The first rule was authored in 1835 By Emmanuel Bailly, Francois Lallier, and Frederic Ozanam. Additions, revisions, and commentaries occurred in 1935 and 1953. The Rule changed to admit women to membership in 1968.
The Rule was revised in 1973 to reflect the directives of Vatican II and the Renewal of the Society. It was revised in 2004 to bring the inspirations of 1835 Into the 21st Century.
Parliaments of Great Britain and Iceland
About 70 universities
The Catholic Church
Thousands have been born and died!
How do you think the Rule has kept the St. Vincent de Paul Society true to its mission for over 175 years?
Selected Excerpts from The Rule
The Rule of SVDP, Section 1: Vocation and Purpose
1.2 The Vincentian Vocation
The vocation of the Society’s members, who are called Vincentians, is to follow Christ through service to those in need and so bear witness to His compassionate and liberating love. Members show their commitment through person-to-person contact. Vincentians serve in hope.
1.3 Any form of personal help…
No work of charity is foreign to the Society. It includes any form of help that alleviates suffering or deprivation and promotes human dignity and personal integrity in all their dimensions.
1.4…to anyone in need
The Society serves those in need regardless of creed, ethnic or social background, health, gender, or political opinions.
1.5 To Seek Out the Poor
Vincentians strive to seek out and find those in need and the forgotten, the victims of exclusion or adversity.
The Rule of SVDP, Section 3: Use of Money and Property for the Poor
Vincentians should never forget that giving love, talents and time is more important than giving money. Nevertheless, the Society uses money and property to help relieve the suffering of those in need. The Society’s funds must be handled with the utmost care, prudence and generosity. Money must not be hoarded. Decisions regarding the use of money and property are to be made after reflection in the light of the Gospel and Vincentian principles. Accurate records must be kept of all money received or spent. The Society may not allot funds to other organizations, except occasionally for other branches of the Vincentian Family, save under exceptional circumstances.
The Rule of SVDP, Section 7: Vision
7.1 The Society gives immediate help but also seeks mid-term and long-term solutions
The Society is concerned not only with alleviating need but also with identifying the unjust structures that cause it. It is, therefore, committed to identifying the root causes of poverty and to contributing to their elimination. In all its charitable actions there should be a search for justice; in its struggle for justice, the Society must keep in mind the demands of charity.
7.2 A vision of the civilization of love
Affirming the dignity of each human being as created in God’s image, and Jesus’ particular identification with those who are excluded by society, Vincentians envision a more just society in which the rights, responsibilities and development of all people are promoted.
As citizens of one world, Vincentians listen to the voice of the Church which demands their participation in creating a more equitable and compassionate social order, promoting the culture of life and the civilization of love. In this way, the Society shares the Church’s mission to evangelise the world through visible witness, in both actions and words.