Marguerita Keain was born in the South Australian town of Hawker, the second of five children for Jack and Eileen Keain.
After attending boarding school at St Aloysius College (SAC) she entered the Sisters of Mercy in 1952 and was given the religious name of Christine.
In pre-Vatican II days, the Adelaide Sisters were mostly involved in teaching. Christine taught at SAC, Mount Gambier, Millicent, Mercedes College (where she was also in charge of boarders for 10 years) and Parkside.
The changes in the Church brought about by Vatican II also brought great changes to the Sisters’ lives and works. It was then that Christine’s wish, which was always to work with the homeless and those most in need, was fulfilled by an opportunity to study her Diploma in Social Work at the Institute of Technology.
As a social worker Christine worked at Regency Park with physically handicapped children, and later in the Morphett Vale parish and school as social work coordinator. She also worked as a counsellor at Coolock Parenting Unit.
In 1978-79 Christine had two years of studying theology at the Jesuit School of Theology in Chicago, USA.
She was involved in leadership of the Sisters as a community coordinator, a member of the Congregational Council and for four years as Congregational Leader of the Adelaide Sisters of Mercy.
After many years of burdensome responsibility, Christine took some sabbatical time which included theology studies in Adelaide and overseas in India and Ireland.
During her time in the Sister of Mercy’s founding place of Dublin she joined with Sisters from all over the world, shared with them the spirituality and charism of foundress Catherine McAuley and was inspired by their stories of involvement in different ministries.
When she returned to Adelaide she began working as a counsellor at Catherine House, a refuge for homeless women opened by the Adelaide Sisters in 1990. She also served on the board of Hesed, another place of refuge for people in need set up by the Sisters of Mercy.
As her health deteriorated she moved to Fullarton Lutheran Homes in 2014 where she died peacefully.
Christine’s well-rounded life of ‘living out of Gospel maxims’, always giving respect and love to whoever she met and worked with, was lived with the fidelity and grace with which her parents, family and her Mercy life had endowed her.
– Ruth Egar RSMJump to next article