St Vincent de Paul

The story of the St Vincent de Paul Society

The beginning

The Society was founded in Milan on 23 April 1813 by Blessed Frederick Ozanam. St Vincent de Paul is the international patron Saint of the Society. The first conference in Australia was formed in 1854 by Fr Gerald Ward at St Francis Church Melbourne. (Incidentally, Fr Ward married Ned Kelly’s parents John and Ellen at St Francis Church on the 18th November 1850)

The logo for the Society in Australia was created by Tom Bass a Sydney sculptor. It incorporates the symbol of three hands which represent:

  • The hand of Christ which blesses the cup (top hand),
  • The hand of love that offers the cup (middle hand), and
  • The hand of suffering that receives the cup (bottom hand).

You may notice that the imprint of the crucifixion nails is depicted on the top hand.


To the parishioners of SFX, the families at SFX and HT schools we would like to share with you our
Annual Report from St Vincent de Paul (SVDP) Montmorency Conference for the period 
1 May 2017 to 30 April 2018       

This is the 53rd year of the St Vincent de Paul (SVDP) conference serving our local community. As a Catholic lay organization of men and women, the Mission of SVDP is to live the gospel message by serving Christ in the poor with love, respect, justice, hope and joy, and by working to shape a more just and compassionate society especially in our local communities throughout Lower Plenty, Montmorency, Briar Hill, St Helena and Eltham North.

Our Vision is to be recognized as a caring Catholic charity offering a ‘hands up’ to people in need, alone or disadvantaged, irrespective of their religious beliefs or affiliations. We do this, on your behalf, by respecting their dignity, sharing our hope for them and encouraging them to take control of their own destiny.

We are most grateful and say a very big thank you to the SFX parishioners, our two parish primary schools - Holy Trinity (HT) and SFX and Catholic Ladies College (CLC), for your support of our appeals, craft stall, poor box and purchase of Christmas cards. We are entirely dependent on the generosity of the SFX parishioners and the school communities, for despite our advocacy, we have not been able to access any Federal, State or Council grants.

Over the past year, your conference assisted 240 adults and 211 children providing support, friendship, material assistance and advice about accessing government, health and financial services.  In addition to these visits, we also visited 44 families to give them most appreciated Christmas greetings and hampers.

Thanks to your generosity, we provided assistance to the value of $ 38,458 over the twelve months to April 2018. This assistance equates to over $100 per day 365days a year.

(Please note: All postage, telephone, travelling expenses and any other administrative expenses associated with the services we provide to local community are borne by the members themselves, as a consequence we can assure all parishioners that ALL donations remain within the Montmorency conference and go entirely to help those we assist in the district).

The need for our services has not diminished. Below is a summary of how we have provided material assistance to people in need in the Montmorency/Briar Hill/Lower Plenty/St Helena/Eltham North areas:- 

Purchased Food & Donated food from SFX & HT Schools


Furniture, small household items & clothing

$ 4,665

Electric/gas/telephone bills/other utilities of families  

$ 4,363

Clothing vouchers





$ 1,151


$ 1,695

Vehicle Maintenance




Whilst we provide material aid, a significant part of our work is assisting families by giving them a hands up rather than simply giving a hand-out by:

  • providing transport to attend medical and hospital appointments and other professional services,
  • assisting them in their search for affordable accommodation through DHS and/or Community Housing,
  • giving emotional support and compassionate assistance to people facing personal, family or social difficulties,
  • ensuring all utility concessions and other social entitlements are obtained, and
  • referring people to other agencies who may assist them with financial and  legal advice.

We also support the Young Vinnies (18 to 28 year old) conference in the area. Their work includes:

  • operating a soup kitchen through one of our 6 soup vans operated by SVDP in the metro area,
  • providing weekend recreational activities/ trips on a regular basis for children of families we assist, and
  • organizing and running holiday camps during the summer school holidays for children in need from our district. The holiday was very much enjoyed by the kids and provided a short break to their single parent mothers.

We would most welcome any persons (both Catholic and Non Catholic) who wish to help as a volunteer in any of the following capacities:

  • Our conference to assist in our work of visitation in pairs (members must never visit alone) to families in need in the local community (your privacy is guaranteed on all visits and training is provided at your convenience) or other administrative capacity within our conference.
  • The Vinnies shops especially the local one here at Briar Hill.
  •  Soup Vans that operate in metropolitan area and in one country centre.
  • The Box Hill Centre (receiving phone calls from peoples in need and directing the callers to conferences throughout the metropolitan area. The Box Hill Office is a secure Centre and the positions do not require any face to face contact with the people whom we assist),
  • Young Vinnies (16 to 25 year olds), and
  • Assisting in our Reading Program at West Heidelberg.

If you would like more information, please see any member after Mass today or drop into one of our conference meetings held in the Presbytery on the 1st and 3rd Sunday after the 8:30am Mass or leave your name at the Parish Office. (There is no obligation to join).

The conference at SFX thanks all parishioners and school families for your very generous support of our work and look forward to your continuing support especially in these difficult economic times.

Envelopes are available in the pews or at the tables in the gathering space for Parishioners who wish to use credit card facility or wish to receive receipt for tax purposes. You are welcome to take these home & return them in the following weeks through the second collection or at the parish house.

Parishioners are reminded that assistance is always promptly available to the community by contacting 1800 305 330 between 10am and 3pm weekday.

Collection of quality household goods/furniture can be arranged by calling 1800 621 349.

Office @SFX,
May 31, 2017, 7:40 PM
Office @SFX,
Jun 1, 2018, 4:55 PM