WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Westport Vinnies nonagenerian celebrated


March 2014

Westport breeds resilient people who are willing to help the needy, none more than Mrs Margaret Todd, the eldest member of the local St Vincent de Paul Society who has just celebrated her 90th birthday.

The society congratulates Margaret and thanks her for her many years of service to the Westport conference.

Margaret can remember when second-hand clothing was sold from a room at St Mary’s College, then in a garage room at Betts Motors. After that Westport was able to buy a shop with the help of the Nelson Conference and with the extra income from the shop, to help people with rent, petrol, accommodation, power bills, and other needs such as glasses and hearing aids.

Good luck shone on the branch when Seamus Murphy left money to enable it to move to a lovely new shop in the centre of town. These days a nice working environment and customer appeal is guaranteed.

Margaret Todd has been secretary for most of this time, her contribution not at all hampered by age. Some years ago Margaret was invested with a civic award for her charity work.

Margaret says she has made many friends and enjoyed working with a wide range of people. It takes a variety of personalities to successfully run Vinnies. We all bring something to the Society. Margaret still works on a Tuesday afternoon and is as sharp as ever.

World-wide Vincentian community

Meanwhile, Bishop Owen Dolan as spiritual director for the St Vincent de Paul Society reminded Vincentians in the society’s summer news that they are part of a world-wide community, sharing faith, showing commitment to Christ in the poor. The spirit of St Vincent and of Blessed Frederic Ozanam is present also in Pope Francis when he recalls the message of Jesus, ‘I have come not to be served but to serve,’ and ‘Help the poor, of course, but also learn from them,’ he said.

How blessed, then, are all Vincentians to have a privileged role – to help, to learn from the poor, everyone who is in need.’