries throughout the world. AIC groups work with the very poor and the socially excluded to empower them and restore their dignity.
The Daughters of Charity
The Little Company of the Daughters of Charity was established in 1633 because of the growing numbers of young women who desired to serve the poor alongside the Ladies of Charity. St. Vincent de Paul asked St. Louise de Marillac to assume responsibility for the formation and guidance of these young women. St. Vincent said “When you serve the poor this way, you are true Daughters of Charity, that is to say, Daughters of God and you are imitating Jesus Christ.” The present day Daughters of Charity provide pastoral care, educate and minister to children and young people, care for the elderly, minister to prisoners and serve the poor and marginalised. The Catholic Church recognises the Daughters of Charity as a Society of Apostolic Life. In January 2010, there were nearly 19,000 Sisters working in 91 countries.
The Society of St Vincent de Paul
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a lay society with over 875,000 members in 130 countries. It was founded in 1833 by Blessed Frederic Ozanam, a lawyer and Professor at the Sorbonne, to help impoverished people living in Paris. Following the advice of Sister Rosalie Rendu, Daughter of Charity, who was well known for her work in the Paris slums, Frederic approached certain people to finance the work of the Society and become Patrons.
The Vincentian Marian Youth and the Association of the Miraculous Medal
In 1830, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared three times to a young woman who was training to be a Daughter of Charity. Her name was Catherine Laboure. The Blessed Virgin Mary requested that Catherine’s Director, Fr Aladel, should form a Confraternity of Daughters of Mary to which many indulgences would be given. This is now known as the Vincentian Marian Youth Movement and has over 200,000 members worldwide. During these apparitions, the Immaculate Virgin Mary also revealed a very detailed image of a medallion – the Miraculous Medal. The first medals were produced in 1832 and devotion spread rapidly. The Association of the Miraculous Medal was formed in 1847 in Paris and has flourished throughout the world.