After 134 years of service, particularly in education and pastoral care, the Good Samaritan Sisters have said a fond farewell to the community of Queanbeyan in NSW.
Four Good Samaritan Sisters first arrived in Queanbeyan on February 10, 1879, the Feast of St Scholastica, so it was fitting that celebrations to mark the closure of the Sisters’ presence and ministry in Queanbeyan were held on February 10, 2013.
A few hundred people, including many Good Samaritan Sisters, gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at St Raphael’s Church, Queanbeyan, celebrated by retired Auxiliary Bishop of Canberra-Goulburn, Pat Power.
In his homily, Bishop Power, a former pupil of the Good Samaritan Sisters, paid tribute to the faithfulness and generosity of the Sisters, describing them as “a source of light, hope and Gospel joy”.
“The educational opportunities offered by the Good Samaritan Sisters to the children of Queanbeyan cannot be overstated. It was no easy life for the Sisters in those pioneering days as they shared with their pupils and their families much of the hardship they were enduring,” he said.
“The Sisters were an integral part of the life of the parish and the wider community of Queanbeyan and much loved by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. I am sure that many people here will have their own stories of how the Sisters gave them a great start in life.”
Good Samaritan Sister Joy Mary Edwards, the last Good Sam to live in Queanbeyan, is in the process of moving to a retirement village on the NSW Central Coast. She told The Canberra Times that while she is looking forward to being closer to family and a community of Good Sams at Woy Woy, she is “very, very sad” to be leaving Queanbeyan.
“I’d be staying on if it wasn’t for my age. But I’m in my 86th year and at my age you’ve got to start thinking up here [tapping her head]. If I left it any later… I’d be too old to pack!” she explained.
As part of the celebrations on February 10 there was a ‘turning of the sod’ ceremony for new classrooms at St Gregory’s Primary School. The parish hall was also named after Sister Lucy Nihill, the first superior of the Good Samaritan community in Queanbeyan.