VIETNAMESE pensioner Nhi-Thuy Vu offered her “widow’s mite” at a Brisbane gathering to launch the first ever Annual Catholic Campaign to raise funds for key projects in the archdiocese.
This came after the launch when she offered an envelope containing her donation to Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane.
However, equally valuable were her words of encouragement to the assembly during a question-and-answer session after the Archbishop’s address.
Thuy, as she prefers to be known, gave a mighty testimony to the rewards of generous giving to Church projects.
“I am a pensioner,” she said.
“The principle is I am spending Jesus’ money.
“So I give some back to him.
“I ask you to open your hearts and wallets.
“Be confident in doing this because Jesus promised he would provide for us.”
After the launch, Thuy explained further why she was such an enthusiastic giver.
As she spoke with The Catholic Leader, several people from the launch came up to congratulate her.
Thuy said she had come to Australia in the late 1950s “because we lost our country to the Communists”.
“I was born in the north of Vietnam and we moved south with family many years earlier,” she said.
“We couldn’t live in the north any more … it was too dangerous.”
Eventually Thuy won a Colombo Plan scholarship to the University of New South Wales.
A Bachelor of Commerce qualification eventually led her to teach high school economics, her first school being Brisbane’s Michelton State High School.
“I’ve been donating money to the Church ever since I was a student,” Thuy said.
“That is my source of happiness to be able to do this.
“It truly is a gift from the Lord to have this happiness.
“It’s a blessing I’ve had since my childhood.”
Thuy said at times life had been hard and she had raised her four children – three girls and a boy – mostly on her own.
She sent her son, who now lives in Yeronga, to St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace, and her three daughters to “the Brigidine Sisters”.
“This was a very scary time,” she said.
“But the Lord provided.”
These days she spends time between St Stephen’s Cathedral and her home parish Moorooka, attending Mass and praying.
From Monday to Saturday she goes to the 10am and 12.30pm Masses in the cathedral.
She also goes to Mass at Moorooka for the Saturday vigil.
“I go to 10 Masses for the kids and 12 for myself,” Thuy said.
Her time at the cathedral between Masses spent praying in the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament is truly special for her.
“Here I am in the presence of Our Lord Jesus because I know he loves me and wants to see my face,” she said.
Thuy said it was this belief which had led her to respond so enthusiastically to Archbishop Coleridge’s words.
“We should encourage one another … although it did take me a lot of courage to raise my hand,” she said.
“I was also saying that Jesus will always return what we give.
“Because he says in the Our Father ‘give us this day our daily bread’, and he always gives us our daily bread even if only a sandwich or a cup of tea.”