On Thursday 10th February 2023, at the invitation of Fr Lee Marshall, chaplain to St Vincent’s Mission Hub, Sheffield, four “Vincentians” – Fr Paul Roche CM, Fr John Fitt CM, Sr Ruth O’Neill DC and Sr Maureen Tinkler DC spent the evening with the students for a THEOLOGY ON TAP evening. Around thirty of us gathered for Mass, meal and an input about the “Vincentian Way” and what the Vincentian charism is all about. The input ended with a challenge to the students to live the Vincentian spirit and befriend those they meet on the “streets of the city” in Sheffield by hands-on-service and volunteering.
HISTORY OF THE VINCENTIAN PRESENCE IN SOLLY STREET
St. Vincent’s Church and school, Sheffield stood on the junction of Solly Street and Hollis Croft for over a hundred years. It was served by a community of Catholic priests and brothers called THE VINCENTIANS.
Originally built as a school-chapel to serve the predominantly Catholic local population, many being Irish immigrants who had fled the famine between 1845-49 to work in Sheffield’s booming steel and cutlery trade.
The chapel was converted into a church in 1911, with extensions to the building and a new tower, designed by Charles Hadfield, the grandson of the original architect Matthew Ellison Hadfield.
War-damage, coupled with slum clearances in the surrounding area during the pre-war era led to a diminishing congregation.
In 1996 St. Vincent’s closed its doors as a place of worship. In 2018 the empty, abandoned church was bought by Sheffield University and turned into a facility for students. The adjoining school was converted into the VINCENTIAN MISSION HUB which became the base for the University of Sheffield Catholic Chaplaincy.