Sr Jean Montgomery: One year at Kingston possibly the happiest in my lifePrint
In honour of the 170th anniversary of the Sisters of Charity in Tasmania, four of our Sisters remembered their time ministering in the Apple Isle.
Here is Sr Jean Montgomery’s story.
I was in Tasmania at two different times The first was for six years — 1961 to 1966 . I spent one year at Kingston and five years at Aikenhead House in Hobart. The second time I ministered as pastoral associate at Kingston from 1993 to 1995.
My very first year at Kingston has the most remarkable memories for me.
I was sent there at the beginning of its second year. The convent Superior and school Principal was Sr Eileen Thynne. Community members were Sr M Agnes Mulquinney (RIP), Sr Patricia O’Loughlin and me.
The school was situated at the top of a hill with a stunning view of Hobart’s Derwent River.
In its second year, the school was still a very small school with lovely parents and children. They were not wealthy people – but very generous and helped us build up the school. Many of the husbands were fishermen, and school fees would come to us in the form of fish. We often had fish for dinner !
We had a wonderful speech and drama teacher – Madam Kelly. It was incredible how many times Madam Kelly was able to train those little country children to such a standard that they won almost every eisteddfod she entered them in.
Our parish priest was Fr Rex Donoghue, a kindly priest who was very devoted to the church and his priestly duties. On Sundays, as well as Mass at Kingston, he went to three out-station churches: Margate, Snug, and Longley. He appreciated the Sisters’ attendance at these Masses to lead singing and be there for the people of these areas. I particularly loved going to these small churches and the people there.
In the parish were two spinster sisters, Jean and Kath Bradshaw, who were extremely good to us.
Every Sunday, Jean would have a thermos of coffee and fresh ham sandwiches for us to have on the way to either Margate, Snug, or Longley.
I loved living in this country atmosphere. We were a happy community and I look on this one year at Kingston as possibly the happiest in my life.