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Thursday, 11 October 2018 19:56

Sr Maureen providing for those doing it tough in Hall's Creek

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1018SrMaureenDonnellyrsjWhen most of us want to retire, a Josephite sister from Sydney chooses to work in remote Western Australia to meet the needs of others doing it tough, Eternity reports.

Sr Maureen Donnelly, aged 70, works in the community of Halls Creek in the Kimberley region, a 30-hour drive from Perth.

She joined the Josephites in 1964, as a Registered Nurse at St Vincent’s in Sydney, then studied geriatric nursing in Melbourne, so she could work in aged care.

Her life, after the big city, took a huge change with 11-and-a-half fulfilling years at Wadeye in remote Northern Territory.

She ran the aged care facility along with HACC (Home and Community Care) which she said was the best time of her life… “I was very happy. It was life-giving to me. I gained a lot of inspiration from the elderly. I had always wanted to work with indigenous people and even though this was a big leap to go from the big city to the top of Australia in one of the most remote areas, it was good for me.”

After she left Wadeye, Sr Maureen was assistant nurse coordinator for the Josephites in Queensland. At the age of 68, when most of us are retired or thinking about it, she thought: “I’m still good enough!” Donnelly asked to go back to Wadeye but there wasn’t an opening, so she called Sr Alma Cabassi who was stationed at Halls Creek.

She asked if there was anything to do there. “Yes! Please come as soon as possible!”

The two sisters together run a very busy Op Shop three days a week, and Sr Maureen’s time otherwise is taken up with visiting and volunteering at the local aged care facility run by the People’s Church.

“Yes, life for people here is very trying; lives are hard. Food runs out after the first week of the Centrelink payments and so people have no money for essentials much of the time,” she says.

Asked how she maintains her faith in such a remote area, Sr Maureen says the small community she lives in helps sustain and nourish her faith life.

“I live in community with Sister Alma and two others at the moment and we pray every morning, and hold mass at least three times a week.”

“I find the community supports each other here.”

 

This is an excerpt from a feature story written by Vicki Buchanan for Eternity. You can read the full story here.