Sr Anne Turner: The only RSC in TasmaniaPrint
Sr Anne Turner, volunteer at MacKillop College in Hobart
When I began my ministry at MacKillop College in 1994, my tasks were many and varied.
Although I’d been employed as a Library Assistant, I was asked to do all kinds of jobs, including running the canteen for two days a week, managing the school banking, working in the office from 5pm until about 6.30pm each afternoon, as well as replacing office staff members who were absent (or simply out to lunch!), printing, collating and bundling into class groups the weekly newsletter, agonising over scores at college athletics and swimming carnivals and supervising students doing exams.
In between times, I attended various extra-curricular school activities, sometimes feeding and spending evenings with students whose parents were too busy to attend events such as drama productions or student art shows. In addition to all of this, I actually managed to do a bit of work in the library.
My life is very different these days. I work as a volunteer two days a week at MacKillop College, where I spend my time processing, cataloguing and covering new books, which, thankfully, are still eagerly awaited by many of our students.
Occasionally I work an extra day if a colleague is absent or the workload is greater than usual.
I have also been involved in collecting and storing college memorabilia and archival materials, a task I really enjoy as I am constantly reminded of the valuable contributions our present and former pupils are making to society in all walks of life.
I have limited interaction with our students these days, but I am always very aware of them. As I grow older, their noisy exuberance exhausts me, while their open-hearted generosity and tirelessness when working for those in need inspire me and remind me not to grow too old, at least in spirit.
They are, on the whole, a credit to themselves, their parents and the inspiring and dedicated group of people who make up the staff at MacKillop College.
Outside of school life, another resident and I have set up a library at Grange Villas, our retirement village, so I’m often found there in my free time. We have based it on an honour system, so our main task is to obtain as many good, second-hand books and DVDs as possible, and to keep the collection on the move.
It is a pleasant place to sit and chat and many friendships have developed in our little library. It is a wonderful asset to our aging community, especially given Tasmania’s cold and changeable weather.
I believe that we can witness to God’s love wherever we are, in large and small ways, in ways that are seen and unseen.
I do nothing great or world-changing, but I hope that by responding to the opportunities that come my way, whether I am chatting to neighbours who walk their animals along the pathway that runs through my garden, listening in an open, caring way to people who come to talk to me, or comforting a grieving wife and giving practical help to pack up and remove the belongings of her recently deceased and greatly missed husband, I am keeping the charism of Mary Aikenhead alive in my own small way.
- This article first appeared in Keep In Touch (KIT) in December 2016. If you would like to be included in KIT magazine email out, please email James Griffiths at the Congregation office and he will add you to the distribution list.