Sister Stanislaus, born Martha Zgrajewski on 31 August 1911, recently celebrated her 102 birthday at Holy Cross Aged Care, Wooloowin in Brisbane. The celebrations were paced over the week preceding 31 August with family, friends and sisters ‘dropping in’ at Holy Cross for cups of tea or coffee and the sharing of stories of Stani’s early life at North Arm, Queensland, her birth and parent’s joy with the gift of a precious daughter or ‘angel’ and of course Stani’s life as a Sister of Mercy and entertainer par excellence.
In the course of pre-celebrations Stani shared many stories with two highlighting her love of people and music, and her deep love of and trust in God. In the first, Pauline Smoothy rsm visited Stani with documents for her to ‘sign over’ a range of unusual and well-used musical instruments to the Mercy Heritage Centre for safe keeping and display. Stani’s musings after the event were simple, ‘I don't need them anymore, if this gives joy to others - why not?’ The second occurred during the small but enthusiastic celebrations with a group of sister residents and friends at Holy Cross. Stani spoke about the experiences of poverty which were part of her childhood and early adulthood at North Arm, but with a twist, ‘We may have been poor and had not much but we - the Zgrajewski’s - were rich and the envy of others. We had love and faith, two things we were certain of’. Amazing insights across a century and more of living!
The Holy Cross celebrations featured in the photos show this loving, joyful and faithful woman enjoying the moment and of course being the centre of attention. At the conclusion of the party in true Stani-style her thank you included, ‘I’ll have Mass offered for your families, friends and all Sisters of Mercy living or dead’.
Happy 102 birthday and God’s blessings Stani from us all!