By Paul Dobbyn
COOKTOWN’S pastoral leader Mercy Sister Irene Masterson has amazingly managed to be “where cyclones weren’t” in her decades of ministry in Queensland’s far north.
Not this time.
Preparing to bunker down ahead of monster Cyclone Ita with the rest of Cooktown, she spoke with The Catholic Leader around 11am Friday, April 11.
Reports were becoming increasingly alarming.
There were even suggestions that the Category 5 cyclone, expected to pack winds of up to 300 km/h, could wipe Cooktown off the map.
“At our Lenten program prayer meeting at St Mary’s Church on Tuesday I had this gut feeling that things were not good,” Sr Masterson said.
“Even last Sunday at the town’s ecumenical prayer meeting we were praying for the good of all here.
“There was already a sense of threat from the cyclone that had done so much damage in the Solomon Islands.”
She said winds were expected to pick up significantly around noon and the full fury of the massive cyclone was expected some time Friday night.
“Most of us in the town have done everything we can to make ourselves safe,” Sr Masterson said.
“Of course, like the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, there are some who are burying their heads in the sand and not worrying.
“I’ll be bunkering down in the bathroom and trusting in the Lord’s protection.
“Please pray and ask prayers for all of us.”