Winter 2018

The Society of St Vincent de Paul in New Zealand

The year 2017 marked the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Society of St Vincent de Paul in New Zealand. Aspects of the Society’s history have been brought to light in a new book about the establishment and development of the Society in New Zealand.

The book, by long-time Christchurch Vincentian Tim O’Sullivan, chronicles the struggles of the Society to put into practice Christian charity in order to serve the poor of colonial New Zealand.

The first conference of the Society was established in Christchurch in January 1867, when members of the Catholic parish in Barbadoes Street rallied to the call of Father Jean-Baptiste Chataigner SM to form a conference of the Society. The new Society set out to visit the poor and has been doing so ever since.

A significant feature of the history of the Society was the role of Catholic women. Although the Ladies of Charity were theoretically separate, they were still Vincentian and worked closely with the men’s conference, often being even more active in Vincentian charity. The Society in New Zealand was closely connected with the Society in Australia and delegates from both countries regularly attended each other’s meetings.

Much of the history of the Society in New Zealand has been forgotten until now and will interest all those enthusiastic about our Australasian Catholic heritage.

Copies of the book are available from the Society of St Vincent de Paul, Area Council of Christchurch; email:

Publications details:

Early history of the Society of St Vincent de Paul in New Zealand 1867–1925

Recommended retail price: $30.00
ISBN: 978-0-473-40997-5
Published: October 2017
184 pages
Includes illustrations, bibliography, footnotes and index

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