This page contains information on Conferences within the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in the United States. All information comes from Chapter 5 of the 2002 version of the Manual of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in the United States.
Vincentians regard the Conference as the paramount unit of SVdP life. It is at this grass-roots level that the great majority of Vincentians find themselves engaged in the person-to-person service of those in need. It is the environment in which members develop and nurture a common spiritual life, where they grow in their closeness to the Lord through their encounters with him in the needy. The fundamental Vincentian action is their involvement together with persons and families in need.
For most Vincentians, this person-to-person work has been associated with a Conference operating within a Catholic parish. It is the natural nesting place for faith-motivated Christians who wish to band together on a journey with the poor. It is the structure wherein their faith is nourished and renewed, a natural gathering of people similarly motivated. Yet the richness of this Christian experience is not confining or limiting, so Conferences do spring up in other settings, such as at high schools and universities, and shelters, and so forth. The Society's Rule allows for great diversity in the formation of Conferences, including around people of similar professions or cultural interests.