A new national president elect for the SVP in England and Wales has been announced. Helen O’Shea, a member of the SVP at St Joan of Arc’s Conference in Highbury, London, will take up the mantle from Adrian Abel who ends his term in November this year.
Helen said: “I am honoured and proud to have been elected to serve as the next National President of the SVP. Our charism of fighting poverty and injustice through befriending and practical help is as important today as it ever has been. I am committed to nurturing that charism and to looking at ways in which it can be extended to offer the hand of friendship and welcome to those at the margins of our society. I have been a member of the SVP for 16 years and have seen over and over again the effect of visiting and spending time with someone who feels lost, abandoned, hopeless or unwelcome. Valuing and respecting everyone is at the heart of the SVP’s work. There are many challenges to face but I will be inspired by knowing the importance of the SVP mission in what can, for many people, seem like a friendless world.”
Speaking to SVP members at June's National Meeting, Helen spoke of her aspirations for the Society moving into the future: "We must continue to work out ways to help those most in need in collaboration with the Vincentian Family. In following the teaching and works of St Vincent we need to aim towards a Society that is properly and collectively organised for the service of those in need, that is on a firm financial footing, that has an expanded and empowered membership inspired by faith and working together for the Common Good, that knows the value of its work and that can speak up against injustice. So a Society fit for the modern world, but rooted very much in its value and tradition. That's quite a lot to achieve, but we can do it together."
The SVP has been offering friendship and support to people in need since 1833. Founded by Blessed Frédéric Ozanam and inspired by St Vincent de Paul, the Society currently has nearly 10,000 members and 500 community support project volunteers and helped 80,000 people in England and Wales last year.