Presenter Information

Robert J. Swain C.M.


In 1914, American Vincentians from the Eastern Province began serving in Panama. They helped develop the Panamanian church under the four foreign bishops who headed it from 1903 to 1963. The Americans ministered primarily in the Canal Zone, especially Balboa, but also in Colόn, Bocas del Toro, a West Indian parish of thousands in Panama City, Cristobal, and Chiriquí, among other places. They had four houses, churches, chapels, and schools, including the Colegio San Vicente de Paúl in David. As the Panamanians’ direction of their church mirrored their increasing control over their country, large portions of the article are dedicated to Panama’s political and economic history.