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A quiet force for good

For more than a century, St. Vincent de Paul Society has served the greatest in need.

A young mother and her three children recently moved into the housing development on Bunker Hill Street. Her four year-old was shocked by the change of scenery. Their new apartment had two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a living room. Their last home was a shelter. They were happy to find a home but faced a serious problem: they didn’t own a single piece of furniture, not even a mattress, and lacked the money to buy any. This is one of the many scenarios that the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, a quiet force for good in our community for 138 years, addresses in their work among the poor.

Saint Vincent de Paul built a network of missions and confraternities for those in need beginning in the 1600s. His foundation for a global charity system now operates in 142 countries. In America, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul comes to the aid of millions of people. Vincentians hail from all walks of life and work for a noble purpose: in addressing the needs of the poor both spiritually and materially, they see the face of Christ.

Father John Williams brought the Conference of St. Vincent de Paul to Boston in 1861. The Society flourished over the city when Fr. Williams became bishop. Charlestown had the benefit of three conferences, one for every church. Each group was operated by dedicated laypersons and relied upon the donations of parishioners. St. Mary’s Conference—which runs in our parish today—began in 1876 under the auspices of Msgr. McMahon. Through the donations received they were able to supply shoes for children and offer food to the unemployed.

Vincentians respond to a variety of issues in Charlestown every week. Some people need help with rent, utilities, and furniture. Society members engage in home visits to listen to their stories, determine their living situation and assist in whatever way they can.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society also has a furniture warehouse in Stoughton that is supplied by donations from nearby parishes. Financial donations from our parishioners allow our local Conference to purchase needed items and have them delivered to local residents. Without donations to the Society, this assistance would not be possible.

At times, our Social Ministry Director, Tom MacDonald, accompanies a Vincentian on a home visit. This enables the client family to connect with our Parish’s emergency food pantry, Harvest on Vine. The residents are also informed about Masses and programs offered at our Parish.

St. Mary–St. Catherine of Siena Parish has an active Conference, which has been expertly run by Bob Rooney for the past 30 years. The members of the Conference are Bob Rooney, president; Tom MacDonald, vice president; Buddy Murphy, treasurer; and Patty Pesaturo, secretary. In order for the conference to remain a viable source of support for those in need in our Charlestown community, contributions are needed, as well as committed men and women to continue the Catholic tradition of person-to-person assistance. If you would like to offer your support to bolster the membership of St. Vincent de Paul, please call (617) 242-4664.

Please prayerfully consider making a donation in one of our StVdP collection boxes found in back of Church, or sending a donation to our Parish Center at 46 Winthrop Street. If you are interested in donating furniture, please contact the StVdP Processing Center at (781) 341-4455.