Home' Aurora : Aurora October 2013 Contents Teacher at St Joseph's Campus, All Saints College,
Lochinvar, Luke Evans shares a significant encounter
with grace on the move.
In a chance encounter whilst shopping, I ran into Sister
Cabrini Boyle. Sr Cabrini was a teacher at my Catholic
Primary School at Belmont and I met her in 1988, when I
was in Year 3. Sr Cabrini is a force of nature. She zooms
around the room at a million miles an hour, always
working, always moving, ever-faithful and devoted to
service. I had barely seen her since primary school, so I
began with a rapid-fire reintroduction of myself -- my hair
is long and messy and I often don't recognise myself
-- but she knew who I was. She asked after my family
-- Mum and Dad, my two daughters (she remembered
I had two daughters!) -- and we had some small talk.
When I mentioned she was looking well, Sr Cabrini said
that she was celebrating sixty years since first professing
her vows as a Sister of St Joseph. Sixty years!
Sr Cabrini was one of six celebrating Diamond Jubilees,
along with two who were celebrating their Golden Jubilees
and three more celebrating Platinum Jubilees -- seventy
years of devotion and service to their communities. Sr
Cabrini humbly smiled and said that her congregation was
celebrating the following day and could I come? I said I
would try. One of my girls had a party and I was looking
after the other one; the little tornado who can't sit still for
I headed home and couldn't stop thinking about it. Fifty,
sixty and seventy years of service to others. Teaching,
visitations, serving the poor and needy, Masses
and celebrations, funerals and weddings, hospitals,
churches and cemeteries. For a total of 670 years, these
extraordinary women had served others in accordance
with their beliefs in Christ and in their people. How much
had they given? How much had they sacrificed? How
much had they endured in their service to others? So
many years of service were unfathomable to me. I was
going to that Mass.
Sr Cabrini was one of the first Church-going Catholics I
encountered. I met her at Belmont Primary School in the
time set aside for voluntary religious studies. Sr Cabrini
encouraged me to join the class, saw something in me
and encouraged my family to have me switch schools.
As a consequence, my family returned to the church after
an absence of ten years. Sr Cabrini and our local priest,
Fr Peter Brock, supported our family through my sister's
cancer and through my mother's journey back to her much-
cherished faith. In time, my father also joined the church.
The roll-on effects of that act for our family are incredible.
Sr Cabrini and her fellow Sisters are a powerful example
of the good religious orders do every day. The Sisters
of St Joseph arrived in this diocese 130 years ago and
began teaching the very next day. In these times when
so much scorn and ridicule has fallen on us as a faith
and many are asking what, if any, is the benefit of religion
to our world, we can proudly hold up our Sisters as an
example of goodness, justice and love for the world. As
Fr Reg Howard SSC said, preaching at the Jubilee Mass,
"Australians like to see religion with its sleeves rolled up."
I arrived at the church with my daughter and had to
chase her around for most of it, much to the amusement
of the Sisters and their guests. I was fairly ignorant
of what I was attending, really. I hadn't realised how
'big' the day would be and that almost all the 'black'
Josephites would be there. Many of the Sisters from my
school and my past parishes were there, faces I had
not seen in years. One of the Sisters asked me if I was
coming to lunch afterwards and I said I would. I hadn't
realised it was a formal affair though, with prearranged
It was my intention to come in and say a quick hello. I
was welcomed by the Sisters at the door who said they
would find me a seat and when I saw Sr Cabrini inside
she quickly ushered me to a chair at her table. What
beautiful, incredible women these are! I saw in that room
the faces of my entire Catholic life. Priests I have known
and Sisters from all through my school and church lives,
as well as the beautiful Sisters from Lochinvar where I
now teach. I had a lovely time and amused the Sisters
and their guests once again by having to chase my little
terror around the room. She was a good little girl for me
really and had a great time.
I came home and began writing immediately. I
wanted to take some time to focus on this remarkable
achievement. Over 670 years in the service of our
community, not to mention the combined service of the
entire congregation. Our community has been enriched
by these incredible women.
Sisters, you have inspired me for years, and again today,
and hopefully something in the service I give, lives up to
To see a gallery of photos from the Sisters'
celebration, please visit www.mn.catholic.org.au..
"Religion with its
sleeves rolled up"
BY LUKE EVANS
The 2013 Jubilarians are:
Sisters Eucharia Jackson, Loretta Mary Mullins and
Margaret Connell: 70 years professed.
Sisters Betty Brown, Cabrini Boyle, Catherine Sheedy,
Denise Edmunds, Ann Gallagher and Norah Creigh: 60
Sisters Kate Brazier and Carmel Lillis: 50 years
Congratulations and thank you Sisters!
Sr Cabrini Boyle RSJ with Sr Patricia McCarthy RSJ at the Mass to celebrate the jubilarians.
Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle www.mn.catholic.org.au
SEASONS OF GRACE
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