St. Vincent and the Grenadines: 1957-1990
Starting in 1957, Scarboro missionaries went to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to continue the work of the Benedictines in promoting vocations, which led to the establishment of local priests and vocations to religious life. Scarboro priests worked in the town of Mesopotamia on the island of St. Vincent and on the islands of Bequia and Mayreau in the Grenadines.
There was also a strong emphasis on the vocation of the laity with a focus on faith formation, education, and renewal. Fr. Russ Sampson whose first mission appointment after ordination was to St. Vincent and the Grenadines said, “The lay leaders (pastoral agents) and local priests form us from the time we arrive in a new country. The fact that we are to work side by side with them and ultimately be replaced by them and move on is an essential part of the spirituality for a missionary priest. In this process, the one thing we can remind them is that they, too, are missionary and often we see some of them go and minister in other countries.”
Working with the laity, Scarboro priests also tried to address the social needs at the time. Fr. Rollie Roberts spent 31 years in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and established the St. Benedict’s Day Nursery and Infant Hospital. “The missionary must become involved in the day-to-day living of the people,” he said. “Their problems must be his problems.” The challenge of a missionary vocation he said, “is a challenge of involvement; it is the thrilling experience of being a witness to the love of Christ.”
In 1994, Anthony H. Dickson, now Bishop Emeritus of Bridgetown, Barbados, said: “I wish to extend my own personal gratitude for all that the Scarboro missionaries have done to build up the Church and to enable the Church to serve the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and those other English-speaking Caribbean territories. It was my privilege and pleasure to have worked with them.”