AFTER more than 21 years of service to the Bowen community, Sister Carmel Arnold has been called back to Townsville.
The last of the town’s Sisters of Mercy, Sr Arnold’s departure will bring to an end the 145-year presence of Sisters in the Bowen community.
A Mass of Thanksgiving and farewell was celebrated by Bishop Tim Harris two weeks ago attended by nearly 150 people from across the Bowen and Whitsunday community.
During the Mass, Bishop Harris thanked Sr Arnold and the Sisters of Mercy for their dedication to the community over the many years.
In recent times Sister Arnold has played a significant role in the town, teaching in local schools and visiting the local hospital.
While she will continue to work in a similar role in Townsville, Sister Arnold said she would miss her home of 21 years and the local people.
“I’m very fond of the community,” Sister Arnold said.
“I’ve got very good friends among the people that are parishioners and people who are not that I run into. “It is one of the loveliest places to live.”
Throughout her years contributing to the community, Sister Arnold has taught across three local schools teaching religion, art and singing.
Sr Carmel Ruddick representing the Sisters of Mercy congregational leader Sr Helen White said” “Bowen has been a very rich source of religious vocations, and I believe that the Sisters who have ministered here have drawn from the strong roots of faith planted by so many, as well as from their individual love of God and the inspiration received from our foundress, Catherine McAuley.”
“My own personal association with Bowen runs very deep, this town was my mother’s home for many years, it is where my family enjoyed some wonderful summer holidays, and where later, I had the privilege of leading St Mary’s Parish School.” she said.
Sr Ruddick concluded by saying “but now, as an Institute, with sadness in our hearts, it is time to say goodbye.”
Bishop Harris encouraged the people of Bowen to continue to support the Church and that since arriving in the diocese he had been joyed by the faith he had witnessed in the parishes that he had visited.
“We need to ensure that our churches remain Catholic and I need to ensure that we have enough Priests to continue to offer Eucharist to the communities that they serve and to do this we need to work hard to encourage local vocations to the priesthood,” he said.