St. Vincent de Paul School Reunion set for Labor Day Weekend

St. Vincent de Paul School

St. Vincent de Paul Church

The Classes of 1963 through 1967 of St. Vincent de Paul School in Nashville, TN are hosting a Reunion for all students, alumnae, alumni, and friends during Labor Day Weekend, September 2-4, 2016. While the Reunion is being planned by the five classes, any and all students who ever attended the school are invited to come out and participate. It is an all-classes reunion for anyone who has ever attended or has friends or family who did, whether or not they graduated. Early Registration discounts are available through Saturday, April 30.

The Reunion plans include a Tour of the “New” Nashville, a Welcome Celebration at The Ivy Center of Nashville, a Cookout in Centennial Park, a Gala Event at the Marriott Vanderbilt Hotel, and Worship Service and Brunch at St. Vincent de Paul Church and School. Information about the Reunion activities, registration fees and ticket costs can be found on the Reunion website at: and on the Facebook page: svp5+friends. Updates to the Reunion weekend and class mate connections are made weekly.

“This is an exciting re-connection opportunity, and the response of students from many classes has been outstandingly positive,” says Reunion Committee Co-Chair Quinta Martin (Class of 1965). “We look forward to seeing our friends and family that attended St. Vincent or socialized with us as we grew up in a nurturing educational and social culture that strongly influenced who we are today. The Reunion Committee is executing several exciting ideas and surprises to make the Reunion weekend a memorable event.”

St. Vincent de Paul School was founded in 1932 by St. Katharine Drexel for the purpose of ministering to the spiritual and educational needs of African-American families in North Nashville. Learn more about this phenomenal institution in this week’s column by William Robinson, elsewhere in this issue of the PRIDE. Mr. Robinson is a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, and both of his sons graduated from the St. Vincent school before matriculating and graduating from Tuskegee and Hampton Universities.

For further information, please contact Quinta Martin, Reunion Committee Co-Chair, at phone: (216) 577-0349; or Michael Grant, Reunion Committee Co-Chair, at phone: (202)870-4334.

To learn more about the community impact of the St. Vincent school, see the column by William Robinson click HERE.

Who was St. Vincent de Paul?

by Cass Teague
(St. Vincent Class of 1966)

Vincent de Paul portraitVincent de Paul was born in 1581 in a village of Gascony in the Kingdom of France to peasant farmers. At 15, his father sent him to seminary, managing to pay for it by selling the family’s oxen. Vincent’s interest in the priesthood at that time was largely with the intent to establish a successful career and obtain a benefice with which he could retire early and support the family.

On 12 October 1604 Vincent received his Bachelor of Theology from the University of Toulouse and later received a Licentiate in Canon Law from the University of Paris. In 1605, Vincent sailed from Marseilles on his way back from Castres (where he had gone to sell some property he had received in an inheritance from a wealthy patron in Toulouse) and was taken captive by Barbary pirates, who brought him to Tunis.

De Paul was auctioned off as a slave to the highest bidder and spent two years in bondage. He secretly boarded a small boat escaping to cross the Mediterranean in 1607. Returning to Europe, Vincent went to Rome. There he continued his studies until 1609, when he was sent back to France on a mission to King Henry IV. In 1613, he served as chaplain and tutor to the Gondi family. Preaching a mission to the peasants on the Gondi estates persuaded him that he should direct his efforts to the poor.

In 1617, Vincent founded the “Ladies of Charity” from a group of women within his parish. He organized these wealthy women of Paris to collect funds for missionary projects, found hospitals, and gather relief funds for the victims of war, and to ransom 1,200 galley slaves from North Africa.

In 1622, Vincent was appointed chaplain to the galleys. After working for some time in Paris among imprisoned galley-slaves, he returned to be the leader of what is now known as the Congregation of the Mission, or the “Vincentians.” These priests, with vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and stability, were to devote themselves entirely to the people in smaller towns and villages. Vincent was zealous in conducting retreats for clergy who at that time were uneducated. He was a pioneer in clerical training and was instrumental in establishing seminaries. He spent 28 years serving as the spiritual director of the Convent of St. Mary of Angels.

Vincent de Paul died in Paris on September 27, 1660. He was canonized on June 16, 1737 by Pope Clementine XII.