The excerpt below is part of a blog post titled, “Finding Light in Loss” written by Mike Tenbusch and originally published by International Samaritan, a Catholic Foundation of Michigan ministry partner.

“Our mission is based on the principles of Catholic Social Teaching,” says Tenbush. “It’s important to us to know that our funds are being stewarded consistent with the principles that guide our work across the world. The Catholic Foundation of Michigan does that for us and with us.”

We are honored at the Catholic Foundation to support the efforts of International Samaritan and the communities impacted by their work across the world. We give thanks for this partnership and the opportunity to support this community in their time of need.


In 1927, President Calvin Coolidge visited the construction site of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota. While there, an eight-year-old boy named John Vincent approached him and told him that he wanted to be president one day. 

“No. You don’t want this job,” the president known as “Silent Cal” told him.

Young John took the president at his word. He shifted his dreams to becoming a rancher, going to the hardware store in town every Saturday to try on boots “for a ranch job I have coming up” he would tell the salesmen, who ultimately banned him from their store after a slew of Saturdays spent helping John trying on boots he didn’t have enough money to buy.

Dr. John Vincent, 1919-2004

Undeterred, John decided to become a doctor instead. The road was not easy. He had lost his dad at the age of four, but the love and strength of his Irish mother inspired a resilience in him.  He studied hard in school, got married, started a family, and made his way through medical school while raising a family of eight children that grew to twelve after he became a doctor. 

Dr. John Vincent died in 2004, and his children and grandchildren continue to shine with that resilience. When his oldest daughter, Mary, read about the death of Asdrubal Barroso, one of our scholarship students, from appendicitis in January, she immediately thought of her dad and the memory of seeing him, grim-faced, carrying his own 24-year-old  son, John, in his arms, who was suffering from appendicitis. 

Asdrubal Barroso, 2004-2021

Unlike Asdrubal, Dr. Vincent’s son was able to get to a hospital and receive medical attention in time.

Asdrubal had also wanted to become a doctor. In his honor and in her dad’s memory, Mary recently established the Asdrubal Barroso Medical Scholarship to fund a medical or nursing school education of young people in Nicaragua. This endowed fund was created in partnership with the Catholic Foundation of Michigan to help fund the education of more medical professionals in Nicaragua in perpetuity.

“This is all about the life that comes from loss,” Mary told me. “My dad’s grandpa was an orphan in Ireland. His mom was a widow. He taught me that you can’t stop looking for life in the face of loss. I’m hopeful that this scholarship will be a light that changes lives for others.”

The legacy of Dr. Vincent and Asdrubal resounded so powerfully with me that I wanted to share it with you. Please pray that Asdrubal’s parents will find the comfort of our Lord in their loss.

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