GRACE Quane celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by family, friends and her fellow Yeronga parishioners – and a surprise blessing from Pope Francis.
Yeronga parish priest Carmelites of Mary of Immaculate Father Josekutty Vadakkel and members of the parish community organised and presented Mrs Quane with a papal blessing for her 100th birthday.
“It was a beautiful occasion from the parish point of view, to see that milestone happen and support her as a parish unit, and also support her with our prayers and blessings,” Fr Vadakkel said.
Mrs Quane’s daughter Margaret said her mum was “over the moon” to receive the papal blessing.
While her mum had received well-wishes from the Queen, the state and local governments, the papal blessing came as a surprise to her.
Margaret said it was “pretty amazing”.
She said a special Mass was also celebrated for her birthday with family members and some parishioners.
Margaret said her mum wished everybody thanks at the event.
“She was pretty overwhelmed but she’s just amazed,” she said.
“What we did instead of presents is donations going through to Legacy … they’ve been good to Mum.
“People were incredibly generous.”
Mrs Quane is a long-time Yeronga parishioner and is well known across the parish groups – prompting a strong turnout at her celebrations.
Margaret said about 75 people attended the birthday party, with family coming from Perth, Townsville, Melbourne and Sydney, and a strong contingent from her mum’s hometown of Chinchilla.
Born in 1919, one of six children, she grew up in the town of Chinchilla, in Queensland’s Western Downs region, about 300km north-west of Brisbane.
She met her husband Jack, who was teaching there, before the Second World War.
Mrs Quane left Chinchilla to serve during the war.
She ventured to Brisbane and enlisted in the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force.
Margaret said serving in the war was a big thing for her mum.
“A lot of the women here took on fairly responsible positions,” she said.
And after the war, she kept in touch with the women she served with, keeping close ties.
It was also after the war that Jack and Grace married, before settling in Yeronga.
Charity work was also a big part of Mrs Quane’s life.
“During the time, growing up Mum did – typical of her age group – she did a lot of volunteer work,” Margaret said.
“She did some work down at Nudgee orphanage for the Brown Sisters back in those days, and they had a sewing circle at Yeronga for a while.
“She’s always been active in the parish, and (elsewhere in the community).”
Margaret said even now her mum was amazingly lucid. “I think for that age group, they’ve just gone through so many amazing, different things and (they’re) very, very resilient – I think (resilient) is probably the best word for them,” she said.