Sister Anita VaughanPrint
Sister Anita’s family lived in the Heidelberg area of Victoria. Apparently she attended a primary school of the Josephite Sisters because she remembered St Mary of the Cross MacKillop visiting when she was in the Infants and handing out lollies to the children.
The girls in the Vaughan family were drawn to the teaching profession. It was a great sorrow for them to have lost their only brother in World War 1.
After entering the Sisters of Charity, Sister Anita studied at Melbourne University and became a competent senior teacher. She was also a strong swimmer and was credited with saving the life of at least one Sister of Charity during a holiday at Mornington.
Many years later the Essendon Sisters were able to build a beach holiday house at Queenscliff through the generosity of one of Sister Anita’s sisters.
In 1940, Sister Anita was transferred to St Joseph’s College in Hobart where she was much appreciated by the senior students.
During this time, she also engaged in a long-established Ministry of the Sisters of Charity – that of gaol visitation, and became involved in the case of the last unfortunate prisoner to face execution in Hobart, the convicted serial murderer and rapist and former psychiatric hospital inmate, Frederick Thompson.
Dean Vincent Green and Sister Anita worked so hard to obtain a reprieve for Thompson, and when Dean Green appeared at her classroom door she thought he had come to tell her that they have been successful. Alas! The verdict was the opposite.
Instead, Dean Green had come to take Sister to the gaol. They ministered to the condemned man until he was taken out to be hanged.
When the Sisters of Charity celebrated the centenary of their arrival in Hobart in 1947, there was a message of congratulation and appreciation from the prisoners of the Hobart goal.
Sister Anita spent her retirement years at St Columba’s in Essendon quietly content, and spending her time in prayer for the needs of others.