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We are Catholic Healthcare - Sister Christina

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Sr Christina’s life has turned full circle.

Born in 1936 in Hunters Hill, Sr Christina’s childhood centred around the then sleepy village – going to school, playing with her brothers and sister, and helping the Sisters living across the road at the St Joseph and St Anne’s convents.

At the time St Joseph was the Sisters of St Joseph ‘juniorate’ where young women studied for their Leaving Certificate and prepared for being received as Novices. The building had been acquired by Mary MacKillop in 1907 from the McArdle family when it became a boarding school for girls. Now St Joseph and St Anne’s are aged care homes run by Catholic Healthcare catering for over 100 residents, many retired Sisters.

“When I was young I used to go down to St Anne’s every afternoon, get the money off the old organ and go buy the Sisters the Daily Mirror newspaper and pick up the mail,” says Sr Christina. “If they needed my help other times they would wave a tea towel from the back room. My Mum would say ‘the sisters are looking for you’. That was their sign they needed me.

“I used to help them so much my Mum joked that I should move in with them. All the family laughed when I did move to St Joseph to start my studies!

“In January 1953 I entered the Sisters of St Joseph as a postulant. I was sent to teach at St Aidan’s primary school in the Sydney suburb of Rooty Hill. In those days there were many new immigrant families – Germans, Polish and Yugoslavs – who were fleeing their own countries. We were at bursting point at one stage, sometimes we had 60 children in the classroom. I taught in a shed because there was only the church and one school room. The windows had louvre blinds so when it rained we had our own swimming pool in the middle of the floor.

“I've now come back to St Joseph to live out the rest of my life. It’s been full circle. It's a lovely feeling to be able to walk up the street and know that so many people I've known have walked the same streets, visited the same shops, know the same people.

“I’m still helping out at St Anne’s. I go over and do little jobs like folding the washing and setting the tables. It’s been wonderful to see the interaction between Catholic Healthcare and the Sisters. They work hand in glove together. Catholic Healthcare is keeping the spirit of Mary MacKillop alive.”