The aspirant is the person who participates in the activities of a Vincentian Conference in order to know the mission of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, after an appropriate period of regular visits. The National Rules do not usually indicate the number of weekly meetings or home visits to needy families that are attended by the Conference to which the applicant must attend, leaving good common sense and rationality to be the central elements of this decision.
In order for an applicant to enter the Conference, it is necessary for him to know the essential points of the normative acts of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and to commit himself to observing them. In addition, by the same constitution of the Society, it is necessary that the aspirant be Catholic, have made First Communion and have received at least a minimum formation on our charism and spirituality.
The member of the SSVP must be a convinced and active Catholic. Only those who profess the Catholic faith and who try to witness to the love of Christ through the exercise of charity can be proclaimed members of the SSVP.
We must not confuse the figure of the aspirant (the person who attends the activities of the Conference during a certain time) with the visitors, the people (Vincentian or not) who make a fleeting step through the Conference. Examples of visitors are: the priest who makes an eventual visit to the Conference, the president of the Particular Council on a regular visit to the Vincentian group, a Vincentian from another place on vacation in that city, a pastoral coordinator of the parish who he comes to give a warning about the activities of his group, a spiritual advisor in mission, etc. Finally, the secretaries of the Conference must pay attention and register the presence of both applicants and visitors.
The aspirants are living proof that our organization will never die, because it is a work of God focused on evangelization and the transformation of the world. Aspirants join existing members in their concern to act on behalf of the poor and translate their compassion into practical and effective love. The aspirants represent the renewal of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul.
To the aspirants to our Vincentian Conferences, we want to say: Welcome! We need your ideas, opinions and comments. You are the new blood that will renew the actions of human promotion that the Society of St. Vincent de Paul undertakes in the peripheries of cities, fighting against exclusion and social inequality. We need your commitment, community experience and time availability. We need your talent and missionary ardor.
Renato Lima de Oliveira
16th General President of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul