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No Big White Fluffy Cake!

13 September, 2022

On the 15th August this year Sr Noreen from the Gladstone Parish celebrated 50 years of living her vowed life as a Marist Missionary Sister.

When discussions first began concerning the celebration, the subject of a jubilee cake arose.  Sr Noreen’s immediate response was  “ We won’t have a big white fluffy cake.  My 50 years as a missionary is not well  represented by A BIG WHITE FLUFFY CAKE! “

She explained that such a kind of cake would not be a true celebration of her missionary life. And that is why at the celebration on the 15th August there was presented to the assembled parishioners a group of 11 cakes, all made by women of the parish, of varying size, shape and flavour. … A truer representation of the varied situations of her missionary life.

Some of the Not Fluffy White Cakes

When asked what she would like as a gift for her jubilee, Noreen  said she would like to offer to the people of Gladstone parish the opportunity for some times of quiet reflection and retreat. So three events were planned. 

  1. A couple of days to slow down and appreciate beauty at Awoonga Dam
  2. A day of reflection at Tannum Sands Church
  3. Mass and meal for the Feast of the Assumption at Tannum Sands Church

These events were organized by a wonderful team of parishioners co-ordinated  by Mr Graham Lindner and together they worked with such diverse groups as the Lions Club who did the barbecuing for the night and the EBITS from Tannum High School who provided servers for the meal. Congratulations to all concerned.

The Marist Missionary Sisters provided a spiritual guide, Sr Jacinta, for the two proposed retreat events:

  1. One was for a three day, time of reflection at Awoonga Dam
    Parishioners stayed at the Caravan Park on site, in cabins, caravans and tents.   Some parishioners came for day-only participation, from Gladstone, Tannum Sands and Calliope. This time of reflection ran from Wednesday the 10th August to Friday the 12th August.  The weather was wonderful and the surroundings provided so much of God’s beauty in water, mountains, clouds, flora and fauna. All attending appreciated the opportunity to slow down and to hear again God’s personal call whispered in their own hearts.
  1. Of course not all were free to attend during this week, so a single day on Saturday the 13th was arranged and was offered at the Tannum Sands Church. Again those who were able to attend appreciated the way in which Sr Jacinta led them to consider again and more deeply their call to holiness and their living of that call through the blessings of the Beatitudes.

The third event was the Mass followed by a meal held at Tannum Sands.

Bishop Michael, presided at Eucharist and the priests of the parish, Frs Andrew and Ashwin concelebrated. They were joined by Fr Paul Mahony, a Marist priest, who had been parish priest in Gladstone when Sr Noreen arrived there.

During the Mass, six Marist Missionary Sisters renewed their vows.

This renewal had a profound effect on the congregation as many had not ever been present at a religious vows ceremony. And of course having six Marist Missionary Sisters together was itself a momentous occasion.  As   “ad gentes”, that is overseas, Missionaries they generally live in small isolated communities and on the night of the 15th August, they were the largest community gathered in the region. What joy!!

And as the NOT BIG WHITE FLUFFY CAKEs were cut, the sisters sang in the words of St Paul:-

I thank my God each time I think of you and when I pray for you, I pray with joy.

It was truly a joyous occasion and further laughter ensued when a slide show presentation of This Is Your Life was presented to Noreen by the sisters.

I am truly grateful for the people who have come into my life and shaped and reshaped its journey over the last 50 years. I feel so blessed and give thanks for the faithfulness of a loving God.

This is the day that the Lord has made:

 Let us Rejoice and be Glad!

Noreen smsm