May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be Everywhere Loved
Good afternoon and it is wonderful to be here to celebrate the occasion of Sr Josette and Sr Theresa Jubilees. To each of you, family, friends, Sisters, members of the Chevalier family and especially our Jubilarians, Josette and Theresa, a heartfelt welcome.
Today we express our appreciation and love to our Jubilarians – Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, who over seventy years ago began a journey which has taken them to places and situations that they possibly never dreamed about, on their first profession day. Amazing 70 years ago! It would be difficult for many people in our society today to even imagine this sort of selfless commitment to God and to God’s people. Their lives of dedication and long-term commitment are an inspiration to all of us.
I have asked a few people to give me some inside information on these two valiant women. It is not easy to sum up 140 years in a few minutes.
Theresa was born in Sydney and went to school in the local area completing her Secondary Education next door at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College. Josette was born in Tumut, and very proud of it. One of my sources told me that any imported oranges that arrived in PNG had to be inspected by Josette to see if they came from Tumut. Josette completed her leaving certificate at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College here in Kensington.
Both Sisters have spent the majority of their religious life ministering in the field of Education. Theresa in our Primary Schools and Colleges in Australia and Josette in Schools in Papua New Guinea. Both instrumental in forming the hearts and minds of young people. Some of you in this room are can attest to their wonderful teaching. Some OLSH Sisters present here today were inspired to enter the Congregation because of their witness to God’s love.
Theresa was a highly respected teacher in both primary and secondary education. Former students have described her as treating all students the same and never having any favourites. She was a wonderful staff member whose warmth, ability to laugh and join in the fun attracted people to her. During her many years in education she was drawn to help those suffering, especially young people with difficult home situations. In her later years Theresa was involved with our associates and is well known for her wonderful organization and leadership of the Pilgrimages to Issoudun. Her passion for our Charism and love of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart led her to work tirelessly at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart at Randwick where she was able to spread this devotion through her witness and her many writings. Theresa is known in Community for her genuine care for others, compassion, graciousness, and positive attitude.
Josette’s teaching ministry was in Papua New Guinea, where she spent years in ‘out stations’. There were very few teachers and she soon found herself in Administration and training the local people to be teachers. From the first time she arrived in PNG she was described as being a ‘ball of energy’. It will not surprise anyone that Josette was a very competent sports coach in a variety of sports and organised many sporting carnivals for her students and her students won many competitions. Her energy and determination resulted in her making a major contribution to the future of education in the young nation. This is apparent by the awards she has received from the PNG Government for service to Education. Josette is well known for her love of ‘projects’ and from the inception of the PNG Province in 1964, she along with many other sisters worked tirelessly at fund raising to support the new Province. After retiring from teaching Josette ran a very profitable school canteen right up to the time, she left PNG. She made many friends in PNG, including members of the Chinese Catholic Community, some who are present with us today. Josette returned to Australia in 2013, Josette is known in community for her warmth, graciousness, kindness and generosity.
This brief summary certainly does not do justice to these heroic Sisters. Josette and Theresa have touched countless life’s over their many years of generous, dedicated, joy filled service to God and God’s people. Like Jules Chevalier and Marie Louise Hartzer, they have shown people the compassionate face of God and the church.
As I look at you today, Theresa and Josette, I can only say…your lives have been and continue to be an inspiration to us all, thank you for your witness to each one of us of what a faith filled, forever YES looks like….a life lived so close to Jesus that you cannot but radiate Joy. All that is left to say is, God bless you, thank you and congratulations to both of you, for sharing your many gifts and live with us all, may you continue to be blessed with good health and a positive spirit as you witness to God’s generous love.
I ask Moya and Pauline to present you with a rose as a symbol of our deep love and appreciation.
Josette and Theresa, we are proud of you and we love you.
Philippa Murphy olsh
Kensington, 4th January, 2020