‘Everything is possible with God’

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‘Everything is possible with God’

For Sister Mary Noonan RSJ, the 75th anniversary of her profession as a Sister of Saint Joseph has brought back many fond memories from her 75 “wonderful years” serving God who she says has “supported her all the way”.

The eldest of six children, Sr Mary grew up in New Norfolk before entering the novitiate on February 2, 1942 and making her first profession on January 4, 1945.

“It feels impossible, that it's 75 [years] … but everything is possible with God,” Sr Mary said, reflecting upon her celebrations.

“We started in the juniorate, which was a place for girls who were thinking about becoming nuns and you go there when you're 12 … We were fearless,” Sr Mary said.

“I remember as a young girl, that what made me think of the Josephites [was] Sr Fabian. Her mother was mum's sister – much older sister – and she was a Josephite so I thought I'd join in with them.  It was a Tasmanian order and I prefer the Tasmanian one’s - I'd rather not go away from home.”

Having taught hundreds of Tasmanians at primary and secondary schools across the state during her teaching career with the Josephites, there was one past pupil of which Sr Noonan has loving memories.

“He was a little boy in Grade Four,” Sister Mary recalls Emeritus Archbishop Adrian Doyle in his younger years. 

“I used to have make-believe Mass every Friday for religion … so I would get a boy to dress up as a priest and [Archbishop] Adrian was one I used to use for it, often.”

Sr Mary also vividly remembers when, together with fellow Josephite Sisters, she formed the ‘Nuns in Chorus’ singing group, which gained national attention by appearing on television personality Gordon Boyd’s ‘Showcase’ talent show in 1969.

“I got all the nuns together to co-operate with me to form a choir and we learnt some songs and put them on a record,” she said.

“We weren't great singers,” Sr Mary recalls, but “[Gordon Boyd] said they were a band of happy people, happy voices singing the song.”

Sr Mary said the years she spent teaching at Good Shepherd Seminary in Papua New Guinea from 1996 to 2003 was an experience she ‘loved’.

Writing her autobiography ‘Nun the Less’ in 2008 was also an experience Sr Mary remembers fondly.

“With the help of God, I am doing very well.  I thank God - He has helped me all the way as my spouse,” Sr Mary said.