SSVP: The Society of St Vincent de Paul
The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) is an international Christian lay voluntary organisation dedicated to tackling poverty and backwardness by providing practical assistance to those in need irrespective of ideology, faith, ethnicity, age, or gender. The vision of SSVP is to be a global catholic charity organisation providing aid, development and hope to the poor and the marginalised.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was founded in 1833 to help impoverished people living in the slums of Paris, France, Blessed Frederic Ozanam, the founder of the Society was a French lawyer, author, and professor in the Sorbonne. He was 20 years old when he founded the Society. Fredric Ozanam was beatified by Pope John Paul in 1997.
The Society took the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Vincent de Paul as its patrons under the influence of Sister Rosalie Rendu who guided Frederic and his companions in their approach towards those in need. Sister Rosalie Rendu was beatified in November 2003 by Pope John Paul II.
The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is present in all 6 continents and in 153 countries (each with its own Council). It has 800,000 active members and over one million volunteers forming a vast network of charity around the world. The Society is an accredited UN NGO and has presence in New York, Geneva and Paris.
The SSVP in India
The Society was first introduced in India by the French Missionaries and was established at the Cathedral Church by the bishop Rev. Leo Meurin, S.J at Pondicherry during the year 1852-53 as a non – aggregated Conference. The Society was officially started in India in 1863 when some conferences in Bombay were aggregated and the Bombay Particular Council was instituted. Then onwards the Society continued to grow in India. On 09.11.1953 the Superior Council of India was established and instituted with the Council General International.
The council of India has its headquarters at Mumbai and the present President’s secretariat is at Thodupuzha, Kerala with the election of Bro. Johnson Varghese as the 13th National President of India w.e.f.28th February 2015.
The National Council of India is registered under the Income Tax Act 1961, with exemption under the Income Tax Act 1961, with exemption under Sec 80G, FCRA under the ministry of Home Affairs and Societies Registration Act and Bombay Public Trust Act 1950.
The Bangalore Central Council (BCC)
BCC was established in 1970, the inauguration was held at St Francis Xavier's on 4th September 1970. And Bangalore Central obtained institutional status on 12th December 1972. As per this report the central council has 9 area councils. The BCC operates out of Silver Jubilee Home for the aged (No 44, 2nd C Cross, Ramaiah layout, Kammanahalli, Bangalore 560 084). Br G Francis Victor is the 9th President of BCC. Rev Fr Sunny Richard was appointed as the Spiritual Advisor of Bangalore Central Council in June 2018 by the Archbishop.
The SSVP Conference : Immaculate Heart of Mary Church Kalena Agrahara
The Society of St Vincent de Paul conference was started by Bro Francis Victor in 2009 under the leadership of Bro Alaban Peter D'Souza and it works accordingly to the basic principles of the SSVP.
Our church SSVP conference is affiliated to Bangalore central council (Diocesan Council). We have 18 Vincentians at present and every Sunday the SSVP meeting is conducted in the Parish.
SSVP provides service to the financially challenged families in our surrounding areas in the form of offering basic food necessities, medical assistance, educational support to the less fortunate.
We also visit the families that need our help, hospitals and old age homes to understand their needs and assist them.
Activities accomplished by SSVP during the year 2019
We have 12 adopted families/members for whom we provide Groceries & Medicines.
In the month of June, we handed educational scholarships for 54 poor students.
1. Medical camps in the month of January 2019. More than 100 people benefited from it.
2. Lenten Retreat conducted in March 2019 as an annual spiritual Retreat in English which involved 160 members as participants.
3. Blood donation camp was organized in April 2019 in collaboration with KIDWAI Hospital and 54 units of blood was collected.
4. Dental check-up Camp was organized in September 2019 in collaboration with Tooth Pix Global Hospital. More than 100 adults and children benefited from it, and they were also provided with dental-care training sessions.
5. Festival general meeting was conducted under the Area council Koramangala in our Parish in the month of September and 7 neighbouring church's SSVP members attended this event. During this meeting, we exchanged and shared our experiences, new ideas, common problems and challenges faced by the SSVP members of different parishes.
6. Christmas celebration with the poor families of the parish and distributed ration & bed sheets for the 18 adopted families.
7. The SSVP accounts, which holds the donor's money, were audited by higher Councils & Chartered Accountant.
We would like to place on records the valuable support given by our Parish Priest Fr Arun Kumar SJ for his guidance. We also thank our donors and well-wishers who continue to bestow their generosity and support to the society. We are grateful to the adopted families and those assisted by the conference in reminding us about our vocation.
- Victor Francis