How Time Flies

Time has flown by yet again, and we are already more than midway through August, which has been simply chock-full of activity. Before school began again on the last week of July, however, some of us had the happiness and privilege of lunching with Sister Shirley Gallagher, D.O.L.S.H. Now an octogenarian, Sister had spent 50 years in the missions in Papua New Guinea. We were given a wonderful talk on her life as a Sister in the missions, and it was inspiring to hear of Sister Shirley’s unbounded trust in the Providence of God. When we asked her how she managed to persevere through all the challenges she faced in New Guinea (from having to resuscitate a newborn baby upon her arrival, fresh off the boat – to protecting the schoolgirls from thugs with guns and running refugee and rescue stations for villagers uprooted by volcano eruptions – she simply said, “You just had to pray very hard!” Her talk was candid, refreshing, and a real treat for all of us.

Mother General and Sr Shirley
Sister Shirley Gallagher describing life in the missions

The next bit of excitement was having all the Community back in Rosary Convent at last. Three weeks may not seem like a long time, but to the travel-worn Sisters and those left at home minding the fort, there is truly no place like home! It was lovely to see all the happy familiar faces again, and an even happier occasion to peruse the Dominican books they had brought back from the States – when their (lost!) luggage was finally reunited with them, that is!

Saint Dominic’s Day caught up very quickly with us this year – and the usual celebrations, netball game and liturgical prayers had to be prepared for. The girls look forward to the party the night before with great anticipation (one suspects it is due to the pizza, really) – and this year was no exception. After joining the Sisters in the school chapel for Sung First Vespers and a rosary, all proceeded to the gym for pizza, chatter, and team games that included mini-golf, target shooting, and even… sock-sorting. (We now know who is the champion sock-sorter in the entire girls’ school) The evening came to an end all too quickly, but it was good to see a few faithful girls remaining behind to sing Compline with the Sisters and join their voices in praise of our Heavenly Queen at the Salve.

Netball the next day continued the festivities, and the girls played an excellent game, fielding some of their best players against the Sisters. The Sisters were down on team members due to injuries and illness, but were greatly helped by ex-pupil Annie Peterson and Miss Alexis Bell, whose contributions helped the Sisters win the trophy. The girls did not return home empty-handed, however. They received a jar of chocolate, which was consumed faster than the time it took Father to present the prize to team-caption Marie-Claire…

With all the excitement from Saint Dominic’s Day still coursing through our veins, the Sisters hosted a group of girls from St Philomena’s School in Brisbane, together with many of the girls we teach, for a “Mother and Daughter Evening” organised by the parish. The St Philomena’s pupils had come for a visit of St Thomas Aquinas College here in Tynong, and while the boys were busily having a roast pig barbeque up at the church, the Sisters and ladies had a more genteel time socialising over tidbits and a crafty activity.

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To some, school might seem dull next to all these exciting activities, but the warp and weft of each day remains the same; the praise of God in the Divine Office, the teaching of Truth not just in the classroom but also out of school. May God grant indeed, that as lovers of the beauty of the spiritual life, we may breathe forth the sweet odour of Christ in the holiness of our life – and bring forth more souls to adorn the beauty of Our Lady’s Heavenly crown.

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