Left to Right: Kate Scholl, Peter Gormly, Leo Tucker, Joy Bowen and Greg Ryan.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me…”

The St Vincent de Paul Society, as a lay Catholic organisation, aspires to live this gospel message from Matthew each day. We continue the good works started by Frederic Ozanam in the 1830s, and Charles O’Neill in the 1880s. We are guided by our Christian gospel values and the inspiration of our patron St Vincent de Paul. Our good works are based on an enriching heritage of living the Christian faith in action and service of others and advocating for a more just and compassionate society.

During the past year, the Mission and Spirituality team have played an important role in supporting and developing this culture of compassion, spirituality and support within the Society.

The Mission team have worked collaboratively with Central Councils and Conference Presidents, Regional Directors, managers and leaders across the Society to enable new models of pastoral care and mission engagement to serve those in need.

The team facilitated a forum with Professor David Tacey in sharing thoughts on Indigenous spirituality, a forum on the legacy of Frederic Ozanam earlier in the year, and also hosted pastoral care forums and formation online for Spiritual Advisers. Where possible, the team assisted with Commissioning Masses, festival gatherings, memorial services for staff, covid debriefing and pastoral support.

There were numerous blessings of Society Housing projects including Penrith, Cardiff, Katoomba and Merrylands with Bishops Wright, Long and Brady. The team worked on a Walking Retreat through the streets of Sydney for the State Council and Board highlighting points of historical reflections of the good works of the Society.

The team continued to supervise the provision of a pastoral placement for seminarians and a time of sabbatical for Fr Danny Meagher at the Matthew Talbot and continues to support the establishment of the new Matthew Talbot conference. Members of the team were involved in activities outside the Society in Diocesan Pastoral Council in Parramatta Diocese, “Alive in the Spirit” Conference and as a member of the Human Research Ethics Committee for Western Sydney University.


Pope Francis in his recent book “Let us Dream” expresses beautifully two principles of Catholic Social Teaching, speaking of solidarity and subsidiarity.

“Solidarity acknowledges our interconnectedness: we are creatures in relationship, with duties towards each other, and all are called to participate in society. That means welcoming the stranger, forgiving debts, giving a home to the disabled, and allowing other people’s dreams and hopes for a better life to become our own. But subsidiarity ensures that we do not distort the idea of solidarity, which involves recognising and respecting the autonomy of others as subjects of their own destiny.”

Finally he states that, “the poor are not the objects of our good intentions but the subjects of change…This calls for the kind of reflection and prayer known as discernment of the spirits…ideas are debated, but reality is discerned”

Much food for our thoughts in compassionate care and advocating for a just and compassionate society for the future.