Yvette Woodruffe was honoured for her 49 years of “stellar service” at an appreciation ceremony hosted by the North-West Particular Council of the Society of St Vincent De Paul (SVP) on August 1.
Members joined the celebration online since the public health regulations prohibit public gatherings of more than five persons. The one-hour programme began 4 p.m. with Monica Williams, President of the Council delivering the welcome, followed by Fr Mikhail Woodruffe O Carm giving the prayer and blessing for his mother.
Presenting greetings and sharing memories were SVP National President Angelique Taylor; former President Rudolph Boneo; Cheryl Adams, President of the Finbar Ryan Geriatric Home Committee; Myra Hadeed and Ronald Lazzari of the Finbar Ryan Home Association. Other SVP members were invited to express their appreciation.
Fr Garfield Rochard was designated to present Woodruffe with the gifts at her Barataria home. Adding to the festive mood were performances in song, dance, poetry reading and steelpan music by the residents of the Cyril Ross Home, and singers Nigel Floyd and Raymond Edwards.
According to the bio prepared, Yvette Margot Woodruffe became a member of the SVP in 1970. She subsequently became President of the St Francis RC Church, Belmont, junior conference. They undertook a mandate of caring for the ladies of the St Andrews’ Home for the Aged, Belmont.
In 1973, fresh out of Providence Girls’ Secondary School, Woodruffe joined the staff at the SVP’s head office, Duncan Street, with Executive Secretary Steve Solomon. She started as a clerk but, through promotions, became Administrative Secretary/Coordinator of Institutions.
She was transferred to Finbar Ryan Geriatric Home in 2008 as Acting Manager, a position she held until July 2021. Woodruffe refused several offers for better remuneration over the years.
Among the highlights of her tenure: leadership training in Venezuela and gerontology in the United States, and representing the SVP at national, regional, and international meetings.
Woodruffe was influential in the development of the youth secretariat, conferences nationally, and SVP in Grenada, St Lucia, and Barbados. She was on the Ministry of Social Development’s team appointed to visit and monitor homes for the aged in the country.
Woodruffe received a papal blessing from Pope John Paul II in 2001 when she attained 25 years working with the SVP, and in 1999 she was named Female of the Year by the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian newspaper.
She told the Catholic News August 12, she has retired as an employee of the SVP but remains a member. “My love, care and concern for the vulnerable people especially for the elderly will continue.” She expressed satisfaction that this care and concern was passed to her children, Mariella, Marlon, and Fr Mikhail.
Sister Yvette, on behalf of the National Executive, I wanted to take this opportunity to express a special thanks to you on your sterling contribution to the Society over the past 49 years.
We are eternally grateful, and we appreciate the many self-sacrificing efforts made during those years and continue to make post-retirement.
In this virtual appreciation ceremony to celebrate your service milestone, it is our time to say thank you. Those simple words at times escape the lips of some of us, but you have always made it a point to value the contribution of others, our benefactors, our donors.
You are known by many names, but for me you will always be a visionary, a charismatic spokesperson, a pioneer, a go-getter, a walking encyclopaedia for the Society of T&T, a warrior for the little people. These are some of the accolades bestowed on you by members of the Society and persons that you interfaced with.
Many a President came to rely on your extensive knowledge, invaluable experience, and your hard work ethic as the Society’s Administrative Secretary for the majority of your 49 years prior to being assigned as Manager of the Finbar Ryan Geriatric Home.
Your journey has not always been smooth sailing, but you remained faithful, and you always overcome numerous challenges encountered along the way. Your many years of dedication, commitment and loyalty are a true testament to the vocation as a Vincentian and good Catholic worker.
Our greatest compliment to you will be to build on the legacy you have bestowed on the organisation and to continue the good works you delivered.
As you proceed on your retirement as Manager of the Finbar Ryan Geriatric Home and Administrative Secretary of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, I want to say a special thanks to your family who put up with the late nights and busy weekends.
Though sometimes they could not understand your devotion, they were your stronghold especially in those tiresome times. You are a true blessing to the many lives you touched and continue to touch.
Sister, you will leave a void that may never be filled by any one person, but we will always remember the lessons you have taught us along the way.
I can only imagine your excitement to embark on this new chapter in your life. Rest assured you have run the race and stayed the course till the end with indelible accomplishment.
2 Timothy 4:6, says “You have fought the good fight, and have finished the race and have kept the faith.”