Sr Campion McCarthy
Born Zyltha Muriel McCarthy on January 23rd 1916 in Junee, she was the first child of Jack and Eunice McCarthy. Their second born, Eunice, died at an early age and Zrayda, Brian and Patricia completed the family unit. She attended Old Junee Primary School and won a state bursary to attend a secondary high school of her choice. She chose Mount Erin Wagga Wagga and her love of learning, except cooking, continued with her right throughout her life. After seven years working in Sydney to pursue a career in accounting she returned to Junee where she worked in the Flour Mill Accounting office.
She entered the Presentation Sisters at Mount Erin and was professed in May 1947. She taught Latin, French, and Maths in Hay, Berrigan, Young as well as Sutherland before her final years of teaching at Trinity Senior High, Wagga.
From 1984 until 1996 Campion worked on the Marriage Tribunal for the Wagga Diocese at McAlroy House. She worked tirelessly as Arch Bishop Carroll said “giving pastoral care to people who had known grief and loss in their marriages and were seeking to rebuild their lives.”
Campion lived the simple life – love, joy, laughter and God – love of God in all. She loved Gerard Manley Hopkin’s poetry, as it expressed the beauty of the world around her. Her love of cats and dogs is well known.
Campion was an avid letter writer keeping constant contact with family members, old classmates, ex-students, and friends she made in every place she taught or worked. She never forgot a birthday or anniversary and often reminded family members of recent family events. The letters could be witty, poetic, profound and wise and recipients treasured them.
Over her 101 years of lived experience she faced the challenges of change that were never dreamt of when she entered the convent in her twenties. Whilst the years brought a diminishment of eyesight and hearing together with her loss of independence, there were moments when the twinkle in her eye and chuckle were shared with those who visited. Her joy in God was integral to her life “God’s good and He gets better every day”. More recently she even thought maybe God had forgotten her as she was taking so long to die.
Sr Campion died on 28th May 2017. Her funeral Mass was celebrated by Rev Paul Hart(relative) in St Michael’s Cathedral. Arch Bishop Francis Carroll concluded his homily with the words “the hope in the heart of Sister Campion put her life-story in its context and gives voice to our prayer for her: “I” said Jesus, “came that you may have life and have it abundantly – have it to the full.” Jn 10:10
Junee Correctional Centre chaplain Sister Rosemary Terry awarded OAM
Chief Chaplain, Kairos Prison Ministry, 2003-2015.
Chaplain, Junee Correctional Centre, 1993-2015.
Part-Time Chaplain, (three days per week), since 2015.
Member, Society of Presentation Sisters, ‘for over 55 years’. Primary School Teacher, ‘for 20 years’.
Giving someone a “fair go” is just not a mantra to Rosemary – it’s the way she lives her vocation. For the past 24 years she has worked as a chaplain at the Junee Correctional Centre, a place where she sees the failings of people as well a place of hope. “It has given me more understanding of people and their struggles.”
Sister Rosemary said she had been motivated to become a prison chaplain by the spirit of Nano Nagle, the founder of the Presentation Sisters in Ireland in 1775. Some of the prisoners at the Junee Correctional Centre simply call her Sister Rose.
Rosemary’s work has involved giving inmates hope, letting them know someone cares and giving them respect. Rosemary says “I think it is a case of trying to support and encourage (inmates) but at the same time challenging them to look at what is causing their offending behaviour.”
Born at Oaklands, Rosemary Terry was educated at Urana and Wagga before joining the Presentation Sisters in 1961. After completing her novitiate, Sister Rosemary trained as a teacher and taught for 20 years in Wagga (St Mary’s, Maria Goretti and Sacred Heart), Hay, Berrigan and Sydney.
Rosemary began her work at the Junee Correctional Centre in 1993 as a volunteer. The needs of the prison and her teaching skills were like a match made in heaven. Literacy and numeracy were big needs. After some time Rosemary became the chaplain. She now works three days week.
“I feel I am receiving this award on behalf of a lot of people – the sisters in the Presentation congregation and the staff at the Junee Correctional Centre, all those I work with.”
Sr Mary Clancy(John)
As Mary struggled over the last six years with dementia, our memories of her as a resident at Loreto Home of Compassion where, as Henri Nouwen says, “we couldn’t cure her however we could always care for her” seem uppermost in our minds.
Mary was the second child in a family of eight. Mary’s early life was largely devoted to being a help for her parents and a carer of her younger siblings. Mary’s first school years were spent in home-schooling with her siblings and cousins at ‘Shandon”, her aunt and uncle’s farm. Mary’s brother, John Kerry, died suddenly from an eczema-asthma attack so she experienced death early in life.
Mary’s father prepared Mary for her First Communion which she made at Urangeline, NSW. From there Mary and Margaret went to boarding school at Stockinbingal when it opened and then when the Urangeline East Public School was established Mary spent a year there. By this time the Presentation Sisters had opened a boarding school in Urana and so Mary and Margaret were among the first enrolled at St Francis Xavier’s. After her completion of the Intermediate Certificate Mary was invited to go to the Presentation Juniorate at “Nagle Holme”, Hunter’s Hill.
It was at “Nagle Holme” that she met Mary Silk and others she was later to enter the Convent with. In January, 1947, Mary’s father had a farming accident and died a couple of days later. This was a severe shock for Mary who was specially bonded to her father. Mary completed her Leaving Certificate in 1947 and after a holiday at home entered the Convent with four companions on 11th February 1948. Mary was professed on the 16th January 1951.
Her ministry involved primary school teaching, being principal of many schools and teaching at the same time, One of Mary’s most endearing traits was loving and supporting the children with needs, whether they had learning difficulties, were a trial in and out of the classroom or maybe had home problems. She always managed to see their good side; she could pinpoint where their learning was not improving – and she would do something about it.
Mary was also involved with State School catechetics in the Inner Western Suburbs of Sydney. – training catechists and preparing huge Italian migrant classes for the sacraments. This provided the opportunity for Mary to be open to change, adaptable and to develop a real sense of pastoral care for her pupils and their families. Mary taught in Primary schools at Como and Drummoyne in Sydney and Urana and Tarcutta in the Riverina.
In later years Mary worked in Pastoral Care at the Wagga Base Hospital. Those who were sick and grieving during those years remember with gratitude the loving care and compassion she gave them.
Mary died on 5th November, 2016 in the 65th year of her profession
Frances grew up on the family farm “Calmsley” at Uranquinty, with her parents Arthur and Mary Dengate together with her sister Joan and brothers Archie and Frank. Over the years she took a great interest in and love for the growing extended Dengate family as was evident at the celebration for her ninetieth birthday earlier this year.
Frances entered the Wagga Presentation Sisters in 1960. She had just turned 34 years of age and was an accomplished teacher, a demonstration teacher for the NSW Department of Education. She was professed September 3, 1962.
Frances’s ministry covered a broad spectrum. After 16 years of teaching in city and country schools she became involved in a variety of ministries. She was a librarian, a carer for the older sisters, a Pastoral Associate, a member of St. Vincent de Paul, visiting and hospitality. When she officially retired, her fine needlework, knitting and crochet were much sought after on sale days at the local Craft Stall.
Frances had a great appreciation for art, good literature, and beautiful music. In fact, she had a great love for all of life as a wise, gentle and loyal woman who lived simply, quietly appreciative of all around her. Her spirituality was grounded by her faithfulness, her integrity, trustworthiness and a deep sense of the meaning of life even in times of uncertainty and anxiety.
As Arch Bishop Carroll said in his homily “God’s word can also speak of, and to the life of a faith filled person who answered God’s call to consecrated life and lived it out doing good. In the words of the book of Proverbs, Frances was, and is, more precious than jewels; she was a precious jewel beloved by God and precious too, to her twofold families and her friends.”
Frances Dengate entered eternal life on 19th September 2016
SR CECILIA WILTSHIRE (AM)
Sr Cecilia Wiltshire pbvm was included in The Queen’s Birthday 2016 Honours List.
MEMBER (AM) IN THE GENERAL DIVISION OF THE ORDER OF AUSTRALIA
Cecilia has been honoured for significant service to the community through social welfare programs, to education, and to the Catholic Church in Australia.
She has worked tirelessly at the establishment of the Nagle Centre, a Family Care and Support Centre for people and families experiencing crisis and disadvantage in the Macarthur Region of NSW. She is Committee Chair for the Macarthur No Interest Loan Scheme, Good Shepherd Microfinance, co-founded in 1998. Recently Cecilia was awarded the New South Wales NILS Volunteer of the year at the National NILS Conference.
Cecilia has been a Director for many programs including Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor. She was Congregation Leader for the Presentation Sisters Wagga Wagga, from 1992-1997 and Principal and Secondary school teacher, Catholic Education New South Wales from 1960-1992.
We congratulate Sr. Cecilia, a most deserving and selfless woman, on this achievement.
Died: 13 December 2015
Sr Patricia Sydenham (Eugene) was professed as a Presentation Sister in 1954.
Over the next 30 years Patricia was a dedicated teacher to hundreds of children in Young, Wagga Wagga, Sutherland, and Five Dock before heading back to Hay. She also taught at Drummoyne and Haberfield and then returned to the country teaching at Tarcutta, Urana and Berrigan. Patricia loved her years as a teacher of the young children and enjoyed meeting their parents and families. Over the years she maintained contact with many though her letter writing and phone calls and all were remembered in her daily prayer.
After many years of teaching Patricia was called to a new phase of her life’s journey by using her gifts for compassion, joy and understanding to be a source of comfort to the Sisters living in hostel care both at Sutherland and Wagga Wagga.
Patricia’s family were very special to her, she loved them dearly and was immensely proud of them as they were of her. As one said “Aunty Pat was a gentle and caring person with an eternal smile who always saw the best in everyone and everything.”
Sr Patricia had many little sayings that inspired her in the way she lived and loved. One of her favourites was “We are Easter people and Alleluia is our song”. Being an Easter person was at the heart of who Patricia was for each of us. She not only expressed this Easter joy in her deep and personal relationship with Jesus but she radiated that Easter joy in how she lived it out in her daily life. Jesus was alive in her life and I am sure all of us who knew Patricia experienced that in her deep faith, great joy, compassion and empathy.
Died: 10 November 2015
Elaine Smith came to the Wagga Presentation Sisters Novitiate in 1947. She took the religious name of Majella and left behind a large and close family to whom she remained steadfastly devoted all her life.
Elaine possessed a resilience that blossomed over the years as she faced other daunting tasks and took them on with determination, gentleness, growing confidence and skill. She had an ability to live in the present moment and accept whatever life presented. Her ministry for nearly forty years (1950–1989) was in using her gifts to feed and nourish the Sisters at Mount Erin in Wagga Wagga, Domremy in Five Dock and the small country town of Urana. At Mount Erin, the kitchen had to be of commercial proportions as three meals a day were served to about 60 Sisters and 120 Boarders seven days a week for much of the year.
Through her gentle ways Elaine nourished more than the body! She supported and nourished a happy community with the kitchen staff and became friends with them.
Elaine loved pottering among her plants and many friends were beneficiaries of plants she had especially struck for them.
In the 90’s Elaine finally left behind her the arduous duties of former years, undertook Spiritual Renewal to nourish herself and in so doing was then able to further nourish others in her pastoral ministry of visiting the elderly, the sick, the shut-ins and the homeless. Elaine brought to this ministry the gift of herself ……her gentleness, firm faith, a listening ear, empathy for the other and a capacity for relating to each person with genuine interest and love.
Her 19 years at Sutherland were spent being very much part of the local. For many years she belonged to the Parish Friendship Club at St Patrick’s and always spoke of the people here with warmth and affection. Her last months at the Nagle Apartments, as her health declined, were spent in her usual way as she characteristically took a warm interest in the other residents.
Rest in peace Elaine
Sr Margaret Walsh pbvm
40 Years of Service in Catholic Education in the Riverina
During 2016 Sr Margaret Walsh pbvm is celebrating her Golden Jubilee of Religious Profession.
Margaret who has spent most of her life living and working in the Riverina was born in Narrandera the third of five children of Grace and Patrick Walsh and sister to Marie, Peter, Patricia and Michael.
Having completed her secondary education at Mt Erin High School Wagga Wagga, Margaret entered the Presentation novitiate and was professed three years later in 1966 in the Mt Erin Convent Chapel.
After teaching in Sydney at Sutherland and Drummoyne, Margaret has been involved in Catholic Education in the Riverina for over the past 40 years. This includes Principal and Year 5&6 teacher at Lockhart 1972-74 and Berrigan 1975-77. Adult Faith Educator at Berrigan 1978-81. Hay 1982-83, Mt Erin High School & Boarding School Wagga Wagga 1984-86, Diocesan Catechist Co-ordinator 1990-92 and Trinity Senior High School 1993-96. Sr Margaret has happy memories of the many students she taught over these years and is very appreciative of the support of the staff and parents.
Sr Barbara Webber on behalf of the Presentation Sisters offered the following tribute to Sr Margaret – “Sr Margaret has generously shared her Leadership skills and talents with so many over the years. Her implementation of programmes for Adult Education in the Faith, Co-ordinating Catechetics in the Diocese, being an innovative and committed member of our Presentation Leadership Team, our Presentation Associate programme, empowering men and women to become Prayer Companions, establishing the Breath of Life Ministry and many more. “
Looking back to April 26 2016.
The launch of “A Dream Unfolds” in April was held in a room overlooking the fields which slope down to the Blackwater River where the first scene of the book is set. There are many memories of the launch one of which is this setting, others are the inspirational blessing given to me through Sister Ivette, one of the Sisters at Ballygriffin, the love and veneration in which Nano is held by the Irish, and of course the thought, prayer and hard work which the Sisters at Ballygriffin, especially Nora and Lisa, put into the launch. Their attention to detail was remarkable – there was even a pen for the signing and a box for me to stand on so that I could see over the lectern and be seen.
Although the launch was held at 7p.m. it was still light, but the weather bracing, however, Lisa and Nora made sure that the room was warm and cosy for the guests. These comprised the Sisters, bishop and a few priests, Friends of Nano (Associates), people from around Ballygriffin and Killavullen, those who had been on the judging panels, Columba Press representatives, an award winning photographer and others. The leaders of the Presentation Union, who were to meet at that time programmed the book launch into their meeting, so it was a privilege to meet them. It also enabled them to purchase books and take them home for their respective congregations! Sister Lisa told me recently that they had sold 700 books from Ballygriffin in the few weeks after the launch. I haven’t heard how many have sold through booksellers. When the printers in Australia have it ready here our leadership team are organizing a launch in Wagga Wagga. (I asked if we could have it in Wagga Wagga). Anne Lane has been endeavouring to have the printing finished as soon as possible.
Because I was asked to have interviews around Ireland, for a week or so after my return I consulted Mr Google about any newspaper reviews which resulted from these, the launch or those who read the book. If you are interested in looking them up, I have included some with quotes taken from the articles:
Avondhu Press which claims “This book tells the story of Nano Nagle in a moving testimony to her life’s work and it also creates a portrait of her that people can relate to.”
The Irish Catholic in which the review was the long feature article titled “A Woman of Our Time.”
Church Services which says “Nano’s story is a true love story for us today.”
Catholic News writes that “Combining accurate historical detail with fiction ‘A Dream Unfolds’ is a moving testimony to Nano Nagle’s life work.”
Cork Independent: “Columba Press, publisher of the book, described ‘A Dream Unfolds’ as a new book at just the right time which depicts the famous Cork woman’s life.”
Independent Catholic News: “ A new book charts the life of Nano Nagle-Irish Woman of the Millennium … creates a portrait of her that is immensely relatable … .”
When we can eventually launch the book here I hope you can obtain a copy and enjoy the read, as much as I enjoyed the writing.
Noela Fox author of “A Dream Unfolds”
Sister Claver Desmond
Sister Claver, Mary Desmond, was the only daughter of Francis William Desmond and Mary Anne Hanrahan. She was born in Dubbo on the 15th July, 1915. She had two older brothers, Thomas who became a priest of the Wagga Diocese and Frank. Mary’s father was a member of the police force and so the family moved several times during his working life. When the family moved to Cronulla (a Sydney beach suburb) Mary learned to love the ocean and swimming and so Cronulla became her favourite place.
Tom thought the world of his little sister and did not accept that she was just any old pebble on the beach. He declared that she WAS the beach. She, too, had great love for her family. She knew what they were all doing and followed their careers and lives closely and was very proud of all their achievements and agonised over any of their troubles.
Sr Claver, Presentation Sister, Wagga Wagga was Professed 16th May 1939. Trained as a primary school teacher, Sister Claver taught in Wagga Wagga, Five Dock, Drummoyne, Hay, Young, Yarralumla, Lockhart and Ganmain over a period of 43 years. After her teaching career, Sister Claver did pastoral work, visiting the sick and the elderly in their homes and in the hospital. She also worked tirelessly for sponsorship of poor children in the Philippines, to enable them to get an education and the possibility of a better life.
One of Sister Claver’s gifts to the community was her ordered way of being and her memory – she was able to remember and reminded us of important dates. She was unhurried in her demeanour but also had a sharp mind and her repartee was something of a challenge. One could never be sure that they had the last word in an exchange.
A change that had a big impact for her was when she moved from Wagga in 1998 and went to live at Nagle Apartments in Sutherland. Here she spent many years being active in a variety of helpful ways. She was an avid reader and enjoyed her TV in later years, especially when ‘her’ Swans were playing. She remained there until her death on the 26th April, 2015.
A Nano Challenge
During 2014, the year Nano Nagle was made Venerable, the Presentation Sisters were approached by Columba Press in Dublin Ireland to commemorate the occasion in the form of an historical narrative. They were looking for a novel which would be engaging and inspiring for the reader. A call went out to the wider Presentation Congregation to make a submission including an outline/framework and approximately 1000 words of any part of the story.
Noela Fox submitted her proposal for the historical novel along with many other budding “authors”. Owing to the number of entries submitted, extra readers had to be added to the panel to assist with making the choice of writer. Sisters Nora and Lisa at the Nano Nagle Centre at Ballygriffin are coordinating the process. When the readers’ reports came in, the panel was then faced with the dilemma of choosing between the two entries which were judged most favourable for a novel. Sister Noela Fox of the Wagga Wagga Congregation was one of the two entries. (judged to be favourable for a novel). Noela, and the other budding “author” were then asked to submit a few more chapters or about 10,000 words by December 2014 so that the panel together with the Publisher could choose which budding “author” would be asked to complete their novel for printing. In the meantime Noela continued working on her Novel.
On March 24th 2015 Noela received the wonderful news that her submission for the Novel had been chosen. Negotiations are now taking place with the Publisher re the timeline, contract etc.
Wagga Wagga Presentation Sister receives Rotary Peace Award
On Sunday February 22nd 2015, the Combined Rotary Clubs of Wagga Wagga honoured people within the community who live by a credo of peace. The awards recognise those people, the quiet achievers, who exemplify Rotary’s Peace Communities Program credo. The credo is based on respect for cultural diversity and life and dignity for every person without discrimination or prejudice.
At this ceremony Carmel Wallis received the Wollundry Rotary Club Award.
Read more about Carmel on page 2 of the Autumn 2015 edition of Justice Jottings
General Chapter 2014
Presentation Sisters Wagga Wagga
THE CONTEXT FOR THE CALL TO PRESENTATION SISTERS WAGGA WAGGA TO TAKE PART IN GOD’S MISSION WITHIN THE WORLD AT THIS TIME
“We must lend our ears to the beat of this time to perceive the “scents” of the people today, so as to remain permeated with their joys and hopes, by their sadness and distress. Pope Francis 4th Oct 2014
Through prayerful reflection, conversation and
discernment the Chapter focused on the life and
mission of the Congregation, both now and into the
During Session 2 Sister Terry Abraham (pbvm Union) led us in a prayerful, reflective process
Sister Anne Quinane
13 April, 1939 – 22 July, 2014
On the day she died a School Principal in the Wagga Wagga Diocese made the comment “Anne was the essence of kindness”. In her capacity as Wagga Wagga Diocesan RE coordinator Anne was supportive of Principals and REC’s and her thoughtfulness and generosity extended to families in small rural communities eg a bag of homemade goodies.
Anne was the eldest child of Joe and Marie Quinane of Ardlethan and together with her siblings Terry, Joan(dec) and Noelene(rsj) lived on the family farm – a lifestyle that Anne truly loved. Apart from a few years at St Joan’s Haberfield Anne’s religious life was spent in rural areas of Ganmain, Berrigan, Urana, Lockhart, Tarcutta and Wagga Wagga.
Anne entered the Presentation Sisters Wagga Wagga in 1955 and at that time was known as Sister Matthew. She spent many years in the classroom as teacher, music teacher and Principal. Anne’s creativity expressed itself through the school concerts where she encouraged and brought out the best in all the students. Anne’s gift for music enabled her to teach music in the schools and also to be actively involved in the music ministry of the Parishes where she lived.
Over the last ten years Anne’s diminishment both physically and the effects of dementia saw her move to needing full time care. For a person who has been so active all her life what pain must she have known during this time. Anne faced her dementia with the same faith and hope that was evident in all her ministries –and she would often say….. ’what would Jesus do?’
Sister Mary Madden (Edward)
Mary was the fourth daughter born to Mary and Albert; Edward, the only son of the family, died in infancy and it was in memory of him that Mary chose her religious name of Sr Edward. Mary attended school at Domremy College Five Dock and it was here that she met the Presentation Sisters.
Mary‘s students always found her to be a just and tolerant teacher, ready to give them additional time and assistance when needed. Her teaching career was spent at Domremy, Mary Immaculate College Sutherland (now St Patrick’s) and Mount Erin High School (now Kildare College) Wagga Wagga. Mary taught at each of these schools and was also Principal at each of them during those years. While Principal at Domremy, Mary also taught part-time at the Mount Street North Sydney Teachers’ College, and while Principal in the mid 1980s Mary was instrumental in Domremy regaining Yrs 11 and 12 which it had lost when the Wyndham Scheme commenced in the 60’s.
Mary was also appreciated in the wider world of education: n 1978 she was appointed by the Governor of NSW for a four year term to the NSW Secondary Schools’ Board; she was also appointed by Cardinal Freeman to a two year position of President of the Catholic Secondary Schools Association, and she served three years as the Executive Officer of the Sydney Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Board chaired by Bishop Geoffrey Robinson.
In 1985, after retiring from schools, Mary accepted a position at the Sydney Catholic Education Office as a Research Officer and Projects Officer. Mary continued to work at the Leichhardt CEO until she moved to the Inner West Catholic Schools Office at Berala. Mary retired in 1998 and lived at Sutherland before moving into care at Cardinal Gilroy Village, Merrylands in 2005, where she passed away, aged 90, in the company of members of her Presentation community on Friday 4th July, 2014. We are most grateful to the staff at Merrylands for the ever additional care they provided for Mary as her needs increased over the years.