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Mass marks Mater’s centenary of health care

Hundreds of people gathered in St Stephen’s Cathedral, Brisbane, on May 10 to celebrate the Mater Hospital’s centenary of health care in the city. Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby and Mater chaplains, Franciscan Father Cassian Double and Father John Barlow, concelebrated the Mass.

A special recessional hymn, Come and Heal Us, composed by Jesuit Father Christopher Willcock in honour of the Mater’s centenary, was sung for the first time by the All Hallows’ School Choir.

The Sisters of Mercy opened Brisbane’s first Mater Hospital in 1906, which started the tradition of care dedicated to the sick and needy.

In his homily, Archbishop Bathersby said the Sisters of Mercy had contributed to the common good of society through their work at the Mater Hospital.

“Today we come together to thank God for the initiative of the Sisters of Mercy and to thank God for their enormous ministry of religious sisters, nursing staff, doctors, health care professionals and staff who during  the past 100 years have done so much good for Brisbane and the state of Queensland”, Archbishop Bathersby said.

“They have helped ease the pain of suffering and promoted healing by their ministry. It is entirely appropriate that we gather in our great act of thanksgiving, the Mass, to thank God for God’s great love for each of us, to thank God for Venerable Mother Catherine McAuley who, following in his footsteps, saw the needs of people and responded to them, to thank God for those Sisters of Mercy who followed her example, to thank God for Mother Vincent Whitty who brought the Sisters of Mercy to Brisbane and responded to our educational and healthcare needs of this fledgling city, and finally to thank God for all those, over 100 years, who have provided health care through private and public hospitals for thousands upon thousands of sick and suffering people from Brisbane, Queensland and northern New South Wales”.

Archbishop Bathersby congratulated the Sisters of Mercy for their contribution to the apostolate of health care and the promotion of God’s Kingdom. He also congratulated Mater Health Services chief executive officer Dr John O’Donnell and staff for the important role they continued to play in the life of the archdiocese.

Messages to: Elizabeth O’Keeffe RSM Congregation Secretary

This article appeared in “The Catholic Leader” on May 21, 2006. It is reproduced here with permission.


(Back from left) Mater Health Services Board chairman John McAuliffe, Archbishop John Bathersby, Mater Health Services chief executive officer Dr John O’Donnell, mission leadership executive director Peter Hill, Sisters of Mercy Congregation Leadership Team member Sr Sue Smith.

(Front) former Mater nursing superintendent Sr Madonna Josey, Mater Redevelopment Project deputy director Sr Michaeleen Ahern, former Mater nursing superintendent Sr Jill Stringer and Sisters of Mercy Congregation Leader Sr Sandra Lupi at St Stephen’s cathedral for the Mater Centenary Mass.