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Sisters in arms


Religious Sisters in their senior years are being supported in their retirement by the Positive Ageing Project which was initiated 13 years ago by Sr Meredith Evans RSM.

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As Congregational Leader of the Sisters of Mercy in SA, Sr Meredith was acutely aware of the difficulties experienced by her Sisters as they transitioned from full time ministry to retirement.

When the State Government began offering ‘one off’ grants in 2008 to any organisations or small groups that were in a position to help ‘senior citizens’ as they moved into retirement, Sr Meredith applied and was successful in obtaining a grant.

The Sisters of Mercy invited other religious congregations to benefit from this opportunity to enhance their experience of retirement.

Sr Mary Harvey RSM, Sr Pauline Jenner OP and Sr Kathleen Moore OLSH became the initial committee organising Positive Ageing events.

The money was used to provide ‘senior Sisters’ with a wide range of opportunities and experiences, as everyone was mindful of the outstanding contribution that these Religious had made in the Adelaide Archdiocese and continued to make in their senior years.

Monthly meetings included an annual Mass at St Ignatius Church, Norwood, during which they celebrated the Anointing of the Sick; bus trips to places like Hahndorf, the Barossa Valley and Victor Harbor; the Christmas Proms in the Festival Centre, and gathering each year to hear many speakers.

These speakers included Sr Bernadette Kiley OP and Fr Michael Trainor, Fr Maurice Shinnick, the late Mgr Denis Edwards and most recently Sr Cynthia Griffin RSM who spoke about ‘Praying with Icons’. The Sisters also had an opportunity to share with the whole group either their own life journey or that of their congregations.

Hospitality is key to what are now bi-monthly gatherings. While on most occasions it is a case of ‘bring your own lunch’ the 13th anniversary of the Positive Ageing group was celebrated with a luncheon at the Lockleys Hotel on July 13. It was also an opportunity for the 26 Sisters present to farewell Sr Marija Cosic ASC who is returning to Croatia. Sr Marija has attended almost every gathering and she will be greatly missed.

Sr Elizabeth Morris rsj, Vicar for Religious, said several Sisters at the luncheon commented that the best part of belonging to the group was the opportunity to get to know one another.

“These Religious, many from different countries, have led heroic lives in spreading the gospel message, and realise that their wisdom is a valued gift to share with others,” she said.



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