The mission of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is to build a network of friends, inspired by Gospel values, who are growing in holiness and building a more just world through personal relationships with and service to people in need.
The mission of our Conference at St. John the Evangelist is to provide person-to-person service to people who need our help in the area we serve.
Who We Are
We are a group of volunteers, primarily members of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, who want to reach out and help those in need around us. We are grateful for the generous support of our parish, particularly in allowing us to use the parish building known as “Ozanam House” as a food pantry and aid office.
A young law student named Frederic Ozanam and five friends founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in 1833 in Paris, France. The group was initially named the “Conference of Charity”, but within a few years it was called The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, after the patron saint of those living in poverty.
The founding members met with Rosalie Rendu, a Daughter of Charity who served in the most impoverished part of Paris, for guidance. She sent them on home visits and truly molded the idea of serving the poor with dignity and respect. Pope John Paul II later beatified both Ozanam and Rendu.
The first meeting of the Society in the United States took place in 1845 in St. Louis, Missouri. Right now, the US has over 4,600 Conferences with over 146,000 members. Our members annually give well over 7,600,000 hours of volunteer service, participate in over 650,000 home visits, and manage another 900,000 plus visits to prisons, hospitals, elderly, and to others in need. Our service to the poor amounts to over $330 million, and the in-kind value of food, clothing and furniture totals over $80 million.
The first Conference in southwest Washington was at St. Rose in Longview in 1936, followed by St. James Conference in Vancouver in 1937. Our Conference at St. John the Evangelist started serving those in need in 1980.