May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be Everywhere Loved!
Good afternoon to each of you – family and friends of our Jubilarians, the Religious of the Sacred Heart, our MSC brothers, our Sisters and, in a special way our Jubilarians, Sheila and Mona.
You will readily agree that this is a wonderful occasion as we mark seventy years of religious profession as Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Sisters Sheila and Mona. In essence, we are celebrating God’s limitless love of our Sisters and their faith-filled, generous response.
As we rejoice with and in Mona and Sheila let me take you for a brisk walk down memory lane. Sheila was born in Hurstville, Sydney, the fifth child and second daughter of the eight children of Percy and Esther Larkin. Mona was born in Albion Park just south of Wollongong to Edward and Mary Sackley, the first of their three children.
Following their entry into religious life Sheila and Mona have devoted the major part of their lives to the education of young people, Sheila in our Colleges in Australia with a short time in Kiribati, and Mona in Papua New Guinea.
All who know Sheila will appreciate that she was a highly respected teacher of English, French and Mathematics. Her skill with the French language, both written and oral, saw her spend 1979-1980 in France where she studied at the Université Lyon with a view to translating important documents relating to the Congregation’s history from French into English and so make them more widely accessible to the Sisters. She was meticulous in her attention to detail and produced what can only be called perfect translations. Among these documents were Father Jules Chevalier’s writings on Our Lady of the Sacred Heart – a real treasure.
Mona’s teaching ministry was principally in Papua New Guinea, some of it at the school level and 25 years in the Teachers’ Colleges at Vunapope and Kabaleo. This was a major contribution to the future of education in the young nation. Following her return to Australia in 1980 Mona moved between different communities in which she undertook a range of ministries such as catechetics and work in Diocesan or Parish offices. Most recently she has made a valuable contribution to the life of the Congregation through her work in the Provincial Archives. Wherever Mona ministered she brought her interest in the Sacred Liturgy and her ability to play the organ.
This thumb-nail sketch of the ministries of Sheila and Mona does in no way do them justice. Over their years of dedication they have impacted countless lives, many of them young people.
When I look behind the ministry to the women themselves, it is difficult to find words to adequately express their generous living of the commitment to the Lord as Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart they undertook at a young age, seventy years ago. I am left to marvel at the Lord’s bountiful love for Sheila and Mona and their faith-filled response.
We thank you, Mona and Sheila. We thank God for you. We honour you and pray that you continue to make your home in God as he makes his home in you.
I ask Moya and Mary to offer you a token of our love and admiration – these Australian flowers – symbols of you – hardy, longlasting, colourful and with open hearts.
Address by Sr Tess Ward, Provincial Leader
Kensington January 7, 2017