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St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria Inc.

Newsletter 248 | November-December 2010

What’s cooking at Ozanam House Weekly cooking classes at homeless service Ozanam House have brought to life much more than food. As they cooked, the residents of Ozanam House started sharing stories of their own families, life experiences and culture. Attempting to capture these stories inspired the publication of a cookbook, The Roofless Kitchen. With the support of a grant from the City of Melbourne the cookbook project commenced in February with over 40 residents participating in workshops, supported by a chef, an artist and a writer. Their involvement helped inspire confidence in the residents to express themselves through cooking, drawing and writing, with the end result an amazing book that's more than just recipes. Manager of Ozanam House, Lisa Sammut said "We would never have guessed that our weekly cooking classes would turn into something so amazing. They shared their own favourite recipes and taught other residents how to recreate them. They're a diverse group, so there were recipes from all over the world and they loved being able to try those new things. It's realistic too; the recipes are easy to replicate, don't need many utensils or unusual ingredients and they're generally inexpensive and healthy. Though there are a few indulgent exceptions in there" she said. "We're so proud of the book. It has great recipes but it is also a glimpse into the lives of our residents and people who are experiencing very complex issues. The book provides the reader with the opportunity to reflect on the issue of food insecurity and the basic human right of having access to affordable and healthy food sources. In the absence of adequate accommodation, cooking and storage facilities, it is very difficult to avoid major health problems" she said. The Roofless Kitchen cookbook is available for $20 plus $5 postage by contacting Sarah James at Ozanam House on 03 9329 5100 or by email

The St Vincent de Paul Society hopes to raise $600,000 in the Christmas Appeal this year and it's well under way. Christmas can be a particularly difficult time for people who are already struggling to make ends meet. By giving to the Christmas Appeal we are able to continue to provide support to people in our local communities. For additional copies of appeal materials contact Claire Nettley on 03 9895 5800.



State President’s Message Dear Vincentians, Volunteers, Staff and Supporters I advise that Syd Tutton, who is the Society’s National President, and former State President of Victoria from 2002 to 2006, is currently in hospital undergoing chemotherapy treatment. I ask that you keep Syd and his family in your prayers at this time. Thank you all for your contribution to the work of the St Vincent de Paul Society throughout the year. The Society touches many lives each day, each month and each year through the good works you do. The year has been a difficult one with welfare demands well up on the previous year, however the Society has responded well to the challenges it faced. Christmas is just around the corner and it should have a special place in the spiritual life of all Vincentians. We need to contemplate the special message of Christmas. It is a time to cherish peace and goodwill and the blessed gift of hope and love. We need to share it with the people we are committed to help. I wish you and your families all the joys of Christmas and may 2011 offer a hopeful vision to the abundant potential that awaits all of us.


Spring Racing Carnival hits the tracks Across the State all Vinnies Centres got into the spirit of the Spring Racing Carnival marketing campaign during October/November. Many centres had fabulous window displays with racing style items stockpiled specifically for this campaign. Customers and friends of Vinnies mentioned seeing the advertising which obviously made an impact in the marketplace, with one of the campaign weeks garnering the second highest week of sales in centres for the year. The campaign included television, radio, print and online advertising, as well as editorial coverage in the Herald Sun, Kyabram Free Press, Bendigo Weekly, Wimmera Mail Times, Cranbourne Leader, Berwick Leader, Hume Weekly, Frankston Weekly, Wyndham Leader, Peninsula Weekly and Border Mail newspapers. A couple of young women were overheard on the train talking about the advertisements that featured Jo Stanley from Fox FM. The women commented on how great Jo looked and how it’s amazing what great outfits you can get at Vinnies at such low prices. Special thanks to JC Decaux (train station advertising), Catholic Communications (advertisement design), Rockit Advertising (media buying), Creatology (television commercial production) and Stephanie Hooke (outfit stylist) for their support for the campaign. Congratulations to all the volunteers and staff in centres who worked hard to help make Vinnies the place to go for great fashion outfits during the Spring Carnival and beyond.

Prayers are requested for...

Annual Report & AGM

Deceased Members, Volunteers, Family and Friends Noel (Harold) Courtney Member, Norlane Conference Bill Lane Husband of Edith, Kerang Conference Patricia Mann Volunteer, Alfredton Centre Elizabeth McKeown Ex-President, Leongatha Conference Mira Mesanovic Member, Thornbury Conference Peter O’Connor Member, Sandringham Conference Kevin O’Neill Ex-member & volunteer, Redan Conference Ivan Orchard Husband of Ethel, Warragul Conference Greg Parkes Friend of Chris Brown, Warragul Conference Gay Purcell Member, Macleod Conference Leo Sandilands Ex-member, Camberwell South Conference Sylvestro Torcutti Member, Leongatha Conference Br John Webster CssR Ex-member, Wendouree & Gardenvale Conferences Doug Weddall Member, Frankston Conference

The 2009-2010 Annual Report & Financial Report were accepted at the Annual General Meeting held in Warragul on Saturday 13 November 2010. Society Treasurer, John Hayes presented the financials, noting comparisons between the last financial year including that the dollar value of assistance given by conferences was $10.5 million, a 15% increase. Material aid given by centres is also significantly up, from $1.4 million last year to more than $2 million this year. Copies are available from Gerald Ward House, call 03 9895 5800.

To ensure correct acknowledgement please forward any requests for prayers to Philip Mackey by phone on 03 9895 5837 or email


Society staff member and Vinnies Youth member Roz Kelly recently travelled to Rome for the historical canonisation of Mary MacKillop, Australia’s first saint on 17 October 2010. Here Roz shares a reflection on the experience, which she undertook with a fellow Vincentian. When Pope Benedict XI announced Mary MacKillop was to be canonised a saint, I knew I had to be there. I was taught by Josephites in primary school and did my first two years of secondary school at a school named after St Mary of the Cross. There was always talk of Mary MacKillop being recognised as a saint, but I never thought I'd be able to be part of it. I travelled with a very good friend and fellow Vincentian, Fiona, as part of a small pilgrimage group. We participated in most of the official canonisation events. On the Saturday before the canonisation we attended a concert of Mary's life put on by ACU. Somehow I ended up sitting next to a Scottish lady who is related to Mary MacKillop! We were lucky enough to have a seat in St Peter's Square on 17 October 2010, when St Mary of the Cross was canonised and celebrated Mass with the Holy Father and thousands of other pilgrims. The following day we went to St Paul's Outside the Walls, where a Thanksgiving Mass for St Mary of the Cross was celebrated, with a beautiful homily from Cardinal Pell. In the days that followed there was a lot of sightseeing - the Colosseum, the Forum, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Mouth of Truth, as well as other places - all done briefly

(l to r) Roz Kelly, Michael Thio, International President-General, Anthony Thornton, Secretary to National Council and Fiona Bradley, Port Melbourne Visits Coordinator

unfortunately. There was also a lot of time spent visiting the beautiful basilicas and churches of Rome, as well as the Vatican. There was a decent amount of time dedicated to sampling some lovely Italian cuisine! A personal highlight for me was travelling to Assisi for the day. I then took some time out and travelled to Copenhagen, Denmark where I stayed with Fiona Jendra, a former receptionist for the Society at Box Hill. I did a fair bit of sightseeing there and paid a visit to Prince Frederic and Princess Mary, but unfortunately I don't think they were home! Then it was onwards to Paris! I was excited to be going to the city where Frederic Ozanam started the Society! Unfortunately I didn't get to too many Vincentian places of interest, but did visit the Daughters of Charity at Rue du Bac and also the Church of St Vincent de Paul. Visiting St Vincent de Paul was another highlight of my time in Europe. I did most of the usual Parisian sightseeing, including the Eiffel Tower at night and getting lost in the Louvre! I would also recommend anyone travelling to Paris to go on a guided tour of Notre Dame Cathedral! It was a very special and exciting two weeks of my life that included much more than just the canonisation ceremony. To read more about Mary MacKillop’s amazing work visit www.


Gifts in memory or special occasions A growing trend is for families arranging a funeral to request that a donation be made to their favourite charity in lieu of sending flowers. The Society has specially designed envelopes that can be made available at a funeral. A number of funeral directors already have stocks of the envelopes but more can be obtained by phoning the Box Hill office on 03 9895 5000. Donations can be made by cheque or credit card and the envelopes allow for the donor to indicate that they would like the next of kin to be advised that the donation has been made in memory of their loved one. The amount of the donation is not conveyed to the next of kin. A receipt is sent to the donor. The envelopes are designed to be sealed and mailed back to the Society but could also be collected at the funeral and hand delivered to the Box Hill office. This would be preferred if cash has been placed in the envelopes. For special occasions such as wedding anniversaries or birthdays, the Society also has a "celebrate with a gift" envelope which can be used for a donation in lieu of a gift. Both envelopes are available from the Fundraising & Public Relations Department, call 03 9895 5823.

U P D AT E Peter O’Dwyer | A Tribute In September, special tribute was paid to conference member Peter O'Dwyer in recognition of 70 years of service. Peter was in New Orleans, where USA National President Joe Flannigan presented him with a certificate of acknowledgement and a beautiful statue representing St Vincent de Paul, Blessed Frederic Ozanam and an orphan girl. In October, when Peter was back in Australia, Southern Central Council President Paul McCarthy also paid tribute to him, at the conclusion of a festival mass, presenting him with a certificate and an engraved crucifix designed by an Aboriginal artist. Peter joined the Society's St Ambrose Parish Conference at the age of 16 in 1940. In his years there and in addition to home visits, Peter was part of a hospital visitation team that visited a local aged care home. He has fond memories of distributing Catholic papers, magazines, rosary beads and sweets to the people they visited and made connections with. After 4½ years serving in the Army, Peter resumed his activity with his

local conference in 1946. This was followed by time in country Victoria where he continued to work as an isolated member, helping the local community where he could. Then in the 1960s Peter was a member of both St Michael's Ashburton Conference and St Peter and Paul's South Melbourne Conference. Peter then relocated to Burwood, where he joined the St Benedict's Conference which had just two members. His dedication to the Society spirit helped him to build up the conference, which he left in a thriving state in 1989. Since then Peter has been a member of the St John Vianney's Parish, North Springvale Conference where over the years he has been a stalwart member, including holding positions of President, Secretary and Treasurer.


Janet Buhagiar Former Victorian State Councillor Janet Buhagiar was recently awarded the Marie Claire Young Business Women's Award for her work as Chief Executive Officer of St Vincent de Paul Society Northern Territory in the 2010 Telstra Australian Business Women's Awards. Janet, who was President of the Footscray Soup Van, on the Centres State Board of Management and Vice President on State Council in her time in Victoria, said "I feel quite overwhelmed but very humbled. It a great privilege to have won. I reflect on the four years (with the St Vincent de Paul Society in the Northern Territory) and there has been some wonderful practical achievements. We've built 20 new affordable houses and we've expanded our services. But the one thing that I am most proud of is our investment in people and the human spirit because that is what is sustainable."

(l to r): Dandenong Regional President, Michael Cashman, Peter O’Dwyer, Southern Central Council President, Paul McCarthy and Deputy State President, John Lazzari

At 87, Peter is to this day an active and highly respected member of the North Springvale Conference, now serving as Honorary Vice President. His experience brings a wealth of knowledge and his dedication and commitment to the St Vincent de Paul Society’s spirit is a living example and inspiration to us all. Peter is not contemplating retirement from serving the Lord any time soon, nor are we at the conference prepared to let him do so! Serge Florent President Springvale North Conference

Calendar Dates 

Christmas Appeal Monday 8 November 2010 Monday 28 February 2011 Ozanam Lecture Thursday 24 March 2011 St Francis’ Church, Melbourne Vinnies CEO Sleepout 2011 Thursday 16 June 2011 Contributions to Societynews are always welcome. Email: or send to: The Editor Societynews St Vincent de Paul Society Locked Bag 4800 Box Hill Vic 3128 Phone: 03 9895 5800 Fax: 03 9895 5850 We endeavour to include as many items as possible in each issue.

Societynews - 2010 November-December  
Societynews - 2010 November-December  

Societynews is a bi-monthly newsletter for members, volunteers and supporters of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Victoria highlighting act...