An Interview With John Woolcott, One Of Our HPC Longest Serving Members By Guido Kelly

John Woolcott 

1. How long have you been a Vincentian? and how much have you enjoyed this aspect of Vincentian work?

I have been a Vincentian since 1970, when I became a member of the Regina Mundi Conference. This was a true growing experience for me being in my early 20s, working alongside my new Saint Vincent De Paul brothers and sisters who were all so dedicated to serving the needs of the less fortunate in our community.

2. Since being a Vincentian is a vocation, who or what motivated you to join the Society?

Growing up as the youngest member of five siblings, we were blessed to have very loving parents. They always provided for us and most times in a very generous way.  As my teen years went by, I grew to appreciate their efforts as a true blessing. More and more, I felt the urge to reach out to others that were not as fortunate as we were. My parents, then, were very instrumental in ensuring that my siblings and myself were exposed to all aspects of our faith. They taught us that we should share these gifts and blessings with others who needed help. This calling manifested in me and soon recognized that I should use these blessings from God to take the step to serve him by becoming a Vincentian.

3. As Vincentians, we serve with “Love, Respect, Justice and Joy”. Which of these motivates you the most? Why?

I feel the most difficult and important motivational tool of these is respect.  We should always have the greatest respect for those we serve as well as for our brother and sister Vincentians. The other three, love, joy and justice will naturally follow.

4. What leadership positions have you held with your Conference or Council? Of which are you most proud? Why?

I have served as President of the Regina Mundi Conference. During my tenure, I was able to reach out to many members in our community and help those in need as well as nurture new Vincentians that joined our Conference and advocate for the Society. I introduced more ways and means of helping our Conference members as together we were very involved at the grass roots level with some of the needy in our society who were absolutely destitute.

5. Drawing from your vast experiences over the years, what aspect continues to motivate you in your Vincentian work?

As the years have come and gone, I have noticed how our Saint Vincent De Paul Society continues to grow and expand in so many different ways and directions in which to help and reach out to our brothers and sisters in need. This aspect of our work continues to reach out no matter what race, creed or colour. By this continuous striving to reach out to more and more of those in need, I believe that this will attract more people to join the Vincentian ranks as it has inspired me to continue as a Vincentian for over fifty years and hopefully for many more years to come.

6. What advice do you wish to share with “new” as well as “not so new” Vincentians as they respond to the wide-ranging calls for their service?

I would encourage my fellow Vincentians as they approach each encounter with those in need, that they should always recognize the great joy in helping others and being a true reflection of Jesus Himself to those being helped. Also, always pray that God will grant them the grace to have a positive attitude in responding to their needs.