The Joy of Visitation Ministry
The Joy of Visitation Ministry –
Meeting Folks . . .
. . . like long-time parishioner, sprightly Betty Wilson who at 97 (98 in April) has lived by herself since husband Ray passed away 47 years ago. She’s in the same house that she and Ray built – in the same neighbourhood where she and her four younger siblings grew up. She was born in Balmain but the family moved to Ryde when she was three.
Betty in a corner of her sunroom
where she receives Visitation Ministers.
Betty remembers receiving her First Holy Communion from Fr Edward Gell (Parish Priest, 1920-1947). She studied at St Charles Borromeo where she finished Intermediate Class in 1936. When asked if she went to university, she exclaimed: What? Uni was only for the rich! On my 15th birthday, Mum woke me up to say I could start looking for a job. Actually there was a job lined up for her at a Darling St., Rozelle company where Mum worked as a seamstress.
How does she manage being on her own?
A granddaughter who lives in Narellan does her shopping and banking and brings her cooked meals every fortnight. Betty makes her breakfast and does her laundry.
Except for mowing and pruning, she tends her well-maintained garden. A cleaner comes every fortnight.
Betty uses a cane and/or a walker in and around the house; a wheelchair when she’s taken out.
She’s an avid reader of crime stories. She has a notebook filled with the titles and authors of the books she has read. Ryde Library supplies her with six books every month. Friends and relatives also bring her books as the six from the library are sometimes not enough. . . And she still sews!
A special yearly event she looks forward to is the family gathering on Christmas Eve at her son’s home in Wollongong. That’s when she gets to be with her other son who lives in Coffs Harbour, her daughters-in-law, her seven grandchildren, 34 great grandchildren and five great great grandchildren.
Except for low thyroxin, Betty has no serious health problem.
The secret of her longevity? She couldn’t think of any straightaway, but when pressed she said: Oh maybe because I have a glass of flat wine (nothing fancy) every night. But after a few visits, I could add: Perhaps, it’s due to her positive, no nonsense attitude to life?
Betty’s back garden. The shadow at right is from a giant Chinese Elm tree, Ray’s favourite. It was planted by Betty’s brother months before Ray passed away.