Vincentians Give Their Lives for the Sake of Many

Vincentians Give Their Lives for the Sake of Many 1000 1000 St. Vincent de Paul Detroit

What an important time this is! Many Conferences and Councils at all levels in the Society are electing new Presidents as servant leaders for the next three years or the renewal of three years.

Our Rule specifies many qualities for us who are trying to follow Jesus’ example in the many roles of serving Him in our neighbors-in-need. And, the Rule has special information for those who are called to serve as “President” of the Council or a Conference.

Rule 3.11:  Following Christ’s example, the Presidents at all levels of the Society endeavor to be servant leaders. They provide an encouraging atmosphere in which the talents, capacities and spiritual charism of the members are identified, developed and put to the service of the poor and the society of St. Vincent de Paul. The President of the Conference or Council will have special responsibility for promoting Vincentian spirituality.

Further, the Rule 3.12 states: It is essential that the Society continually promote the formation and training of its members and officers…to deepen their knowledge of the Society, and their spirituality, and to improve the sensitivity, quality and efficiency of their service to the poor…

So, if we’re following Jesus, we want to remember what Jesus says about servant leadership:

Whoever would be first among you must be the slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mk. 10:44-45

Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, my servant also will be. Jn. 12:26

If I, the Master, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow…you also should do. Jn. 13:14-15

Let us reflect and pray for those who will choose the person(s) who will best help the Society be effective and holy servant leaders.

Vincentian friends, let us pray:

Come Holy Spirit be with each of us and with our Councils and Conferences as we select persons who will serve us and help us live our Vincentian mission and vocation with great selfless love and reconciled spirits. Holy Spirit, your power and presence in us can do more than what we can ask or imagine. For this, we thank and praise you!  Amen.

With you in prayer,
Sister Noreen Ellison, SC
Associate Spiritual Advisor

Emergency Food & Shelter Program (EFSP) – July 2019

Emergency Food & Shelter Program (EFSP) – July 2019 1000 1000 St. Vincent de Paul Detroit

Emergency Food & Shelter Program (EFSP) previously known as FEMA

As I reported last month we have cleared compliance in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb jurisdictions however we have not yet received the second half of the Phase 35 funds.  When funding is received I will begin processing reimbursements.  Phase 35 ended May 31 and Phase 36 began June 1.  Please contact Sharon Lynch for further information on guidelines and required documentation: 313.393.2692 or slynch@svdpdetroit.org

Emergency Food & Shelter Program (EFSP) previously known as FEMA

Emergency Food & Shelter Program (EFSP) previously known as FEMA 1000 1000 St. Vincent de Paul Detroit

Good news! We have finally been notified that we have cleared compliance for Phases 33 and 34 in the Wayne, Oakland and Macomb jurisdictions so the second half of the funding for Phase 35 should be arriving soon. I expect Detroit jurisdiction will not be far behind. When funding is received I will begin processing reimbursements. Phase 35 ends May 31 and Phase 36 will begin June 1. Please contact Sharon Lynch for further information on guidelines and required documentation: 313.393.2692 or slynch@svdpdetroit.org

Time for R & R: Reflection and Renewal

Time for R & R: Reflection and Renewal 1000 1000 St. Vincent de Paul Detroit

This month we celebrate a wonderful set of solemn feast days, and they have lots to teach us about living our vocations as Vincentians. On June 9 we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives. That Spirit of Love between God the Father and the Beloved Son came down and literally shook the bewildered apostles and disciples and set them on fire with the energy of love that they lacked to teach and live the good news. And then, we have the feast of Corpus Christi celebrating the gift that Jesus is always with us as the Bread of Life, giving us strength and hope and love!

After the crucifixion and even after having experienced the risen Jesus, the apostles went back to their familiar ways, to life as they knew. They returned to what was familiar, even fishing. It wasn’t until the Apostles and other disciples of Jesus, along with Mary, gathered to celebrate the traditional Jewish Feast of Weeks, in English and as Pentecost in Greek that the wind and fire of God’s love transformed and sent them!

So, what about us? Even in the ways we meet together in our Conference, or the works that we do, don’t we, too, go back to the way we’ve always done it? Where’s the growth in that? Let’s plan to have Pentecost among us. What needs to be renewed? Is it time to renew and refresh our Conferences, Committees, or just the special role we have as a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society? Some Conferences will elect new leadership and commission new members. Others may be appointed to new roles of support, even as Spiritual Advisors. Make this a time of renewal and growth in holiness, friendship and service!

Whatever we need to unleash the gospel in word and deed as Vincentians, let’s take time to pray that a new Pentecost may happen within us. The gifts, fruits and virtues that will make us better servants of the gospel are many. Some of the ones identified in our Vincentian documents are humility, simplicity, charity, zeal, self-sacrifice, gentleness. Others you know from John’s gospel 20:19-23 and in the Acts of the Apostles 2: 3 ff … gifts such as faithfulness, generosity, joy, patience, and more.

I challenge myself and each of you to reflect and pray with an open, honest heart for the gift that you most need right now. Then, ask the Holy Spirit to help you accept that gift and give that gift to others.

A good Conference reflection could include the same material and after some reflection time, it will be worthwhile to name the gift you most want to develop to help your Conference be better at loving and serving. How will that gift be evident? Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful Vincentians!

With you in prayer,
Sister Noreen Ellison, SC
Associate Spiritual Advisor

Vincentians in Action

Vincentians in Action 1000 1000 St. Vincent de Paul Detroit

As you know, SVdP Detroit believes the person to person contact through home visits is the core work of our volunteer Vincentians and allows us to best serve our neighbors in need. A communication will soon be emailed to all conference presidents asking for regular submissions of good news/success stories we can share that demonstrates how our Vincentians are fulfilling our mission each day.  We’re specifically interested in focusing on the home visit and follow up assistance, however any examples of Vincentians at work are welcome!

See the Possible

See the Possible 661 449 St. Vincent de Paul Detroit

For over 130 years, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Detroit has heard and responded to the cries of those we serve, regardless of creed, ethnic or social background or gender. All are welcome at our door.

Through our unique home visits, we are privileged to see our neighbors in need differently, with our heart, and share the promise of a better tomorrow.

see the possible

No matter who we are or where we come from everyone deserves an opportunity to better their future. Through this campaign, we want all of our audiences to feel an attachment that they too can “see the possible.” Those we serve will no longer feel lost or forgotten, we can help them feel like they do have promise and a better future. Our sponsors can envision their partnership with us as truly enriching the lives of those in our community. Our board, leadership and staff can also imagine the possibilities of continuing our work in even more impactful and meaningful ways.

June 2018 Update

June 2018 Update 1000 1000 St. Vincent de Paul Detroit

Dear Fellow Vincentians

On May 12th, more than 270 Vincentians gathered for our annual Awards Banquet to recognize and honor numerous volunteers in our ranks for their extraordinary service to those in need. During the Mass that preceded it, Fr. John Riccardo performed a commissioning ceremony that officially welcomed me to the ranks of the Vincentians. In that regard, I deeply appreciate your prayers as I embrace the challenges that each day brings. Overall, our Awards Banquet was a wonderful celebration made possible by an overall team effort. What was especially touching about the evening was that none of the recipients we honored served others so that they could receive an award. Their decision to serve arose from a genuine interest in helping. Indeed, every person who attended our banquet was an honored guest for their contributions to our mission, the spirit of our Vincentian community, and for their sustained commitment to volunteerism. Collectively, the Society served over 300,000 people in need throughout southeast Michigan last year alone. What an incredible team effort! Thank you, All!

Our Society has an extraordinary sense of community. It traces back to Blessed Frederic Ozanam. Pope John Paul II referred to him as a gift to our Church: “We must thank God for the present he has made to the Church, in the person of Ozanam. One never ceases to wonder at the amount of work he was able to undertake for the Church, for the community, for the poor.” (27 April 1983). Our Vincentian values are clear: Spirituality, Friendship, and Service. At the end of the day, our mission must matter most. When we choose to allow our inspirational mission to guide us to helping those in need, we become transformed into what our Holy Father recently described as “saints next door.” Hearty congratulations to all who were recognized on May 12th and for all who contributed to advancing our mission in some meaningful way.

In 1848, Blessed Frederic Ozanam taught that God hears the cry of the Poor and responds by moving good people to act out of genuine charity and justice to help their neighbors. He urged people to make equality and human dignity as operative as possible, and to make charity accomplish what justice alone cannot do. In 2018, while remaining entirely consistent with Frederic Ozanam’s teachings, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (U.S..A.) revised its mission statement. It provides that our Society is:

“A network of friends, inspired by the gospel values, growing in holiness and building a more just world through personal relationships with and service to people in need.”

It is both humbling and motivational to know that our collective efforts to help those in need are part of an unbroken chain of service that dates back hundreds of years. How truly inspirational.

By choosing to help those in need, we have forged a strong Vincentian community. Noted Catholic theologian, Richard Rohr, had this to say about community. “Living in community means living in such a way that others can access me and that I can get “out of myself” and serve the lives of others. Community is a world where brotherliness and sisterliness are possible. By community, I don’t mean primarily a special kind of structure, but a network of relationships. On the whole, we live in a society that’s built not on community and cooperation but on individuality, greed, and competition – . . . “ Our Society offers a community where brotherliness and sisterliness are possible. Indeed, according to Pope Francis, “a community that cherishes the little details of love, whose members care for one another and create an open and evangelizing environment, is a place where the risen Lord is present.”

Volunteerism is a fundamental expression of caring for another. It involves one’s decision to help others in some meaningful way. At its core, volunteer work is critical to individual and community well-being. It promotes values like solidarity, mutual trust, and a sense of belonging. These are feelings that contribute significantly to one’s quality of life. Whereas mainstream economics fosters values of self-interest and competition to achieve maximum satisfaction, compassion and cooperation are both core values of volunteerism. Referencing Fr. Rohr’s comments, once again, “individuality, greed, and competition” should play no role in our collective, team effort to help those in need. Values such as solidarity, mutual trust, and community have been on display at each Vincentian District meeting I have attended. Witnessing such group behavior renews my spirit. Thank you to all in our ranks who choose to subordinate their personal interests in favor of our inspirational Vincentian mission. It is our mission that matters.

I also share two important events. First, I am delighted to advise that Keith Koppmeier has joined our team as our Society’s new Director of Development. Among other things, Keith is busily preparing a comprehensive development plan, exploring possible impact investing opportunities, pursuing a proactive action plan aimed at generating development funds as quickly as reasonably possible, and overseeing Golf Outing preparations. If you know of good prospects or funding opportunities that our Society should pursue for support of our mission, please do not hesitate to reach out to Keith, kkoppmeier@svdpdetroit.org.

Secondly, on June 18th, we will host our 27th “Red” Martin & Msgr. Gerald Martin Annual Golf Outing. As you know, all proceeds from this event go to support our Camp Ozanam program. Since 1923, (i.e. 95 years), our Council and Conferences have sent more than 175,000 deserving girls and boys free of charge to them to beautiful Camp Ozanam on Lake Huron. Free transportation is provided from Detroit. What a remarkable, collective effort! Even if you cannot participate in our golf outing, anything that you can donate to this most worthwhile, near century-long, effort will be most appreciated. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

In closing, I extend heartfelt appreciation to the warm welcome I received at each of the District meetings I have attended. In some respects, each District is unique. But a commonality that each shares is a steadfast commitment to our Vincentian mission. A common message that I have shared with each District is my intent and determination to build a stronger, more collaborative bridge between Central Office and each District and Conference. Let our shared commitment to our mission be the bond that continually brings us closer and more in harmony as we serve all those in need. God bless.

In Blessed Frederic Ozanam’s and Blessed Rosalie Rendu’s name,


Journey to Housing Presents “An Evening of Hearts III”

Journey to Housing Presents “An Evening of Hearts III” 150 150 St. Vincent de Paul Detroit

Tickets are now on sale for Journey to Housing‘s 3rd annual Evening of Hearts Fund-raiser supporting homeless families.  This year’s event will be even more exciting than last with an opportunity to dance to the music of Steve King and the Dittilies!


ServWare Database for Conferences

ServWare Database for Conferences 150 150 St. Vincent de Paul Detroit

ServWare Database Information – 
ServWare is a web-based application designed to support charitable conferences by providing a secure, easily accessible location for conference members to collaborate on charitable activities.
ServWare Training Video
ServWare Training Video – Abbreviated 
ServWare Demo Video
ServWare Website 
ServWare Key Features
Servware Conference Sign-Up
What is ServWare video – https://youtu.be/OU3yZcniRbg
ServWare Conference Capability Video – https://youtu.be/5eaz8d9KDB0
YouTube Training Videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOMSC8bCFKR0Wmd4NXs82nC7B3-muvJV8

Urgent Message

Urgent Message 150 150 St. Vincent de Paul Detroit


Dear Friends,

In times of real need, you’ve been one of our most loyal and generous supporters. You’ve been a true friend to the poorest and most vulnerable in our community…

Today, I’m turning to you with confidence, hopeful that you’ll help us through a difficult moment. Please, will you?

We are experiencing a serious shortfall of supplies at food pantries where we help. We’ve been assisting more people than ever with hot meals and food to take home, but in the middle of summer, needs grow and our resources get depleted.

Keeping up this summer has been a difficult challenge and we must restock our shelves.  Some of the families turning to us really don’t know where their next meal is coming from. If their utilities will be shut off. If they’ll have a roof overhead…

We all have worries, I know, but these families are literally on the edge. I wish you could meet just one. I know your heart would be moved and you’d take immediate action if you met someone like Dan*…

Dan, a veteran who bravely served our country, was struggling to provide his family with the basics since he’d been laid off.

He explained that the family’s gas and lights had been turned off because they couldn’t afford to pay the bills.

Dan did odd jobs to help make ends meet, but times had gotten even tougher since his wife, Sharla, had caught pneumonia and been hospitalized. More medical bills were the last thing they needed…

Things got so tight that they feared losing their small house.

When Dan came to St. Vincent de Paul for help, he seemed weak and was obviously in distress. We learned that in a desperate effort to make their house payment, he had not been eating enough… he’d been skipping meals.

Dan was so, so relieved to find out that we could help. By providing Dan and his family not only with food but with understanding and genuine concern in a dark moment, we were able to share hope.

All this is YOUR compassion at work.

But, as I mentioned above, this has been a particularly difficult summer. Our resources have been stretched to the limit and beyond.

Will you think of families in our community who are coming to us on the verge of despair? Will you help us to help them so they don’t have to skip meals or take other desperate measures to make it through?

My greatest concern now is keeping up with requests for help. God bless you for caring – and for acting – today.


Therese Frye
Archdiocesan Council Board of Trustees