Inspired by Gospel values, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic lay organization, leads women and men to join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to those who are needy and suffering in the tradition of its founder, Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, and patron, St. Vincent de Paul. As a reflection of the whole family of God, Members, who are known as Vincentians, are drawn from every ethnic and cultural background, age group, and economic level. Vincentians are united in an international society of charity by their spirit of poverty, humility and sharing, which is nourished by prayer and reflection, mutually supportive gatherings and adherence to a basic Rule. Organized locally, Vincentians witness God’s love by embracing all works of charity and justice. The Society collaborates with other people of good will in relieving need and addressing its causes, making no distinction in those served because, in them, Vincentians see the face of Christ. Founded in Paris in 1833, the Society’s first U.S. conference opened in St. Louis in 1845. The Society came to Chicago in 1857, and to St. Damian in 1992.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul offers tangible assistance to those in need on a person-to-person basis. It is this personalized involvement that makes the work of the Society unique. This aid may take the form of intervention, consultation, or often through direct dollar or in-kind service. An essential precept of the Society’s work is to provide help while conscientiously maintaining the confidentiality and dignity of those who are served. The Society recognizes that it must assume, also, a role of advocacy for those who are defenseless or voiceless. Some 12 million persons are helped annually by Vincentians in the United States.
Through the generous support of our fellow parishioners, we are able, on a case-by-case basis, to assist the poor and needy of our community. Since our funding is limited, we cannot provide assistance in all cases. Needy residents of Oak Forest contact us through our “hotline” (708/ 802-0484); all calls are handled in complete confidence. If assistance can be provided, two Vincentians meet the resident in his or her home, and discuss their situation, reviewing potential sources of assistance. Providing assistance is determine on a case-by-case basis.
Our regular meetings are on the first and third Mondays of each month at 7PM.
Yearly events at St. Damian include the St. Joseph Table in March, Tag Days (fundraising at a local store), a day-long Summer retreat, Bundle Sunday (collection of donated clothing at St. Damian), collection of donated school supplies for our Twinning parish, the Friends of the Poor Walk in September, Luminaria sales during Advent, and an Epiphany Mass and gathering. Our members also attend the yearly North Central Regional Conference, as well as local District and Archdiocesan events, including the Friends of the Poor Benefit each April at the DruryLaneTheater.