This article was originally published in the March 2023 issue of the Congregation of the Mission Western Province newsletter, The Vincentian, as part of of three-piece article on the Apostle of Charity Residence on the St. Mary’s of the Barrens Campus in Perryville, MO. 

Tears come to Mary Comte’s eyes when she talks about what she has received from the retired men she cares for as Director of Health Care at the Apostle of Charity Residence in Perryville, MO.

She has been in that role since 2005 and has seen many Vincentian priests and brothers come to the Residence in retirement. She’s seen just as many take the short last trip to the Vincentian cemetery on the building’s west side.

With the whole of her career in healthcare, she said it feels good to be able to use her expertise to help the men receive the healthcare they need. At the same time, she says they have given her and the other staff much in return.

“I wasn’t aware of the community of the Vincentians,” she said. “The family aspect is very touching. It can teach you how to interact with your own family—to be more spiritual, to have more patience.”

She has also learned from the leadership styles exhibited by the residents, who have headed major institutions and the province itself, and she has developed friendships and a lifetime of memories.

“Over the years, I have met some really wonderful people,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot from them and remember things I’ve heard from them, even after they have been gone for many years. They have taught me a lot of lessons in life, and it has been very rewarding—very rewarding.”