Twenty years ago, at the invitation of Fr. Albert Chan, MSC, the Chaplain of the Chinese Catholic Community in Brisbane, and with the kind approval of the Most Rev. Archbishop Francis Rush, three Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres - Sr. Lucie Ko, Sr. Teresa Lau and Sr. Nancy Wong -- arrived in Brisbane. With the help of the Most Rev. Bishop John Gerry, Auxiliary Bishop of Brisbane and Fr. Chan, the Sisters set about finding a suitable site to provide residential aged care. After ten-month search, the Sisters purchased three adjacent lots in Fedrick Street, Boronia Heights, on the southern outskirts of Brisbane.
On 15 August 1991, Archbishop Francis Rush laid the foundation stone for the aged care projects, which also incorporated the construction of a convent and the Sisters took up residency in October the following year.
In the afternoon, Mother Myriam gave the Sisters of the Australia Region an inspiring talk. She urged them to follow the example of the Blessed Virgin Mother who was obedient and full of reverence to God the Father, chaste and docile to the Holy Spirit, and supportive to Jesus Christ both in his apostolate and in his Passion.
During Vespers, Marion Tran and Theresa Maria Dao, having completed a year of aspirancy, were received as postulants and each was given with a crucifix by Mother Myriam.
After dinner, as a token of welcome and thanks for Mother Myriam’s gifts of a statue of Madonna of Peace and an exquisite monstrance, the 10 aspirants with the student Sisters from Moss Vale sang, “As I kneel before Ave Maria”. Then the 10 aspirants performed a musical play, “The Road to Galilee”, written and directed by one of them.
Triduum of Celebrations before Pentecost in St. Paul de Chartres Villa
By Sr. Damian Lai, SPC
In the short span of twenty years, St. Paul de Chartres Residential Aged Care has expanded to a full range of services, from independent units, hostel, to nursing home, providing low, medium and high care, and earning an outstanding reputation within the aged care sector in Queensland.
On 24 May, 2012, the Feast of Mary, Help of Christians, the patron of Australia, for the celebration of the 20th anniversary of St. Paul de Chartres Residential Aged Care and the official opening and blessing of the new Novitiate, the occasion was graced no less by the presence of Mother Myriam Kitcharoen, their Superior General from Rome, Sr. Jacqueline, the Provincial Superior of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia, and also Most Rev. Bishop Joseph Oudeman OFM Cap DD, the principal celebrant of the Thanksgiving Mass and the official opening and blessing of the Novitiate.
Concelebrating the Mass with the bishop were Fr. Albert Chan and Fr. Peter Kung. It was most gratifying to see that on a busy weekday, a shopping Thursday morning, so many friends came from near and far to participate in this celebration. During the lunch, staff members serving for more than 5, 10 and 15 years were awarded with loyalty badges. The smooth and steady development of St. Paul de Chartres Residential Aged Care and the setting up of a Novitiate within this short span of period would not have been possible without the loving approval and guidance of Mother Myriam, the Superior General and her Council in Rome, and of Sr. Jacqueline and her assistants, besides the support and help from friends and benefactors in Australia and overseas. Hearts full of praises and thanksgiving to Almighty and Merciful God and the Blessed Mother, Help of Christians, for the blessings and protection the Sisters, staff and residents have been receiving all these years.
It was a story about four aspirants from different places and backgrounds following the Lord’s calling to the same Novitiate in Australia and the struggles they have to face and overcome with God’s grace. It was full of humour and spiritual meaning.
On 25 May, 2012, a Diamond Jubilee celebration of consecrated life for Sr. Lucie Ko was held with a thanksgiving Mass celebrated by Most Rev. Bishop John Gerry, a long time friend of Sr. Lucie. Fr. Albert Chan and Fr. Peter Kung conselebrated the Holy Eucharistic sacrifice. The affair was well attended by many of the staff members and residents, as well as parishioners and friends. The Chinese Catholic Community of Brisbane treated everyone with a delicious lunch. For the entertainment and enlightenment of the Sisters and friends, Sr. Agnes Dinh presented a video show with beautiful photos that captured many of the significant events or moments in the life of Sr. Lucie.
On 26 May, 2012, the celebration reached its climax with a joyful surprise of a friendly visit of Most Rev. Archbishop Mark Coleridge. Just two weeks after taking up his new office as the Archbishop of Brisbane, with his heavy schedule and numerous commitments, the new Archbishop bestowed on the Sisters the honour of welcoming him to their convent, and the privileged of celebrating the Mass and having lunch with them. When he presented each Sister with a picture of the Icon of the Madonna, the Archbishop exhorted the Sisters to contemplate on Jesus, as His Mother did, seeing the face of Jesus in others, in the good ones as well as in those wounded and in need of healing. The Archbishop’s presence, especially his homily, embodied the meaning of Pentecost and re-kindled in the hearts of the Sisters the fire of God’s love and zeal for evangelization. The Catholic Church in Australia inaugurated the Year of Grace on Pentecost Sunday. It was a great blessing that three bishops and Mother Myriam graced this Triduum Celebration with their presence among us.