Hers is a ministry of presence, sharing both the good times and the bad with those in her care.
Sister Mary also prepares children in isolated places for the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Confirmation and Eucharist.
She travels great distances by four wheel drive and also conducts much of her ministry via phone, email and “snail mail”.
Aerial Ministry using a Cessna 172 operated in the far western isolated region of the Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton. Initially run by Frs Tom Martin and Justin Clare, followed by Fr Terry Loth and finally by Sr Anne Maree Jensen pvbm from 1981 until 2000.
With changing demographics in the area, families moving off properties and companies taking over with fly-in managers, it was no longer feasible or economical to operate an aircraft.
Some phone systems and limited internet access were now available, so the ministry was restructured to use a four wheel drive vehicle to visit far-flung places on a less regular basis than was done in the aircraft. In the interim between visits, Sr Mary keeps in touch with people in the region via the internet and/or phone.
Ministry covers a vast area of Western Queensland and Sister Mary works in conjunction with personnel from the Central Western Deanery, which includes the parishes of Alpha/Jericho, Aramac/Muttaburra, Barcaldine, Longreach (incorporating Bedourie, Ilfracombe, Morella, Jundah and Isisford.) and Blackall/Tambo.
Based for a number of years in Longreach and run by a St John of God Sister, Sr Mary Kiely, this ministry’s base was moved to Barcaldine in 2006 and to the end of 2014 was run by two Marist Sisters, Sr Cath Lacey and Sr Mary Farrelly. Sr Mary is presently the only minister.
P: 07 4651 2939
115 Gidyea Street
PO Box 237
Barcaldine Qld 4725