Every Monday, Mrs Mary Wee visits her Friends in Need (FINs) and the homebound in the East. She also visits residents at St Vincent’s Home and St Joseph’s Home weekly to pray with them. Her daughter-in-law joins her and plays an active role in her outreach at St Vincent’s Home now.
Mary commutes through public transport during all her visits. This is outstanding as she is 85 years old. Yet, she exudes a youthful, energetic spirit which belies her age. Coupled with an admirable passion for her mission, she is almost unstoppable.
She has deep compassion for those residing in Nursing Homes and is convinced that she is visiting Jesus in His loneliness. “You need to be there to feel it”, she said emotionally, almost choking on her words.
Seeds of mission planted
The seeds of Mary’s mission were planted when she was 10 years old when she visited St Joseph’s Home with her grandmother, who would give coins to the poor along Bukit Timah Road – coins accumulated after making her grocery purchases. She would also offer masses for the poor and sick at the Carmelite monastery at Bukit Teresa Road. Mary maintains close ties with the Carmelite sisters at the monastery and visits them on special occasions and feast days.
With her caring and compassionate nature, nursing was a natural choice for her, as a profession. Mary served in a ward to care for the sick just before she started her course formally. She worked as a nurse for five years before she became a homemaker when her first child was born.
Youthful, energetic Mary
Education is key
Mary joined the Society of St Vincent de Paul’s Holy Family Conference in 1975 when her two children were older. She feels satisfied and happy when she sees the improvements in the lives of her FINs due to education. “Education is very important. No one can rob you of your educational qualification and it opens doors to work opportunities.”
She is deeply concerned about her FINs and would sometimes make deliberate detours to their neighbourhood just to check on the children – ensuring that they are not engaging with ‘wrong company’ at the void decks. She recalled her FIN struggled to make a living, leaving her two children to fend for themselves at home. She was glad that the children turned around and are now making good progress in school after they became motivated to focus on their studies after constant encouragement and prayers she offered for the family.
Simple but deep faith
Mary’s faith is simple but deep. She sees prayer as an integral part of her Vincentian mission. “We must pray. Work without prayer will not have any meaning. With prayer, you know Christ is leading you”.
When asked if she has plans to slow down, Mary shook her head and said “until the Lord wants me to stop. I will know then.”