All good things must come to an end

The setting was marvellously black and white, the champagne flowed, the service was gracious and the meal delicious – but the dinner on 23 September to celebrate the sesquicentenary of the arrival of the Dominican Sisters in Maitland was really all about relentless storytelling!

Mistresses of ceremony and ‘Maitland girls’, Jane McDonald (née Burg) and Margaret O’Shea, encouraged guests to share their stories of exploits involving swing boats, excursions, boarding days and pageants, and the placemats depicting days gone by were a delightful touch.

Principal of St Mary’s Campus, All Saints College, Phillip Tobin, not only welcomed guests but shared his experience of being one of very few male students studying Latin at the ‘old St Mary’s’.

The ongoing celebrations came to an end (at least locally) on Sunday 24 September with Bishop Bill, assisted by parish priest Paul O’Neill, presiding at Mass at St Mary’s Campus. Despite its being school holidays, students were gracious in assisting.

The epistle from St Paul to the Corinthians reminded the congregation that “we still have a wisdom to offer those who have reached maturity, not a philosophy of our age, it is true, still less of the masters of our age….we teach what scripture calls…”  Bishop Bill acknowledged that the Sisters did “raise up young ladies with poise and elegance” and “they taught of the God who can tell us things not in the state’s curriculum”.

The gospel of the Mass of St Dominic proclaimed, “Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Bishop Bill said of the pioneer Sisters, “They set their hand to the plough and they were not looking back!”

Congregational leader Sr Judith Lawson OP spoke at the conclusion of Mass, saying, “Our hearts are full of gratitude for all that has been and all that will be.”

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Tracey Edstein Image
Tracey Edstein

Tracey Edstein is the editor of Aurora Magazine, the official magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.