The Great Development of the Church
On 24th July 1834, Frederic Ozanam revealed his wish that every like-minded person enthusiastic about charity would come together and that a global organization be established to offer help to the less privileged. By the end of 1834, the organization had developed tremendously and now comprised of more than a hundred members, and Ozanam’s dreams were beginning to become visualized. Owing to the tremendous success and growth, it was now necessary to divide the organization. The organization was split into two sections on 24th January 1835 with Ozanam as vice president of one of the groups. Soon after, the increase in regions started. As students completed their studies and left Paris, they began establishing conferences. First, in Nimes on 10th February 1835, then in Lyon on 16th August 1836, followed by Rennes, Nantes, and many others. In 1836, it became necessary to form a Council for managing the conferences. The council proved to be useful and still exists today under the name “General Council.”
After the expansion of regions took place, the expansion of borders began. The first expansion outside France took place in 1842 in Rome, and then in 1843, it extended to Belgium, Scotland, and Ireland. Fr. Ignatius Spencer, a Catholic from London, had learned of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul from his visits to Paris. In 1842, Parisian Monsieur, who would later become president, visited London and convinced Fr. Spencer to write about the Society of St. Vincent De Paul in the Catholic Magazine. In January 1844, England’s first convention was established by M. Pagliano, a recent Catholic convert and a group of 13 like-minded people. Some of their early endeavors included the establishment of the Catholic Shoe Brigade, providing youthful men with employment, and the establishment of the first home of “The Rescue Society.”
In 1845, the Society expanded to the United States. Fr. John Timon had learned of the Society during his visit to Paris with his Vincentian superiors and had carried copies of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul rules from Dublin. On 16th November 1845, Fr. Timon was invited to preach during the sanctification of the new St Vincent de Paul on South 8th Street by Bishop Peter Richard Kendrick. In his sermon, Fr. Timon talked about Society, and some leading laymen who were present during the sermon were moved by the idea and held a Conference on 20th November 1845. The Organizational meeting included Judge Bryan Mulanphy as chair, Ambrose Heim as a spiritual advisor, and Dr. Moses Linton.