Dorothy Barbara Eveston was born at the Hamilton Base Hospital, the second youngest child in a family of seven. Her parents, James and Dorothy (nee Westbrook), lived at Hamilton, Victoria.
Young Dorothy, better known as Dot, was educated locally by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan at St Mary’s Primary and St Michael’s Secondary. She left school at 16 after completing her Intermediate Certificate and worked for three years as a clerk in local businesses.
Dot moved to Geelong for work and boarded at the Legion of Mary Hostel. There was a 10pm curfew at the hostel and Dot and her roommates learnt how to cover for each other if they were late back from a night out by leaving the window open.
It was while in Geelong that Dot had to seriously discern her future; marry her boyfriend or enter religious life. Religious life won! Dot entered the Good Samaritan Novitiate at Pennant Hills on January 6 1952. This was 10 years after her older sister, Kathleen, had joined the congregation.
Dot was professed on January 6, 1955. She then moved to St Scholastica’s Glebe Point where she obtained her certificate as a primary school teacher.
In 1956 Dot’s teaching career of 34 years began. She taught in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria. Her final educational position was as primary principal at Sacred Heart School Mona Vale, Sydney. Teaching and principalship brought inevitable challenges as well as great joys for Dot. She shed tears during her first year of teaching and cried when she left.
Dot’s kindness and compassion was very evident throughout her career, never more so than with the young boys at St John’s Westview Campbelltown who were away from their families for long periods of time.
There was some respite for Dot during her long teaching career. In 1967 she did a six-week spirituality course at the Marist Brothers Institute in Auckland New Zealand, and she spent a year at the National Pastoral Institute Victoria in 1977.
In 1990 Dot moved to Gawler, SA, where she commenced a new ministry, that of pastoral associate for Gawler and Hamley Bridge/Mallala parishes. Three years later, Sr Teresa Hammon joined Dot in Gawler. They forged a loving partnership – two Good Samaritan Sisters on mission together for the next 28 years.
During her 16 years in Gawler, Dot was involved in ecumenical work with the Anglican, Lutheran and Uniting Churches. She represented the town of Gawler on the board of the Uniting Church, the first person in the town to be nominated by the Uniting Church leaders.
In 2000 Dot and Sister Mary O’Shannassy attended a three-month Renewal Course at Hawkstone Hall, England, which included two weeks in the Holy Land. One of the joys of Dot’s visit to England was to travel to Eastleigh to visit the home where her mother grew up, before coming to Australia. She recalled how she was welcomed by the current owners who showed Dot and Mary around the house and property.
In 2007, Dot returned to her home state where she lived at Craigieburn and was involved in pastoral work, including volunteering with the St Vincent de Paul Society. She and Teresa moved to a Retirement Village at Mernda in March 2015. They settled in quickly, made friends with neighbours, reached out to anyone in need, and enjoyed croquet each Monday morning. They held regular prayer meetings for residents of the village and parishioners from Craigieburn.
Dot enjoyed long walks, meeting many people along the way, engaging in conversation and arriving home some two hours later! Dot’s friendliness was rewarded with many acts of kindness shown to her such as offers of assistance with her garden and with small maintenance jobs.
Dot died peacefully at the Northern Hospital Epping. She will be sadly missed by her family, her Good Samaritan Sisters, especially her sister Kathleen (the founding principal of Stella Maris Primary School at Seacombe Gardens), the residents of Mernda and the many people whose lives were touched by this kind, big-hearted, gentle woman.
Parishioners of St Peter and Paul at Gawler paid tribute to Sr Dorothy for her contribution to the parish at a memorial Mass in December.
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