New York Vincentian remembers Home Country of Cameroon in Society Work
By: Rose Tchouabe’ / New York Vincentian and African American Task Force Member
My name is Rose Tchouabé (spouse Tchamambé) and I am a retired teacher from Cameroon. I have
been blessed with two children and one granddaughter. I have lived in New York since March 2016.
My parish is St. Ignatius Loyola and I discovered St. Ignatius in 2012 when I came to visit my son in
the U.S. for the first time. He would attend the 12:10 p.m. Mass every day at a church near his
office. Back in Cameroon, we were very familiar with the spirituality of St. Ignatius at our parish,
Our Lady of Annunciation, where I was a catechist. When I began my search to find a way to put
my faith into practice, I saw in the bulletin a notice that volunteers were needed and there was an
offer to join the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. I decided to go to a meeting.
After joining the Society, I volunteered to do a “Stay Over” on a Saturday night at the women’s
shelter, which is held in the lower church on weekends. You stay overnight on alternate weekends so
that women can have a safe haven, even if it’s only temporary. Before I could begin, I had to
complete a Safe Environment course.
Since then, I have joined in at various activities. I participated in Step by Step meetings; the Ronald
McDonald House dinners, serving and setting up at the Seniors Luncheon, participating in the
Friends of the Poor Walk where I loved reciting the Rosary along the way. The JoyJ activity was
special. We went to St. Gregory the Great church and met with other Vincentians and volunteers.
We gave out comfort bags to those who unfortunately live on the streets or in shelters. We went in
search of them to talk and offer our bags filled with items from Dollar Days such as t-shirts, hats,
gloves, socks, a sandwich, a McDonald’s gift card, water and snacks. I was able to have a
conversation with people who do not have shelter or a home of their own. To offer them food,
clothing and conversation was very special. We went in search of those in need just as our founders
and Pope Francis have asked us to do.
During that activity, I thought of my homeland in Cameroon. When we heard a neighbor or a
committee member was in need, we would go to them. We would cook, clean, bring food – even
food shop for them. We brought moral, spiritual, financial and material support. This kind of
devotion is a duty of every Christian in Cameroon. We are passionate and we do our best to help
our brothers and sisters in need. We give of ourselves to improve our spiritual life. That love,
passion and sacrifice are what I want to share with my fellow Vincentians here in the United States.
I was born into a Catholic family. My mother was active in the church and she would bring us to
Mass every morning before we would go to school. That habit remains with me to this day. I am a
devotee of the Souls of Purgatory and I recite the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy daily, as I
am a Charismatic with other devotions dear to me as well. You can find me in a church just about
every day. Being a part of the Vincentian family makes me happy because I am searching for the face
of Christ in those that I serve. My journey may have started in Cameroon, but it continues here in
the United States and with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
I may not have been a Vincentian long, but I am always a willing servant and I look forward to many
more opportunities to help others and to grow.