Ruth Mullins, the second of four daughters born to Clare and Hugh Mullins, grew up in Alberton parish and attended Mt Carmel Primary School before completing her secondary schooling at St Aloysius College.
Her family had strong connections with the Sisters of Mercy, and several of her aunts had joined the convent, some of them working in the goldfields of Coolgardie. Her sister Barbara (Marita) was also a Sister of Mercy.
Ruth entered the Angas Street convent in 1950 and for the next 69 years was involved in ministry both within the Adelaide Archdiocese and beyond.
She began teaching in Parkside then Millicent and in 1960, when the Sisters began work in the new city of Elizabeth, where together with Sr Immaculata she began teaching 60 children in a private house in Elizabeth North before moving into a newly-built school.
Ruth was one of the early Sisters involved in what was called the Motor Mission, which involved going into State schools to teach religious education. She worked with catechists and became involved in the lives of the Elizabeth people. Elizabeth North parish always held a special place in her heart.
In the 70s she had the opportunity to study in the United States and obtained her Masters of Education in Chicago at Loyola University in 1977.
When she returned to Australia she began working in the area of adult faith education.
She worked in the Theology Institute and for many years facilitated chapters and retreats and worked with the Adelaide Archdiocesan priests in the Priestly Life and Ministry programs. For 10 years she was part of the East Asian Education Conference and travelled regularly to do formation including in Hong Kong and Japan. With another Mercy Sister, she facilitated an assembly of the Mercy Sisters in Papua New Guinea.
In the 80s Ruth worked in the Catholic Education Office and ran a program known as the Colloquium, which had far-reaching effects in the area of faith formation and reflection on practice for teachers in Catholic Schools.
In the 90s Ruth returned to America and worked in a spirituality centre at Green Bay, Wisconsin, while continuing her own studies.
She was appointed Vicar for Religious in 2001, a role in which she supported all the Religious men and women in the Diocese.
Her final years of ministry were as pastoral assistant for the Thebarton and Pennington parishes.
Always a gentle, listening person, there were never enough hours in a day, or days in a week for Ruth. She was a much loved aunt to her many nieces and nephews.
She was a free, creative spirit who lived her life not alone, but bringing others with her – truly, surely into the fullness of life.
– Mary-Anne Duigan RSMJump to next article