The St. Vincent de Paul Society came to Scotland in 1845 only twelve years after the first Conference was founded in Paris. The 1840s in Scotland were years of the Irish immigrants with a crying need for those in better circumstances to help poor, unjustly-treated and often sick people trying to eke out a living in Scotland.
Archdiocese of St Andrew’s & Edinburgh
The first SSVP Conference in Scotland was founded on the 25th May 1845 St. Patrick’s, Edinburgh.
Their main task was to visit the homes of the poor and sick, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, pray at their deathbeds and follow their remains to the cemetery. It was this more than anything else which impressed the non-Catholics in the city.
The Society was founded on 23 August 1848, in Glasgow in St Andrew’s Cathedral. The needs of the growing city, packed with Irish immigrants and full of poverty and need and disease were immense. In the first 10 years, 13 additional Conferences were established; there were 131 members with upwards of 6,000 poor people.
The first Conference to open in Galloway was St Andrew’s, Dumfries on 02 February 1862. The next Conference to open was St Margaret’s, Ayr on 01 November 1868, closely followed by St Joseph’s, Kilmarnock on 01 April 1869.