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Nominee: Sister Mary Majella Kearney
Category: Faith Groups
Kathleen Mary Kearney was born in 1918 in Auburn (Sydney) to Elsie Florence Taylor and Bernard James Kearney. Entering the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta in 1939, she was professed in 1942, when she was given the name Majella.
During her long life Sister Majella served at different times for a total of 33 years at St Michael’s Child Care Centre at Baulkham Hills. Despite the large number of boys in the early days she got to know many of the boys very well and has retained connection with them into their mature years. Her happy, homely dealings with the boys was facilitated by being often in charge of the kitchen, which was always a honey-pot for the boys, who loved to do ‘jobs’ there getting rewards such as scraping interesting dishes. Among her many motherly dealings with the boys were bathing them and supervising them at recreation periods. She found them lovable and funny as well as naughty at times.
As official child care policies changed and institutional care and the breaking up of family units was not considered to be in the best interest of the children, the number of boys in care dropped dramatically and the cottage system was introduced at St Michael’s. Sister Majella served as a house mother for a ‘family’, which ranged from toddlers to teenagers. Subsequently, as St Michael’s developed into the multi-faceted child care which it is to-day, she assisted Sister M. Juliana Arundale in various ways.
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