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Masses of Thanksgiving for Benefactors and Donors


From Sr Anne Turner in Hobart:

Our inaugural Mass of Thanksgiving for Benefactors and Donors in Tasmania was a celebration of wonderful memories, deep gratitude, lifelong friendships, and the sheer joy of a loving community rejoicing together.

Father Brian Nichols, our parish priest, celebrated Mass for us, the readers and other participants were chosen for their support of our Sisters over many years, and the singing was lead by the magnificent choir from Mt Carmel College and organist and choirmaster, David McNamara. Actually, quite a few admitted that they had wept during the exquisitely beautiful singing of the Panis Angelicus.

The delicious morning tea was organised by Anne Hayward, a revered staff member of Mt Carmel College, and her generous helpers.

We were honoured to have Sister Clare with us in Tasmania. In fact, many commented on her relaxed, friendly manner and her bright smile and said how lovely it was to meet her.

Our first Mass of Thanksgiving was, indeed, a heart-warming celebration of the friends and supporters of the Sisters of Charity in Tasmania! – Anne rsc




Images: Sr Clare Nolan and Sr Anne Turner; Sr Clare with Father Brian Nichols, celebrant and Parish Priest of Sandy Bay; Laurie Wolfe, former Principal of Mt Carmel College,with Kerrie Loveluck,  the college’s business manager; Sr Clare with Paddy McKay, life-long friend and supporter of the Sisters of Charity in Tasmania; Sr Clare with Elizabeth Nicol, Sr Josephine Cannell’s niece, at the Tasmanian gathering of Benefactors and Donors; Lisa Burnett has a cup of tea

From Sr Suzette Clark in Brisbane:

An estimated 60 people gathered in Giovanni Chapel for the Mass. Fathers James O’Donoghue, Jerome and Martin concelebrated. A choir from Mt St Michael’s College Ashgrove provided the music.

Participants included: Ten Sisters of Charity, the principal and several staff members from Mt St Michael’s, MAM Trustees Gary Humphreys and Michael Drew, family members of some of our Sisters, Merve Gotten who travelled from Toowoomba and Joyce Cowley, 94 and the oldest living ex-student of Mt St Michael’s.

In my Welcome, I noted that we were celebrating Mass in the Giovanni Chapel, surely one of the greatest signs of the loving generosity of our benefactors and donors.

Support Co-Ordinator Queensland, Penny Strang, was present and had organised refreshments to follow. — Suzette rsc



Image 1: Father James O’Donoghue in the Giovanni Chapel for the Mass; 2: Srs Mathilde Harnischfeger and Margaret Mines; 3: Sr Patricia Heenan; Sr Carmel Coyle

From Sr Margaret Beirne in Sydney:  

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of this land upon which we now live and work. We offer respect to the Elders past, present and emerging, and their descendants who continue to live within the community. We walk together towards the future and say: Amen.

On behalf of the Sisters of Charity, it is my privilege to welcome you here today to our Eucharistic celebration. We want to say a huge thank you to each and every one of you for your great kindness, generosity and support of the mission that we all share: to bring the love of Christ to all, especially the poor.

An important part of our history and tradition as Sisters of Charity, instilled in us from the novitiate, has been to acknowledge with deep gratitude, and pray regularly for our benefactors and donors.

When Mary Aikenhead realised there was a serious need for a hospital for the sick poor in Dublin, she welcomed the support of many of her friends and acquaintances, both Catholic and Protestant, and the generous giving of their expertise on the part of doctors and nurses. With generous donations, she was able to buy a mansion at St Stephen’s Green and, in 1834, opened the first St Vincent’s Hospital. She constantly urged her sisters to pray for these generous donors and benefactors.

Likewise, here in Sydney, St Vincent’s Hospital may never have come about without the financial and professional support of the laity, again including Protestants and Catholics. Nor would we have been able to commence and take care of schools except for the support of friends who contributed from their own limited financial resources and in many other ways. These include freely giving of their experience and skills often over many years.

We also deeply appreciate the support of our priest friends. Thank you to our main celebrant, Fr Kevin Walsh, Sr Genny’s brother and dear friend to all of us, and to Fr Darryl who cares so amiably and inclusively as chaplain at St Vincent’s.

This generosity of people such as yourselves, and those who have gone before you, continues to this day. We decided this year to offer an opportunity not only to pray for you, but to pray with you, in the best way we know how.

Let us also join with those friends and sisters who are celebrating at this same time, in Hobart, Melbourne and Brisbane. For you and for all those who are with us in spirit today, we pray during this Eucharist, in the words of St Paul, that

“You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity; for your rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of God’s people but also overflows with much thanksgiving to God.” (2 Cor 9:11-12)

After Communion

Renewed thanks to all who have made this celebration possible: The friars for making this church and parish hall available to us; to Mr Bransby Byrne for providing us with his wonderful gifts as our organist; to Sr Maria Wheeler who has led the planning for all of today’s celebrations. And, most importantly, to each of you for your presence with us today. Let us now continue our friendship as we enjoy morning tea in the adjoining parish hall.




Image 1: Sisters gather for the Benefactors Mass; 2: Sr Margaret Beirne and Fr Kevin Walsh; 3: Fr Darryl Mackie and Sr Helen Clarke: 4: Srs Annette Cunliffe and Maureen Heffernan; Sr Maria Wheeler and Robert Cahill; 5: Director of Catholic Mission, Fr Brian Lucas, and Sr Genevieve Walsh

The inaugural Mass of Thanksgiving for Benefactors and Donors in Melbourne



Image 1:  Fr John Hannan at the altar in St Theresa’s Church, Essendon; 2: Sisters at Mass; 3: Sr Cate O’Brien with Noel O’Brien;  Srs Patricia Scully and Denise Hannebery (Rita Grima, Principal of St Columba’s College  in red talking to Sr Maryanne Confoy in the background).

When we have so much to praise the Lord for, we must not complain.
True affection is to rejoice in the happiness of our dear ones. Never allow a sentiment of resentment to enter into our hearts.
Pray, reflect and consult – and may the divine spirit direct all to God’s greater glory.
May our dear Lord Jesus fill your hearts with His own love. Amen!
We must have patience with others as He has patience with us.
Under every difficulty try to pray fervently.
We have much to thank Him for, even for those little drawbacks on our comforts and conveniences.
Do pray that justice may be accomplished in peace and that truth may prevail.
Go on now as steadily as you can, relying on the Divine assistance and fear not.
What we do ought to be done well.

The Sisters of Charity acknowledge the First Peoples and traditional custodians of this land where we live. We respect, value and honour their history, culture and spirituality. We are committed to standing in solidarity and to actively working for justice, peace and harmony in this land.

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