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Celebrating 150 years of Sisters of Mercy 2

19 August, 2023

Sitting: Mary Wildie, Rita Connor, Mary Moynihan, Dominica Camilleri, Beryl Amedee,
Geraldine Gregory, Carmel Hynes, Joan Shepherd, Stancia Cawte, Lila Galvin, Baptist Matheson

Middle: Desma Clarke, Regina Camilleri, Denise Hinton, Anne Keim, Moira Truelson,
Berneice Loch, Marie Riddel, Marlene Fitzgibbons, Margaret Graves, Pat Wood, Brenda Moss

Back: Margaret Dixon, Anne Slattery, Carmel Daley, Margaret Schofield, Mary Badger, Carolyn Hunt, Bernadette Mary Reece, Maria Jean Rhule, Maria Goretti Healy, Kerry-Ann Sullivan, Anne McGuire, Grace Bartolo, Justina Bedford, Joanne Molloy

Recently, the Sisters enjoyed a triduum of memorable celebrations which honoured the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first Sisters of Mercy in Rockhampton on 4 August 1873. We focussed on remembering and giving thanks to God for the many women who had been members of our former Congregation and whose lives enriched the presence of Mercy in Central Queensland and beyond. Sisters who joined us for this occasion included Sister Gaye Lennon (Institute Leadership Team) and former Community Leaders, namely Sisters Helen White and Bev Whitton.

Our celebrations included:

  • Wednesday, 2 August: A long-time friend of the Sisters, Fr Frank Gilbert, presided at Eucharist in the Rockhampton Mater Hospital Chapel. After Mass, we enjoyed a tasty lunch in the stately ‘Kenmore’ building where a tribute to the Sisters was paid by Dr Peter Steer (Mater Group Chief Executive) and each Sister received a beautiful yellow rose.
  • Thursday morning, 3 August: Our Diocesan Catholic Education Office and The Cathedral College combined to honour the Sisters with a spirited celebration of the Eucharist in a crowded St Joseph’s Cathedral. After the Mass, the students served morning tea and Diocesan Director of Catholic Education, Miss Leesa Jeffcoat, spoke words of congratulations and gratitude to the Sisters of Mercy.
Cutting the cake at the 150 Years Morning Tea for the Sisters of Mercy are (centre l-r) Sr Denise Hinton and Sr Berneice Loch together with CEDR Director Leesa Jeffcoat and students from The Cathedral College, Rockhampton and St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, North Rockhampton.
  • On Thursday afternoon, our Mercy community gathered in Our Lady of Good Counsel Chapel, The Range, for a time of Remembering and Giving Thanks. The traditional tolling of the bell called us to prayer during which we recalled each of the three hundred and ninety-eight women whose names are written in our Profession Register. As we acknowledged the Sisters and proclaimed ‘God’s mercy is from age to age’, incense was sprinkled on the coals.
Sr Marie Riddel sprinkles incense on the coals as we remembered our Sisters
  • Friday morning, 4 August: Our Foundation Day celebrations culminated when we gathered again in our Chapel to share Eucharist with Fr Bill Senn. After Mass, we enjoyed morning tea where a celebratory cake was cut by Sisters M Regina Camilleri and Lila Galvin and Sr Gaye Lennon proposed a toast to the local Sisters.

Photo 1 Sisters Carmel Hynes, Maria Goretti Healy & Mary Moynihan (front) Sisters Justina Bedford, Anne Slattery & Denise Hinton (back)

Photo 2 Sisters Marg Dixon & Grace Bartolo

Photo 3 Sisters Regina Camilleri & Lila Galvin cut the cake