With praise and thanksgiving the Sisters of Mercy Brisbane Congregation celebrated the life and religious commitment of eleven Jubilarians – Sr Germaine Greathead (70 years) Srs Carmen Coffey, Anna Donovan, Joan Lynch, Elizabeth O’Connell, Mary O’Donoghue, Elizabeth Pointing and Roseanne Quinn (60 years), Srs Brigid Frawley and Pauline Smoothy (50 years) and Sr Maria Sullivan (40 years). Very Rev Dr David Pascoe was celebrant of the Eucharist in All Hallows’ Chapel on Sunday 21 May. Following the Jubilarians renewal of their vows, those present proclaimed “Jubilarians, encouraged by the witness of your life of commitment, together may we continue the work of the Gospel courageously, compassionately and without reserve”. The celebration of the Liturgy was enhanced by the beautiful singing led by Anne O’Farrell rsm as organist and Peta Goldburg rsm as conductor.
Following the celebration of Eucharist, the Sisters gathered for a celebratory meal.
In proposing the toast to the Sister Jubilarians, Genevieve Caffery rsm said
“As I reflected on their day-to-day life and living, what has really struck me as fundamental and definingis the myriad of human encounters that each Sister has experienced over all these years. Mind-blowing and uncountable – even for the mathematically gifted. Immeasurable in their effect. Some encounters but fleeting moments, others forging long-standing relationships. Their inspiration and model – surely Jesus - who, as he traversed the towns and countryside of his homeland, had such life-changing, intriguing encounters with all sorts of people - people of all ages and standing,in all kinds of situations and most especially with those neglected and ignored by their communities. No doubt in our current times, they’re hearing and heeding the voice of Pope Francis for whom the ‘culture of encounter’ is a cornerstone of his worldview and who reminds us that:
“faith is an encounter with Jesus, and that we must do what Jesus does: encounter others.”
Catherine McAuley, too, has called for such human relating imbued with ‘the kind word, the gentle, compassionate look, and the patient hearing of sorrows.’
Through answering the call to be women of mercy with and for others,each of our Jubilarians, has, in her unique way, responded according to personality and gifts in bringing comfort, encouragement and hope to those they have encountered, especially to those in distress. How many bridges of understanding, how much unleashing of creativity, what strengthening for the struggle ahead, what mutual enrichment have these encounters brought about! This is the stuff of life. The heart of it all.
This is a time for celebration, a time of gratitude for all that has been received and given, a time for congratulations to good and faithful servants - Germaine at the platinum pinnacle, followed by quite a cluster of diamonds – Elizabeth, Anna, Mary, Elizabeth, Roseanne, Joan and Carmen; then a golden duo – Pauline and Brigid and rounding the eleven a solitaire ruby, Maria. This is a time for you all, who have given much, to enjoy ‘a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, poured into your laps’.”
L to R
Front Row: Srs Elizabeth Pointing, Germaine Greathead and Joan Lynch
Middle Row: Srs Maria Sullivan, Roseanne Quinn, Elizabeth O'Connell, Mary O'Donoghue and Carmen Coffey.
Back row: Srs Pauline Smoothy and Brigid Frawley
Absent: Sr Anna Donovan