Words of Remembrance for Sr Dawn Bang RSCPrint
10 April, 1926 – 18 September, 2020
Funeral Mass at All Hallows Church, Balwyn, Vic., 29 September 2020
Motto: Jesus, God of my heart
St John’s Gospel invites us to live life to the full. The many reflections that have been expressed since Dawn died give testament to her full life.
However, Dawn was not interested in how her long life would be celebrated. Decision-making was not her long suit so maybe narrowing down the hymn choices for today was always going to be left to us.
She did, however, make the life choice that her family remembers as what she had wanted to do from an early age. Becoming Sr M Janet was not a hard decision.
Colleen Jackson and I want to thank Dawn’s family, the Sisters of Charity, and friends for sharing your memories of Dawn. We hope that you find something of your reflections in what we have drawn as our combined glance at Dawn’s influence on each of us.
Dawn was Maureen’s big sister and indeed others felt the same way about her: now living forever in their hearts. The oft quoted ”their deeds go with them” must surely have a caveat because lots of Dawn’s good deeds are living on here with us.
Each of us here and those online can identify moments when something was said or done that has had a lasting affect on us. These are often hidden, quiet occasions known only to the “me.” Dawn lives on in such “me” moments for many people.
Dawn’s life was about faith, hope and love: brought to life by her response to the Sisters of Charity motto: The love of Christ impels us. Dawn’s life was an act of faith, hope, love….
So.. on Love….
Dawn orchestrated lots of laughs, tears, serious discussions and reminiscing. She cherished interesting conversations … which were not always available in her latter years. Topics included opinions on family, sport, politics and even Sisters of Charity! She had her finger on the pulse! She loved to cheekily declare that something had “dawned” on her.
Dawn was a gracious woman, genuine in her full attention in interactions with others. She was a great encourager, especially when speaking about her love and others’ love of God. Whether a new insight in prayer or something from spiritual reading Dawn was alive in its sharing.
She interacted in ways that bore witness to the effect her relationship with her God had on her. It wasn’t only what she said … but how she said it. She graced lives, young and old, with her goodness, her conversations and her sense of humour. She was a great storyteller.
Her family has many stories of her love, support and encouragement. And Dawn had a big love of our Congregation. Warts and all, she loved us as Sisters of Charity.
On to Hope…
Dawn must have presented as a good RSC prospect when she was interviewed. Whether a myth or not, the family has it that she was accepted on the spot! And why not? This was her heart’s desire. Her hope became a reality in 1947.
Dawn lived giving hope to others in warm, friendly and joyful style: encouraging gifts, reassuring people.
Her wisdom gave hope because she was open minded and able to appreciate and embrace different viewpoints. She was a hope filled companion. To accompany is to walk side by side. Dawn did that in her many roles: involving fairly dramatic changes from teaching to Noviciate ministry to spiritual guide.
Others too have given her hope in times of anxiety, gifting her with reassurance.
I think Dawn probably needed a mountain of faith to take up the Noviciate ministry. Not an early comfort zone! Dawn saw faith as of the utmost importance in life.
Many have related that she was an example of total commitment to one’s beliefs. She believed in God’s unconditional love and always wanted to share that message. She saw Jesus as Lover and Giver… and Mary as a very human mother.
In faith, Dawn drew the connection to be lived in our fourth Vow (Service of the Poor): the hunger for spiritual growth and the life of service and action.
Then came the years of dependence on others for all her physical needs. This didn’t dim her pride in her appearance She loved a new shirt or cardigan and, of course, a decent jacket for her recent celebrations, including her 90th birthday and the 70th Jubilee.
The fact that in later years her legs betrayed her does not tame vivid memories of her long, purposeful, rosary-jingling strides at Wahroonga.
Nor do we forget her great faith in her iPad. She was something of an iPad lover. Her legs didn’t obey but the iPad did. It was her door to so many aspects of her life, keeping her alert and involved. There was FaceTime, Congregational zoom meetings, emailing, playing games, reading The Age and books.
The iPad fits in with her enjoyment of a good gadget, a new treat, a clever shortcut or a testing jigsaw puzzle. And, of course, she was the AFL tipping competition scorer at St Catherine’s, even though she was really a “Rooster.”
Dawn’s connection with us has been changed. The separation is personal for each of us. Maureen will miss their daily chats.
From her we learn a final faith sharing … that Dawn knew that the time to leave us was near: the time was coming to leave her tired body. She had fought the restrictions of her body with fervour and found it difficult but in true Dawn faith gave it all to God’s will.
That young woman who grew up in Rose Bay, Sydney and loved the ocean is the same woman who gave her everything to God in 1947 and again in 2020.
We know that Dawn had a marvellous memory so we know that she will be remembering us as members of the Communion of Saints.
We will miss Dawn. Our lives are blest for having known her. She was a great ancestor.
- Virginia Mahony rsc
- Colleen Jackson rsc