S.A.E., a secular and interconfessional association, is a continuation of the activity of dialogue and ecumenical formation which was promoted by Maria Vingiani in Venice in 1947 and has been continuing ever since. It has gone through various stages of development; privately in Rome in 1959

(following the announcement of the Second Vatican Council) and then as a public association from 1964 onwards. In 1966 it was formally costituted under the chairmanship of its founder, Maria Vingiani.

Every year, since 1964, it has organized a summer meeting to encourage ecumenical dialogue; the minutes of which are published. A shorter meeting usually takes place in spring.

It was one of the promoters of the Judaism Day (1989) and of the document for interconfessional marriages between Roman Catholics and Waldesian-Methodists.(1998).

In 1996, on the election of Elena Milazzo Covini as the new national President, its headquarters was transferred from Rome to Milan. The founder, Maria Vingiani, was appointed President emeritus.

From 2004 to 2012, for two consecutive terms, was president Mario Gnocchi.

In 2012 Marianita Montresor was elected national President.