Dominican Sister Catherine Brophy, of St Catherine’s Convent, Doubleview, passed away suddenly and peacefully at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital on October 1, aged 75.
Her Requiem Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Doubleview, on October 6.
Sr Catherine was born on April 9, 1937 in County Clare, Ireland, the middle daughter of Michael and Frances Brophy, who had eight children, including John, Frances, Sinclair, Michael, Helena, Bridget and Mary (dec).
In 1953, she arrived from Ireland and went to Dongara, where the Dominican Novitiate was situated, a far cry from religious life as she understood it and had seen it lived out in Ireland.
She remained a woman of strong views till the end, lived a life of contemplation and prayer, and was a model of fidelity.
Sr Catherine was a teacher in the Goldfields and the Wheatbelt, north and east of Perth, being one of the two remaining Sisters at Cue in the northern Goldfields when the school closed.
She remained committed to the work of providing religious instruction and it was due to her that seven children received their First Holy Communion at Cue on the Feast of Christ the King in 1967.
Later, she would drive 34 kilometres from Morawa, where the Sisters lived, to Perenjori to teach at St Joseph’s school. As a teacher in Perth, she was principal at St Dominic’s school, Doubleview, and St Peter’s school, Bedford Park, and had teaching roles in different parish schools.
She was the last Dominican Sister to be attached to St John’s school, Scarborough, as religious coordinator, after the withdrawal of the Sisters.
Sr Catherine spent 10 years as coordinator of classes for children who came after school for instruction for catechetics, including St Peter’s, Bedford Park, and the many nationalities in Morley Park, who made her welcome.
Her last assignment was at Woodvale, a young, growing community.
At St Catherine’s Convent, she was librarian for many years.
As archivist for the Dominican community, she entered all details of events scrupulously in handwriting.
She enjoyed surprising the Sisters with freshly-baked cakes for afternoon tea, a skill she had developed even though she was not a cook.
Sr Catherine relaxed with crosswords and jigsaw puzzles, which she completed in record time.
She died on the Feast of St Therese, having been present at all the special events of the day, until she developed a very severe headache and was taken by ambulance to hospital.
Her fellow Sisters in the community are still coming to terms with her death and her family in Ireland must find it even more difficult to accept.
May she rest in peace.