International Association of Charities: Over 400 Years in the Service of our Neighbors #famvin2024

by | Jul 9, 2024 | Famvin 2024, Formation, Vincentian Family | 0 comments

Meet the branches that comprise the Vincentian Family
Each week we will present a brief summary of one of the branches that are part of the Vincentian Family Movement, and are invited to the Vincentian Family gathering that will take place in Rome, from November 14 to 17, 2024.


The origin of the International Association of Charities (AIC) dates back to a Sunday in August 1617 in Châtillon, France. During a mass, Saint Vincent de Paul called upon his congregation to assist a needy family. The response was overwhelming: numerous women visited the family that very afternoon, bringing help and comfort. Inspired by this generosity, Saint Vincent proposed the creation of an association to provide spiritual and material assistance to those in need. Thus, on December 8, 1617, the first Confraternity of Charity was founded.

Supported by Saint Louise de Marillac and a growing number of volunteers, Saint Vincent expanded the Confraternities within and beyond France. Today, the AIC is an international network fighting poverty across four continents. The organization has 100,000 Vincentian volunteers in 56 national associations, committed to keeping the flame of charity alive for future generations.

The Structure of AIC

Legal Framework

The AIC is an international non-profit association recognized as a legal entity under Belgian law since 1985. Its statutes define its objectives, functioning, and members’ rights, complemented by internal regulations that establish a code of collaboration. Canonically, the AIC has been recognized as an association of lay faithful since 2007.

International Bodies

Assembly of Delegates: Comprising presidents of national associations, it meets every three years to elect the Executive Board and define the Priority Lines of Action (PLA). For the 2023-2026 period, the PLAs include: rooting ourselves in the Vincentian charism, moving forward together, and being open to and welcoming change.

Executive Board: Consisting of 8 to 10 members from various nationalities, it coordinates and animates the AIC network, focusing on volunteer training, communication, experience exchange, and promoting solidarity.

International Secretariat: Located in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, it supports the Executive Board in executing decisions and managing the network, fostering connections among volunteers, and providing administrative and fundraising services.

Key Moments in AIC History

  • 1617: Foundation of the first Confraternity of Charity in Châtillon-les-Dombes.
  • 1625: Foundation of the Congregation of the Mission.
  • 1629: Vincent de Paul appoints Louise de Marillac as visitor of the Confraternities.
  • 1633: Foundation of the Company of the Daughters of Charity.
  • From 1634: International expansion of the Confraternities.
  • 1789-1840: The French Revolution interrupts the activities of the Confraternities, which are reestablished in 1840.
  • 1930: First international congress in Paris.
  • 1971: International meeting in Rome, new statutes adopted, and the international secretariat moved to Brussels.
  • 1986: Official recognition as an international non-profit association under Belgian law.
  • 2010: Grand Jubilee of the 350th anniversary of the deaths of Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Louise de Marillac.
  • 2017: Celebration of the 400th anniversary of AIC’s founding.

Mission and Vision

The AIC remains committed to fighting all forms of poverty and exclusion, operating in 56 countries across Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe, and the United States. With over 5,100 local groups, the international network works to improve the lives of the disadvantaged, keeping alive the mission of Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Louise de Marillac.

Headquarters: Association Internationale des Charités
Avenue de Cîteaux 114
1348 Louvain-la-Neuve – Belgium
Tel. [+32]10456353 – Fax 10458063

Click on the following image to access all the information on the Second Vincentian Family Convocation, November 14–17, 2024 in Rome, Italy:


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