August 2023

McKee family’s 80 years of connection to Lourdes Hill College

Sister Mary Camelann (Veronica) McKee was a proud Lourdanian who dedicated her life to helping those around her. In 1947, Veronica McKee joined the Order of the Holy Spirit Sisters and travelled to Andheri East in Bombay, India, to help construct and run the Holy Spirit Hospital.

In 2007, she was proudly named as one of the House Patrons of Lourdes Hill College in honour of her work as a true Good Samaritan. The McKee House value, ‘Respect’, is based on Veronica’s passion for helping others. While she died in 1981, her family’s legacy has remained strong with a number of her relatives staying connected to the College.

Gabrielle McKee as a baby with Veronica McKee. Image supplied by Lourdes Hill College.

Veronica’s niece, Gabrielle McKee, attended the College from 1980-84 and has fond memories of her aunt’s generosity.

Gabrielle said that her family has always shared Veronica’s passion for helping others and believed that Veronica lived the McKee family ethos of selfless giving.

“Catherine McKee, or Granny as I knew her, was always busy crocheting hankies & hand towels, making jam and cakes, collecting ‘Bring & Buy’ items in readiness for hosting fundraising parties to send money to Aunty Bonny’s (Veronica) missions in India,” she said.

“I have often thought of her life choices and challenges when I am going through some of my own. It helps adjust your perspective enormously.”

Gabrielle has remained connected to the College through her work with the Past Pupils Association and has recently joined as a member of the Committee.

Gabrielle’s nieces, and Veronica’s great-nieces, Eloise and Alexandra, are current students at the College and strive to live the values of their great-aunt.

“Lourdes Hill College provided me with a warm nurturing environment where I learned to trust and build friendships,” Gabrielle said. “Strong relationships forged during these formative years are invaluable for a balanced life, and I want that for my nieces.”

Eloise is currently in Year 12 and is a leader in McKee House. She is proud to represent her House and her great-aunt by advocating for her values to the College community.

She said being a relation of Veronica McKee provided her with inspiration to do right by others always and pursue a life of giving.

“When I think of Veronica McKee, I think of an extremely selfless person, who did not view helping others as a sacrifice of her own time,” she said. “I think this selflessness pairs seamlessly with McKee’s House value of ‘Respect’; which together, promotes the treatment of others as equal to oneself.”

Eloise’s younger sister, Alexandra, who is in Year 10, values the memory of her great-aunt. “The McKee name symbolises to me, community, obtaining the value of respect and being open-handed with great generosity to all,” she said.

Eloise McKee (left) and Alexandra McKee in Duhig Hall. Image supplied by Lourdes Hill College.

Veronica McKee lived a life in service of others, and her family and the College community aim to continue her legacy through a commitment to service of those less fortunate.

Lourdes Hill College in Hawthorne, Queensland, continues in the tradition of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan and belongs to the community of 10 schools across Australia called Good Samaritan Education.

The Good Oil

‘The Good Oil’, the free, monthly e-journal of the Good Samaritan Sisters, publishes news, feature and opinion articles and reflective content which aims to nourish the spirit, stimulate thinking and encourage reflection and dialogue about contemporary issues from a Good Samaritan perspective.

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