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"Show us your good works, that we might believe ..."

The year was 1833. The place, Paris.

A group of Catholic university students, led by Frederic Ozanam, were involved in debates on religion. Against sceptical opponents, Frederic argued that throughout history, Christianity had always fostered human progress.

He was challenged: “But what is the Church doing now? What are you doing? Show us your works, and then we might believe!”

Ozanam took up the challenge. “We must do what Jesus did … let us go to the poor”.

That night Ozanam and his room mate took some of their own fire wood to an old man living in an attic a few doors away. From then on, they continued offering help and care wherever they could.

More and more friends, young students in Paris, sought out the group who had found a way to live the Gospel. By 1835, the society, named after St Vincent de Paul, a French Saint who dedicated his life to the poor, had grown to more than 100 members.

The Society continued to grow throughout France, and over time spread to other countries. Today, the Society operates in 144 countries and has over 950 000 members.

donateIn South Africa, St Vincent de Paul Society has approximately 2 500 members and volunteers who work very hard to assist people in need and combat social injustice.

We rely on contributions of cash and kind from other caring people – who allow us to be their hands – carrying comfort, compassion and practical help to those most in need.

Please join them! Your donation – made right now through our secure online facility – will be put to work to give the poor and disadvantaged people of our country a 'hand up'. Any amount, large or small, makes a difference.

Thank you and God bless you.


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Frederic Ozanam

Frederic Ozanam - founder of the
St Vincent de Paul Society in 1833

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Inspired by the compassion of Jesus Christ, our Mission is lived in the way we work with the poor and disadvantaged – irrespective of race, colour, creed or status.

Our aim is not only to provide immediate support, but to enable those we assist to break free from the cycle of poverty.

Our desire is to empower and enable – a hand up not a handout.




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