MISSIONARY Sisters of Service Sister Imelda McMahon was praised for her “famed hospitality” at her recent celebration of 60 years in the order at the Toowoomba’s Lourdes Home chapel.
Former Toowoomba Bish-op Bill Morris said this attribute had been on display in Sr McMahon’s much-loved work of selling books in book stores from Tasmania to Toowoomba.
“She reaches out to customers with her touch of love, welcoming hand, shoulder to cry on and of course a cup of tea,” he said.
Sr McMahon recalled some of many humorous moments in her years of religious life.
“While visiting one of many families, I had a little five-year-old boy come up and say, ‘Was your mummy surprised when she had a nun baby?’”
She also recalled having dinner with another family and a boy said: “You know what Daddy found in the cow bales this morning – a baby kangaroo.”
At the end of the meal, she asked to go and see the roo.
This followed with an awkward silence, as the mother said: “I’m sorry, sister, you have just eaten it”.
In other speeches, listeners were informed of Sr McMahon’s spiritual journey from the moment in 1950 on August 16 when she landed on the Derwent River in Hobart on a light seaplane from Sydney Harbour to begin her training.
“In 1957, we saw Sr Imelda pioneer the first foundation to explore outside Hobart and meet the needs of the isolated people; to bring encouragement, hope, love and spirit of service,” one speaker said.
“From here Sr Imelda helped in hostels and then worked in the Catholic Bookshop in Hobart including co-ordinating an adult correspondence course.
“After 32 years in Tasman-ia, Sr Imelda arrived in Too-woomba in 1982 and managed the Catholic Bookshop here.
“Crowned with the ‘stickability’ award, Sr Imelda’s huge drive and determination and deep faith would always keep things going.
“This blossomed within recent years providing pastoral care at Lourdes Home.”
Those attending the celebration also learnt Sr McMahon’s talents went beyond enjoying books, determination and love.
While in Tasmania, she choreographed a huge theatrical event called Ballad of the Word, involving more than 120 children.
At the end of her anniversary celebration Sr Imelda said: “This has been a wonderful journey to take God’s love to the country and its isolated people and I am so glad to have you all with me.”