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Monday, 14 March 2005
Page: 23

Mr RUDD (1:53 PM) —Last month, it was my honour to visit the Sisters of Mercy at the Convent Chapel at the Mater Hospital in South Brisbane. The convent is attached to the Mater and currently has 26 sisters in residence. Some of the sisters have resided in the convent since the development of the Mater Hospital in the 1930s. The convent has played a pivotal role in the history of the Mater Hospital. Although the convent is now a residence for retired sisters, the sisters continue to remain actively involved in the life of the hospital and in the wider Brisbane community. Currently, five of the 26 sisters are 90 years of age or older. Many of the sisters are formally retired, but informally they are far from retired. They include Sister Mary Denise, Sister Mary Ignace, Sister Camillus Mary, Sister Win Johnson, Sister Mary King, Sister Anna Donovan, Sister Mary Francesca, Sister Jill Stringer, Sister Peg Slack, Sister Mary Justin, Sister Regis Mary Dunne, Sister Mary Cecelia and Sister Patricia Reordan.

Over the last 75 years, sisters at the convent have worked as pharmacists, nurses, medical laboratory scientists, microbiologists and geneticists. As well as working in the fields of medicine, sisters at the convent have worked as teachers, including in the most remote rural parts of Queensland. In their ‘retirement’, the sisters continue to provide a ministry of care and perform community work. Sisters continue to visit cancer patients and are involved in caring for mothers and newborn babes in the Mater Mothers Hospital. Sisters also continue to provide a counselling and prayer service for the local community in South Brisbane. I take this opportunity to place on record my honour for the contribution of these fine sisters. (Time expired)