On a ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Ireland to the United States in the fall of 1845, a Vincentian priest, John Timon, carried with him a copy of the Rule of the Society of St Vincent de Paul. Having met members of this young Catholic lay organization during his travels, he was so impressed with their works and zeal that he wished to share this book with friends back home in St. Louis.
Within weeks of his return, a group of some of the most prominent men in the frontier city of St Louis gathered at the church now known as the Old Cathedral, and held the first meeting of the Society of St Vincent de Paul in the United States on November 20, 1845.
In celebration of the 175th Anniversary of this event, the National Council has published a book, and commissioned a commemorative coin.
Meticulously researched by Raymond Sickinger, Professor Emeritus of History at Providence College, this book includes stories of key people, places, and events in the growth and development of the Society in the United States.
Sickinger, also a biographer of Frédéric Ozanam, tells us about Thomas Mulry, who was instrumental in drawing together the seven Superior Councils into a single National Council, and was elected its first president. His life was a model of Christian charity, and of lay Catholic devotion to inspire us.
From Thomas Mulry through Ralph Middlecamp, the book shares insights about all of our National Council Presidents, their priorities, and the accomplishments of the National Council under their leadership.
The book’s title is taken from another anniversary of the Society, its 100th, when our leadership assessed our history to that point, finding the Society to be ”a medallion in the mosaic of Vincentian works.”
Take some time to be inspired by reading these stories, and add the book and coin to your shelf in celebration of these remarkable 175 years, and in dedication to building the next 175!