A fundamental principle that was agreed early in the life of the Society, at the time of the founding of a conference in Lyons, France, was that the primary goal of the Society was not charity, but the spiritual growth of the members of the Society.
While this may appear to be putting into second place the serving our neighbours in need, the reasoning is that unless the spirituality of the Society's members is cared for there will no ability for them to be self-sacrificing in their love of their neighbour.
When that happens, charity, or love, becomes purely the giving of welfare.
For that reason the Society nurtures the spiritual life of its members, with the appointment of spiritual advisors at all levels, prayers and reflections at meetings and spiritual exercises at festival meetings.
The Society is also involved, in partnership with other agencies, in attempting to right the injustices that exist in our communities, injustices that cause need and suffering among our neighbours.
Bibliography for Spiritual Life in the 21st Century:
Authors of the 21st century of greatest impact in historical order:
- Ruth Burrows OCD - A Carmelite on mystical prayer most famous for the book Guidelines on Mystic Prayer reprinted in 2007 by Burns and Oats.
- Thomas Merton - A Trappist or Cistercian spirituality (available also at Southern Star Abbey in Kopua Southern Hawkes Bay). His most famous book is Seven Story Mountain pub 1948; still available from Mariner Books.
- Henri Nouwen - A Benedictine most famous for The Wounded Healer still available from random House 1979 pub.
- Ronald Rolheiser.
NB: The above books are available directly on line or via Pleroma Trust Otane Hawkes Bay at www.pleroma.org.nz
Websites for ongoing reference and inspiration: these people are also prolific authors on the spiritual life in the 21st century:
- Richard Rohr a Franciscan spirituality author at www.cac.org and for men in particular at www.malespirituality.org
- Joan Chittister a Benedictine spiritual author at www.benetvision.org
- Danial O’Leary, a UK Diocesan Priest and spiritual author at www.djoleary.com
- Jesuit Spirituality Website on www.ignationspirituality.com
In order to help needy families, the Society of St Vincent de Paul needs help itself.
There is an equation of three parts involved with helping people — the people who need help, the people to do the helping and the materials needed to help them.
There is always a need for people to do the helping and for the materials and money needed to do the work.
Browse this page to learn how you can help in such ways as:
- Making Donations
- Becoming a member
- Donating goods
- Volunteering as a helper
- Organising a fund-raising project
- Leaving the Society a bequest
If you need help, or if you know someone who needs help, use the map on this page to make contact with the branch of the Society nearest to you.
The method of supplying help to people and families in need varies in different parts of the country, but generally members will visit you at your own place and discuss your needs. Some bigger areas may instead ask you to come to a Vincentian centre for this. Others may ask you to leave a message on an answerphone and you will be contacted.
No matter what your need is, as long as it is genuine the Society will attempt to assist you.
"No form of help is foreign to the Society. This includes any form of help that alleviates suffering or deprivation and promotes human dignity and personal integrity in all their dimensions."
Rule 1.3 of the Society
Many of the ways the Society is called on to help people require money to be spent.
The main way the Society raises money for its work is through the more than 50 shops and centres around New Zealand that sell a variety of goods at very reasonable prices.
Use this page to learn where your nearest shop is, what services you can expect there, how you can help by donating goods and perhaps how you can volunteer your services.
Click on your region below:
The Society of St Vincent de Paul has a long and proud history of helping people in need in New Zealand.
In the almost 150 years since the Society has been in New Zealand it has in practical ways helped many thousands of people, easing their needs of many types.
Browse this page to learn how the Society came into being, how it came to New Zealand, how it operates today, and above all, why it does the work it does.
From the 2017 Annual General Meeting
- Presidents Annual Report
- Keynote Speech from Fr Jim Consedine
- SVDP The Past - Dr Stephen Utick
- SVDP The Present - Terry Jordan
- SVDP The Past - Dr Stephen Utick
- Speech from Dr Steve Utick
- SVDP Strategic Plan
- 2017-2020 Strategic Plan 1-4
- International Twinning Commission Update
- Opportunity Shops Working Party Review - 2017 AGM