Sr Veronica: ‘I can trust Him with anything’

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Sr Veronica: ‘I can trust Him with anything’

Sr Veronica Dillon RSJ who recently celebrated 70 years of religious profession says she has had “a wonderful life”.

“And it has been very peaceful and happy. I’ve been contented,” she said.

Growing up on Bruny Island as the eldest of seven siblings, she remembers the influence of Fr John Wallis on her family.

“We used to say the rosary every night,” Sr Veronica said, recounting how the whole family would kneel along both sides of the bed to pray after tea.

“I can remember, he’d often tell the parents to look after the children, teach them to pray, and teach them about God, about Jesus.”

Now celebrating her platinum anniversary, Sr Veronica says she loves to pray short prayers calling on Our Lady, and prays the rosary every day where she is able to include all the people who have asked for prayers.

At the age of three, Sr Veronica contracted polio, and spent several years in a splint from her waist down.

“I was on my back for a couple of years,” she said.

“I can remember once, I had grown out of the splint and I had to go and have another one made.”

She said the experience was traumatic, but felt that God was with her.

“I felt He’s had this thumb on me from the time I was born.”

The polio caused her to walk with a limp.

“I can remember as a little child saying to my Mum one day: ‘I’m going to be a nun when I grow up.’ She said, ‘Why? What put that into your mind?’ I said, ‘Well, if I’m a nun, I’ll wear a long dress and I’ll cover up my thin leg.’”

She met the Sisters of St Joseph through Catholic summer camps at Cygnet, and studied at the juniorate from her early teenage years.

She describes feeling called to enter the convent as “a very, very strong feeling … I felt God was drawing me there”.

“I didn’t know much about [the Sisters], but it was just between me and God,” she said.

“It was just as though He was wanting me to be in the convent. And I remember when I was teaching before I entered that I couldn’t have done anything else. And the fellows used to come after me, and I had to chase them off with a stick half the time!”

She spent several years teaching in state schools before entering the convent.

As a sister, she taught in schools around Tasmania and became the first principal of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Primary School in Lenah Valley, an experience she says was “wonderful”.

Beginning with only one room, with her only help the novices based in New Town, Sr Veronica saw the school become established.

She says the parents were wonderful.

“No matter what you wanted for the kiddies, they got it,” Sr Veronica said.

“He’s for sure taken care of me, great care. I can trust Him with anything. He never seems to let me down,” she said.

“I often wonder what it will be like to go to heaven, and just see God face to face. Face to face. Not just through faith, but through our face. It will be fantastic.”