Over 25 Sisters of Saint Joseph from across the Congregation celebrated their Diamond Jubilee recently marking 60 years since their first profession. They were able to gather and acknowledge the event at Mary MacKillop Place in North Sydney where they also celebrated with other Sisters, family and friends.
Those Sisters who were not able to attend were remembered, particularly the eight Sisters from this profession group now resting with God.
Congregational Leader, Sister Monica Cavanagh, welcomed the Jubilarians, Sisters and guests to the Diamond Jubilee celebration. Chief celebrant, Bishop Terry Brady, congratulated the Jubilarians on their vowed commitment. The Jubilarians were invited to renew their vows by Sister Monica, and their renewed commitment was met with applause from the Congregation.
“Sixty years ago these Sisters embarked on a journey,” says Sr Monica. “Like St Joseph our patron, they took risks, travelling to unfamiliar places of mission, sometimes to unknown borders to serve the most vulnerable in our world. They have remained ever faithful to the Gospel call in the Josephite way.
“These Sisters have served in a variety of ministries in Ireland, Brazil, Peru, Papua New Guinea, Aotearoa New Zealand, and all the states of Australia. Between them they have educated thousands of young people, extended hands of welcome in pastoral settings, walked alongside First Nations people, and served in leadership roles in the Congregation. Many have lived in rural parishes and communities where their presence and acts of kindness have been a source of relieving suffering and bringing hope.”
Jubilarian, Sister Katrina Brill, felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for her 60-year journey.
“I can never adequately describe why I was drawn to religious life, I just knew I could do no other,” says Sr Katrina who lives in Aotearoa New Zealand. “I became captivated by the scripture passage where Jesus says, ‘Follow me’. Right in front of me I saw Sisters teaching, that were very dedicated and working together. I wanted to join them to make a difference, to face the conflicts arising in our world, to relieve suffering in some way.
“A highlight for me was 10 years as Director of Religious Education in the Diocese of Auckland, setting up the first Theological Institute for lay people in New Zealand. The flourishing of hope in life through adult faith education was my dream.
“Another highlight was the call to be Congregational Leader between 2002 – 2008. While there were challenges that needed to be attended to, the overall privilege I had was to be with the Sisters at their Assembly Days or visit them in their local areas, encouraging hope however and wherever we were.”