Our Sisters – Sr. Mary William
Sr. Mary William Verhoeven hails from beautiful Holland which her parents left for the greener pastures of Wyoming in southwestern Ontario when she was a young child. Here her family gradually established itself and grew. As the eldest of eight, very early in life she learned to shoulder responsibility, something she has done in a variety of different ways throughout her entire life.
Taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph, she was accustomed to those wonderful women in long black robes. However, God did not call the young woman to join their congregation. Her heart was drawn to the distant lands of Africa about which she read in a pamphlet of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood. After the years of initial formation, Sr. Mary William pursued a career in nursing, though medicine had always been her desire. As the chief nurse at the then St. Bernard’s Convalescent Hospital she cared for the many entrusted to her care. Again, God had other plans for the young sister. At the age of thirty-five the responsibility of provincial leadership was laid on her young shoulders. The first of many hats she would wear over the years. Administrator of Mariann Home for many years, assistant to the next provincial superior, until much to her surprise, the lot once more fell on her. Yes, once again she was asked to shoulder the burden of being at the helm of the North American Province.
One might rightly say, well done good and faithful servant, enjoy some years of leisure. Not Sr. Mary William. She continues to wear a variety of hats. The provincial treasurer’s hat, and the hat of the local leader of the downtown pre-novitiate. Then there are the various committees she sits on, filling in any spare time she might have. Over many years Sr. Mary William has sat on the committee of the Pastoral Mission Fund of the Archdiocese of Toronto, and the Catholic Health Sponsors of Ontario. Though no longer hands on at Mariann Home or St. Bernard’s Residence, she continues to share her expertise with the board of both institutions.
Of course there is more to Sr. Mary William than the hard working woman. Multi-talented she has always made time to read, to tend to plants, and once in a while she has stitched beautiful needle point. Being a very patient woman, she is always willing to help any sister struggling with the intricacies and challenges of computers. Oh, and then of course there are those lovely summer days, conducive to renewing her spirits, when Sr. Mary William can be found paddling a canoe at our cottage. If you are privileged to spend time with her at the cottage, you will be treated to delicious wholesome meals. If you are up to it, she will challenge you to a game of Scrabble later in the evening, a game she often wins. She is a winner, in more ways than one.