The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul has 50,000 teams (or Conferences) with 700,000 members established in 141 countries writes international President José Ramón Díaz-Torremocha in the 10 page annual report.

His introduction from the pdf document…

Madam, Sir,

First, a few words, and a few numbers to introduce our organization.

1833:  A group of young laypeople, inspired by several of them, among them the radiant Frederic Ozanam, and benefiting from
the guidance and support of a mentor, Emmanuel Bailly who would become the first General President, founds the first “Conference” of Saint Vincent de Paul in Paris.
2007:  The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul has 50,000 teams (or Conferences) established in
141 countries.

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is an international Catholic organization made  exclusively of volunteer laypersons who serve in hope those who are in need, regardless of  creed, ethnic background, gender, or opinion.

The Society is defined through the personal contact to those who suffer; it is this personal contact that is the basis of the identity of all its Conferences. No work of charity is foreign to the Society (charity of proximity always, visits, interventions following disasters, development projects, special works). Its objective is to promote man’s dignity and integrity by testifying to the love of Christ, preferring person-to- person contact, and constantly adapting to the changing conditions of our times.

A lay and ecclesial organization at the same time, the Society respects the Catholic Hierarchy,
but operates autonomously.

At the international level, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is united spiritually and administratively within the SSVP International Confederation (or Council General), presided by the President General. Elected by theConfederation member countries for a six-year term, the President appoints all the members of the International Structure, which is deliberately light. The principle of subsidiarity is widely applied. The International Head Office is in Paris.

Here are what seem to be the highlights of 2007:

  • The vitality of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, with three most important poles of work (Africa, Central Europe, and Asia), lies in an extraordinary enthusiasm is “southern” countries (for example, numerous children Conferences in Brazil).
  • A particular attention towards Africa, a suffering continent, with the appointment of aspecific Commission.
  • The mobilization of young “Vincentians” of the world, one year before Sydney’s WYD.
  • The special efforts in the fields of communication (an increasingly popular website that is continuously becoming interactive) and SSVP member training at the international level (the birth of a Foundation to help more needy countries in that particular domain).
  • The beginning of a reform of the International Structure aiming to greater efficiency.
  • The search for external financing towards international organizations, or specialized organisms.

With the strength of a widespread presence and a large number of members, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul plays a major, although discreet, role at the international level.

José Ramón Díaz-Torremocha