In Memoriam – Josephine Teo (RIP)

Of the many Catholics that I know, only a handful of people have lived such inspirational lives – so inspirational – that they have made a huge impact on me.

One such person is Josephine Teo.

I first got to know her about ten years ago through the Legion of Mary. What struck me about her was her devotion to the Legion.

Legion was not just any ministry that you would join and leave after some time: it was not some group where you would come in as and when you would. No, for her, Legion was her life.

Among all the Legionaries that I’ve known in my entire life, she was one of the few who knew the handbook – it’s rules, principles, and spirituality – almost inside out. And she lived them. She lived it so devotedly that her life was almost inseparable from it.

Even as a mother, and a full-time nurse, she had been so dedicated to the works of the Legion, going overseas to carry out missionary works, and works that I would term, “diplomatic relations”, with the Legionaries around the region. The amount of time and effort that she gave to the Legion was so much, one would have thought that she was single and/or working part-time. I was very surprised when I found out much much later that she had a daughter (maybe more? Am not sure) and was working as a nurse.

Truly, she gave her all.

What also impressed me is that she was a great planner and leader. She handled large-scale events so well: in leading, planning, and executing. So professionally was it done, it just leaves me with awe and respect. She did all that despite work and family commitments.


More amazing would be that despite her battle with cancer, she still continued to be very active in her services in the Legion, doing everything well, as always, and making sure that everything was going smoothly.

I suppose this was her remarkable sign of holiness. People mistake holiness to mean doing holy things (and being very dull and boring). Rather, holiness is in being disciplined and regular, especially in doing the small things. Indeed, she took up many big projects. But those big projects would not have been a success had she not, in the first place, been successful in keeping faithful to doing the small little tasks well. In fact, for her to be able to copy with family, work, and her duties in the Legion is indeed a sign of the effects of supernatural graces at work. Did she possess a great love for God? Presumably so (I can’t say definitely since I don’t know her that well) from all that commitment and dedication made towards serving the Church through the Legion.

If there’s one thing the Church needs most, it’s people like Josephine, to constantly inspire others with her love, faithfulness, dedication, and holiness. To be like Our Blessed Mother, in saying, “Let it be done according to Thy word”, with such great faith and love, that enables the Holy Spirit to work with and through her in all that she does.

The usual mantra of today is that we have no time to do great things for God. And yet Josephine has shown in her entire lifetime, that despite family and work commitments, she was able to do so much for the salvation of souls.

We need more people like her to give testimony by the example of their lives. To show to other Catholics that such dedication is possible. That agreeing to co-operate with God’s Divine Will, allows Him to perform the supernatural through ordinary natural hands. We need more people like her to inspire more people to live good Catholic lives.

She had indeed been a source of great inspiration for me. And I pray that many more will come to be a source of inspiration to others.

Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master!
(Matthew 25:21)

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine.
Et lux perpetua luceat ei.
Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Author: Jonathan Y. H. Sim

Jonathan Sim is an Instructor with the Department of Philosophy at the National University of Singapore. He is passionate about teaching and he continues to research fun and innovative ways of engaging students to learn effectively. He has been teaching general education modules to a diverse range of undergraduate students and adult learners at the University.

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