By Caroline Smith
After serving their communities and the Church for 50 years or more, Jubilarians from the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart had plenty of reason to celebrate last month.
In WA, a group of seven Sisters – together with their families and friends – came together on Sunday 22 January for a special Mass and afternoon tea to commemorate their Golden and Diamond Jubilees.
The Mass was held at Holy Family Church in Como and was celebrated by Dunsborough Parish Priest Father Ian Johnson, who is a brother to Golden Jubilarian, Sr Eileen Johnson.
The celebrations continued with afternoon tea at the Josephite Convent in South Perth, where the Sisters were presented with a cake in recognition of their service.
Sr Maureen O’Connor – who celebrated her Golden Jubilee, having joined the Order in 1967 – said the event was a great opportunity for members of the Order in Western Australia to celebrate such a significant milestone.
“There were a couple of hundred people there because we were celebrating both the Golden and Diamond Jubilee,” she said.
“Many family members and friends were able to join us.
“During the afternoon we cut a beautiful Jubilee cake which was made and decorated by Sr Margaret Culhane. This was a lovely end of a beautiful day to celebrate together.”
Earlier in the month, Sisters celebrating their Golden and Diamond Jubilees had gathered in Sydney for two national celebrations.
The first – held on Friday 6 January – brought together 22 Golden Jubilarians for a Mass at the Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel celebrated by the Most Rev Bishop Terry Brady, Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney.
The Sisters came from around the world for this celebration, with some living in Peru, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. Of these – Sr Maureen Donnelly, Sr Eileen Johnson and Sr Maureen O’Connor are WA based Sisters.
The following week, on Friday 13 January, 31 Diamond Jubilarians met for a Mass at the Chapel, also celebrated by Bishop Brady and con-celebrated by Father Philip Linder.
Like the Golden Jubilarians, these Sisters also came from across Australia, as well as New Zealand and Ireland, with four – Sr Diane Kingston, Sr Margaret Kane, Sr Leonie Mayne and Sr Philomena Kalmund – being based in Western Australia.
A special booklet was prepared for the occasion, with a diamond emblem displaying a symbol in each facet – a New Zealand flower kowhai, the Australian wattle, and a harp and shamrock.