The society of St. Vincent de Paul in The Bahamas
History / Objectives
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul - a nonprofit organization that provides direct assistance to needy men, women and children, was founded in 1833 by Frederic Ozanam, a 20 year-old student at the Sorbonne University in Paris, France.
Challenged to “practice what they preach”, Frederic and a group of fellow students sought out the poor of Paris in their homes and brought them bread, clothing and most importantly, friendship. This small group took as their Patron the great friend priest St. Vincent de Paul, known as the “Apostle of Charity - a friend of the poor”.
In The Bahamas, as we know it, is quite young. It was established here in 1962 by Mr. Otway Prevatt of Trinidad, a former Town Planning Officer, while he was employed here by The Bahamas Government. He, being a member of St. Francis Parish, gave it the opportunity of being the first Conference of the society to be set up in The Bahamas.
At that time it comprised all men, some of whom were the late Sir Cyrus Davis, Edward Carey, Frank Clarke, Leonard Archer and Charles Richardson, just to name a few.
Soon afterwards the Vincentian (as its members are called) spirit spread to other pariches and within a year, conferences were set up at Our Lady's, St. Ceclia's and St. Anselm's Parishes, each with memberships numbering under teh (10). During the period, these conferences were active, many acts of charity were bestowed on the poor of the various communities.
In addition to visits, the conferences take care of the needs of the old and some destitute people, by giving them cash and food. The St. Francis Conferences has had a hot meal program where it provides meals daily for some fifty (50) persons. Presently it is inactive due to circunstances beyond its control.
The society obtains its inspiration in this saints's work and tries to relieve the material and spiritual distress of all, by the personal engagement of each Vincentian in a spirit of charity and justice, adapting itself permanently to the situations that may arise.
Being universal and cathoic, the society, however, is opened to all those who are inspired by that same spirit, whether Christians of others conferessions, or members of other creeds, all being one in the eyesight of God.
The necessary funds required to carry on this good and charitable work are obtained from conllections taken up at the weekly meetings of the Conferences, the poor boxes at the doors of churchs, where there are St. Vincent de Paul Conferences and private contribuitions from the outside. Here again, the St. Francis Parish has its annual Christmas Appeal, where a substantial amount of funds are raised.
The conferences meets on Fridays at 5:45 p.m., for very short meetings to hear and make report. It you would like to become a member of The St. Vincent de Paul Society, please fell free contact any of the following members:
- Lynda Carey - President
- George Sherman
- Joy Ferguson
- Brian Serville
- Bridgette Bowe
- Leonard Archer - Treasurer
- Charles Richardson
- Lorraine Armbrister
- June Smith
- Ruth Fawkes
- Tiffany McKinny
- Juffure Russell
- Irvin Lightbourne
- Rochell Smith