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Society of St. Vincent de Paul Virtues

Who We Are

March 07, 2024

Did you know that a powerful set of virtues root the work you do for neighbors in need?

Gentleness, Selflessness, Simplicity, Humility and Zeal are our guiding principles. These virtues impact every aspect of our organization from our thrift stores and volunteers to our home visits and charitable programs. Your compassion is essential too. In your kindness you have alleviated our neighbors’ suffering and upheld their dignity.

Take a look at the impact of your support (October 1st, 2022 – September 30th, 2023)…


Compassionate help that provides stability

Our gentleness is expressed through a friendly assurance and invincible goodwill, which mean kindness, sweetness, and patience in our relationships with others.*

Because of you, St. Vincent de Paul Charitable Pharmacy staff go the extra mile for adults unable to afford their prescription medications. The gentle care they provide includes taking time to organize medications, check a blood sugar level, and answer patients’ questions. As a community pharmacy, staff have the unique opportunity to spend quality time with patients to make sure they understand their medications. With help from pharmacy and nursing student volunteers, the pharmacy is also an incubator for future medical professionals who are passionate about helping underserved communities. A recent survey showed that 74% of Spanish-speaking patients responded “strongly agree” or “agree” when asked if they felt respected when visiting the pharmacy.

Your gentle care for single adult families experiencing the trauma of homelessness is remarkable. On any given evening, between 70 and 100 Dane County families are homeless. These adults and children living in shelters, outdoors or in their cars are more likely to face hunger, poor hygiene and delayed early-childhood development. Through the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Program, single parents and their children have the support they need to stabilize in permanent housing.


12 single-adult families are currently receiving ongoing case management support to prevent a recurrence of homelessness, heal from trauma, and set goals for their future.


Thanks to you, no one needing help has been turned away

Dying to our ego with a life of self-sacrifice; members share their time, their possessions, their talents and themselves in a spirit of generosity.*

Every week, hundreds of caring volunteers sort, pack and deliver food to families struggling to make ends meet. These faithful souls remove the one damaged orange from a donated bag and repackage it, check expiration dates, and move hundreds of pounds of milk, dairy, and meat between the food warehouse, into shopping carts, and into cars.

Your selfless gifts of time and talent means that no one needing food was turned away from the pantry this year despite escalating need. Access to quality food means people have money to pay for gas, rent and utilities – bills that have no other social support.


2,204 families with transportation barriers received food through DoorDash delivery.

5,336 families choose culturally-appropriate and dietary-friendly food through the Pantry2Home online system.


Neighbors receive basic essentials for their day

Simplicity is expressing ourselves honestly, with frankness, integrity, and genuineness.*

Simplicity is central to how you help neighbors in need through St. Vincent de Paul — Madison. Thanks to you, neighbors receive essentials of food, diapers, medicine, clothing and furniture. These basic needs are offered simply with the intention that neighbors can access them without complicated processes or unnecessary questions. Care is provided without regard to a neighbor’s sexuality, race or legal status.

Each day, about ten adults or children receive clothing at no cost to them from St. Vinny’s Thrift Stores. Sometimes families have lost all of their possessions in a fire and need clothing. In other cases, young kids wear through clothing and need bigger sizes faster than what a family can save for. Your generous material and financial support means we’re able to donate goods directly from our stores to people in need. Along with providing a reliable thrift experience for shoppers (we know that’s many of you!), our stores are visible signs of our collective work in our community and commitment to helping our neighbors in need.


Your generosity provided clothing to 3,607 adults and children.



Home visitors offer a personal connection to struggling neighbors

Humility can be understood as humbleness, “the foundation of all the other virtues” or “the knowledge of truth.”*

In a spirit of humble generosity, St. Vincent de Paul Members offer their very selves to neighbors in need. Volunteer home visitors respond to calls for help by meeting with neighbors in their homes. They offer a listening ear and encouragement to neighbors; they problem solve and provide information on community resources. Many times, they find that people just need someone to talk with to remember that they are not alone. Often families moving into new apartments lack beds, furniture, pots, pans, dishes and utensils. Home visitors direct neighbors to St. Vinny’s Thrift Stores where they can redeem clothing and furniture vouchers giving dignity, warmth, comfort and hope for brighter days ahead.

Home visitors help where they can. If a neighbor’s needs are more sizable, they may refer them to our Sr. Rosalie Fund for one-time financial assistance. For example, a car repair or unexpected medical bill may threaten a neighbor’s ability to pay rent. The Sr. Rosalie Fund is reserved for these types of bills that are one-time emergencies. Your support of time, talent, and treasure fuels the work of home visitors. The goods you donate generate income, your volunteer hours, and your financial gifts all come together to help our neighbors in need.


54 families received one-time financial help through the Sr. Rosalie Fund.

Vincentian member volunteers conducted 1,135 person-to-person home visits.


Being available and present when neighbors call

Zeal, which St. Vincent de Paul once described as “the soul of all the virtues,” is a passion for the full flourishing and eternal happiness of every person.*

Your support of our neighbors in need through St. Vincent de Paul — Madison kindles our collective zeal to actively alleviate suffering. You are part of a large team of people, businesses and foundations working to help our neighbors in need. Many of you have been supporters of neighbors in need for years and decades – thank you! Some of you are new in joining us to help our neighbors in need – welcome!

It’s hard to be poor. It’s hard to not know where your next meal will come from or not have proper clothing during winter. With you, so many people in our community have someone to turn to for help. Our neighbors’ resilience is strengthened when they walk through challenges with someone by their side.

2,494 individual, business, and foundations gave support.

$3,860,435 received in financial contributions.


None of this would be possible without you. Thank you for your generosity. Will you continue to kindle our zeal so that every person can fully flourish? Please give now: /donate/.


*The Vincentian Virtues, National Council of the United States Society of St. Vincent de Paul,

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