The Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) was started in 1833 by a group of college students and named after a priest known for his service to the poor. It is fitting then, that since the late 1930’s, the Society has been present at St. Paul’s Catholic Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul focuses on three core elements in its mission: spirituality, service and friendship. Members grow in their faith through serving others in friendship with each other.
The students of St. Paul’s conference of SVdP serve at a homeless shelter, support the local SVdP food pantry, raise funds to provide others with basic necessities, pray together, contribute to natural disaster relief, plan social event to enjoy each other’s company and are exploring ways to minister to other UW students.
Last December students raised $651.00 through their Advent “Be a Light” campaign to pay for backpacks to help the homeless carry their belongings during the winter season. Surplus funds went to providing and serving a meal to more than 125 people at Grace Episcopal Church.
Tom Pelham, a UW student and conference members sums it up nicely by saying, “In weaving spirituality and service, SVdP integrates two main tenets of our Catholic faith. Active participation allows us to grow closer to Christ, fellow conference members and those we serve.”