by Alina Trowbridge
Most of us know that guests at St. Anthony Foundation have amazing stories. Not everyone realizes that some of our donors do, too. A woman who escaped from China during the early years of Communism has left St. Anthony’s $100,000.
Mary Westwood Hyndman was born in Shanghai and went to Catholic schools there, where she learned fluent English. She married in 1945. Four years later, the Communist Party took control of the city. She and her family endured 8 years of government surveillance and intermittent questioning. Finally, they decided to leave.
The family made the 18-day voyage to San Francisco in 1957, and never went back. The only time Mary left the U.S. again was a trip to London to visit the grave of her father, who had served in Shanghai under British rule. The refugee experience left its mark. Her family says she chose St. Anthony Foundation for her bequest partly because she was touched by our no-questions-asked service to immigrant families.
St. Anthony’s unites vastly different people in an unlikely community. Mary’s bequest will help us serve immigrant families from Mexico, Central America, and Southeast Asia. It will feed, clothe, and counsel people with mental and addictive illness who come from Mongolia, Korea, and California. It will pay for supportive housing for elderly women from China, Russia, the Philippines, and the Fillmore. All of these people are one community in St. Anthony Foundation; all will share in Mary Hyndman’s bequest.