Martin Folan arrived in St. Vincent & the Grenadines on Shrove Tuesday, 5th February, 2008 to assist an old friend, Fr. Jim Candon OP with his charitable outreach to the poor and the marginalized of SVG. Some fifteen years earlier Fr. Jim had served as a priest in his hometown of Galway in the West of Ireland, before disappearing to the West Indies. With the help of some caring Vincentians Fr. Jim established an incorporated charity, namely, the De Porres Trust, to cater for those unfortunates living on the street and also for the needs of prisoners.
His first task was to tend to the prisoners in Her Majesty’s Prison, Kingstown and their requests for toiletries, clothing, etc., it also encompassed assisting in the Soup Kitchen on Sundays. Today, the Trust continues the work which Fr. Jim began many years ago, ensuring that the poor are not left without some form of hope and assistance. Thanks to the generosity of the people of St. Vincent and others, (particularly Fr. Jim) the De Porres Trust has managed to maintain its support for those existing on the margins.
He describes living and working in St. Vincent for the past ten years as an enriching experience. The friendliness of the people along with the interaction with Church community groups has helped him to feel very much at home here in this beautiful country. He thanks God for the opportunity and privilege to serve Him in the poor and marginalized of SVG.
Bro. Jean Michel Oratius
Bro. Jean Michel Oratius hails from Les Cayes, Haiti. After leaving primary school he attended technical school then went on to religious education training. His constant involvement in church is what Bro. Jean Michel attributes to preparing him for missionary service. Through visitation of the poor in his hometown he felt the call towards a life as a missionary and he was supported by his family and friends.
In his initial years as a missionary, the idea that when someone joins religious life they are sent away and will never see their loved ones again was a misconception that Bro. Jean Michel had to overcome. Since then, over the course of 31 years, he has served in Jamaica, Haiti, Uganda, Kenya and presently ministers at the Catholic Soup Kitchen at Rose Place, Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He claims that he is most content when working with the poor and needy. In fact, his years in service to the poor in Africa are some of Bro. Jean-Michel’s “most rewarding and treasured memories”. He believes that his assignment there helped him to fulfil the mission of their institute, Missionaries of the Poor.
Bro. Jean Michel gains inspiration from ‘The miracle of the five loaves and two fish’ found in Mark 6:34 – 44. He strongly encourages any candidate who is considering becoming a missionary to do so because “…it helps [you] to be more Christ-like.”
Bro. Jjuuko Anthony
Brother Jjuuko Anthony was born in Lubaga, Uganda on September 16, 1980.
He received the ‘call to mission’ when a brother visited his home and invited him to become a missionary. Though sudden, he believes that his former years as an altar server helped to prepare him for this direction in life. His parents, family and friends were also very supportive of this decision, and he was encouraged by his priests to do same. He also attributes his preparation for missionary life to his time spent at Seminary.
Since becoming one of the first missionaries to join the order in Kempala, Uganda in 2001, Bro. Anthony has served in Jamaica, Haiti, the Philippines, and Uganda; and has assumed duties here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as of May 17, 2021.
Bro. Anthony credits his success in his work to a great deal of patience and trust in God’s Providence. He uses ‘The Beatitudes’ in Matthew 25 as the guiding principle for all that he does, and shares that his greatest satisfaction comes from “serving the poorest of the poor, housing the homeless and feeding the hungry.”
To date, the occasion of making his vows remains his most treasured memory. He names Fr. Richard Ho-Lung and Padre Pio as his role models and wishes to encourage young men who are considering missionary service to “follow the Master, Jesus, with trust – do not be afraid.”
Service to the poor, housing the homeless and feeding the hungry are acts that Bro. Anthony find to be most rewarding. This could be attributed by his favourite scripture passage being Matthew 25, The Beatitudes. Fr. Richard Ho Long and Padre Pio are two persons that Bro. Anthony sees as his role models in missionary work.
His advice to person who may be thinking of becoming a missionary his “follow the master, Jesus.”