ROMAN CATHOLIC EARLY PIONEER PRIEST: FR. AMBROSE HEIM (1807-1854), a pioneer St. Louis Archdiocesan priest of the German heritage, helped found the St. Vincent DePaul Society in the U.S. in St. Louis in 1845. He served as the Society's first spiritual moderator.
The ST. VINCENT DePAUL SOCIETY is one of the largest Catholic worldwide social service, welfare and charitable organizations dedicated to serving the poor sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church, and was founded in Paris, France by Blessed Frederic Ozanam in the early 1800s. The Society's American headquarters is located in St. Louis, Missouri, and dates from its American founding at the Old Cathedral on the St. Louis Riverfront in 1845. (That conference of the St. Vincent DePaul Society still exists today).
Many of the Society's corporal works of mercy include feeding the hungry; burying the indigent dead; providing rental, job and vocational assistance; offering legal and personal counseling; and other needed social services that positively impact the lives of the poor, needy and disadvantaged of our communities of all faiths and circumstances.
Fr. Heim is buried on Archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick's pioneer Priests' Lot at Calvary Cemetery (used from 1856 to 1925), on the Broadway side of historic Calvary Cemetery in North St. Louis. His grave is marked with a rough-hewn grey granite Latin cross, erected by the St. Vincent DePaul Society in 1909 in commemoration of his life. He was 47 years of age at the time of his death.
No photo likeness of Father Heim currently exists, but his name is listed in the mosaic artwork in the "Pioneer Catholic St. Louis" Mosaic Gallery in the New Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis on Lindell Boulevard. He is remembered in the annual Masses of the St. Vincent DePaul Society each year at their annual convention.
First Spiritual Moderator of the St. Vincent DePaul Society of the USA
Founding Priest, St. Vincent DePaul Society U.S.A.