Circular Letter from Renato LIMA DE OLIVEIRA (2019)

(posted: January 31, 2019)


2019 –Year of Paul Lamache


Lord Jesus Christ be praised!

To my dear brothers and sisters, new applicants, employees of our headquarters and works, dear collaborators and volunteers, spiritual advisors, friends of Vincentians, and the International Vincentian Family.

I am very happy once more to write to you all, for the third time since I was elected 16th President General of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, all my brothers and sisters around the world, members of Vincentian Conferences, in this Circular Letter 2019, year of the 180th anniversary of the International Council General and the International Year dedicated to Paul Lamache, one of the seven founders1 of our beloved Society.

Circular Letters have been a tradition among the Presidents General since 1841, when our brother Emmanuel Joseph Bailly de Surcy wrote the first one. Since then, we have received a wealth of letters written by my predecessors, of excellent quality and which have in a way created a body of doctrine for the SSVP. I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that this Circular Letter is useful for the international Vincentian community; this is the intention of the President General who now writes these lines.

As it is fairly length, I suggest dividing this Letter into blocks or themes and read short sections of it in the meetings of the Vincentian Conferences. I would be really glad to receive your comments, criticisms and suggestions regarding the content of this Letter. Please send them to the following email address:, created to receive your messages.

I remind you that, happily, many of the themes listed in the Circular Letter 2019 were suggestions I received from brothers and sisters from Conferences, as the Circular Letter is actually reaching all Conferences, and being carefully considered, in the collaborative spirit in which we work. Thank you all for the excellent impact this document is having, not only among the active members, but also among volunteers, employees, the clergy, the Catholic press and collaborators of the Vincentian work.

I would like to ask you to include some names in your usual prayers, especially during Conference meetings. Pray for me; pray for the Vincentians who agreed to help me with the international service in the Council General; pray for the presidents and for the boards of the Superior Councils; and pray that the Vincentian leaders, as Ozanam2 said, will be holy people.

May God save us from all the difficulties and troubles of this world, and may we, in the name of the Lord, promote faith through works of charity, among ourselves first, and among those who suffer. These two dimensions of the SSVP (friendship among members and solidarity with the poor) are the signature of Vincentians, and we pray to God that we may always remain on this path, without divisions, conflicts or disputes. And may we practice together what Jesus told us: “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

I hope you all enjoy reading our Circular Letter 2019.