Overview of some major branches of the Vincentian Family
The Confraternities of Charity, today the AIC: St. Vincent founded the Association of Charity in 1617 in Châtillon. The story of this foundation is very well known. Since its origins its purpose is clearly seen: “To honor Our Lord Jesus Christ, and his holy Mother and to assist the sick poor … corporally and spiritually.” In the United States this group is known more popularly as the Ladies of Charity USA.
The Congregation of the Mission or the Vincentian Missionaries: St. Vincent founded the CM in 1625. He founded it to evangelize the poor through words and works, especially the poor people of the countryside through missions to the people and formation of the clergy. Its motto is “He has sent me to evangelize the poor.”
The Company of the Daughters of Charity: St. Vincent and St. Louise founded the Company of the Daughters of Charity in 1633 to “be servants of the poor and that is to be servants of Jesus Christ” and to serve the poor corporally and spiritually.” Their motto is: “The charity of Jesus Christ impels us.”
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul: In 1833 in Paris, Frederick Ozanam, along with other University friends, founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Its purpose was “following the Vincentian tradition, to help our neighbor, those who suffer and the abandoned, just as Jesus Christ would do.”
Vincentian Marian Youth: This came about in 1847 under the influence of the apparitions of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal to St. Catherine Labouré. Its purpose: “To form members to live a solid faith following Jesus Christ the evangelizer of the poor. To live and pray like Mary, with simplicity and humility, taking on the spirituality of the Magnificat. To arouse, animate and sustain the missionary spirit of the association, especially through missionary experiences to those who are poorest and to youth.”
The Miraculous Medal Association: This association also came into existence within the Vincentian Family from the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin to St. Catherine Labouré. Honoring Mary in the mystery of the Immaculate Conception as the model of the Christian life, “its goal is to venerate Mary conceived without sin, the sanctification of its members, holistic formation in the Christian life and the apostolate of charity, especially to the most abandoned (families and the poor in general). Through its symbol and power, Mary's holy medal offers a model and an aid to attain these goals.”
Lay Vincentian Missionaries: This association came about from the heart of the Vincentian Family in 1999. Its goal: “To foster, facilitate, sustain and coordinate the mission.
Sr. Betty Ann McNeill, DC has done the most extensive study of the extended "Vincentian Family".
The Family Tree Project identified 268 societies of apostolic life and institutes of consecrated life that included 239 institutes, twenty-one lay associations, and eight Anglican congregations, that met at least one criterion of the Family Tree Project.