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     Todays work is only possible from the pioneers in our past.
L to R: Sr. Elizabeth & her Sister - Sr. Mary Saint Denis in Black habit. Sr. St Denis was a school teacher;
Sr. Elizabeth’s Nephews & Niece - Anthony, John & Pat Coyne and Maureen Evans;
Sr. Elizabeth at St. Vincents in Melbourne
We all understand that the work being done today with our patients and residents relates back to those who committed themselves towards the caring of those in need in years past. This has been done in Queensland now for over 100 years. Recently the St Vincent’s Foundation Queensland received a donation from the family of one of those pioneers, Sister Elizabeth Reardon. I think it is best if her family told you the story.
“Catholic Nuns, the unsung heroes in the care of our aged and terminally ill, have provided a great contribution to the work that still makes an impact today. Their foresight, years ago to establish their Hospitals, Hospices and aged care facilities, and to develop systems and procedures to carry out this work, included our own aunt, Sister Elizabeth Reardon.
A brief history of our dear aunt - Sister Elizabeth (Lib) - Born 13th August 1902, entered Novitiate of the Sisters of Charity in 1920 and professed in 1925. She spent time at Mt. Olivet and worked with a great team of nurses, doctors and staff, building up great friendships and trust in such a caring and difficult environment.
Sr Lib spent many years at Mount Olivet hospital at Kangaroo Point which was a trailblazer in palliative care. Today looking back at her faithful vocation, we as a family thought this is a great opportunity to honour and remember her life of service to her order, The Sisters of Charity, and an opportunity
to recognise the incredible history and legacy left by this courageous order of women and of all orders of women for their dedication to this work.
In 1973, Lib had arranged for Mandy and I, together with our 2 children Timothy and Suzanne to visit and stay at Mt. Olivet, where we were so well looked after by the staff in so many ways, a memory we still all cherish. One special day, Lib came to us and asked that she take Tim (4 years old) on her rounds around the wards of the Hospital. We felt he was too young and may cause stress to the patients. But in her own special way, she gently assured us he will be fine. On their return,
some 2 hours later, Lib was ecstatic at the reception he got and the friendly little comments such as, hope you get better soon were received with smiles and appreciation. He continued these visits each day for the rest of our stay.
We can recount many acts of true charity, kindness, and compassion for the people under her care and this was always most evident with all our families. Her writings, Prayers, offerings of advice were ever present. She helped and advised all the families during sickness and death. She was extremely supportive with my own dear mother Breda, Lib’s younger sister, ensuring she was nursed to the end in the hands of the Sisters of Charity at Caritas Christi Melbourne.
When she was in Melbourne and we had family gatherings particularly at Christmas, she would require one of the family to drive her around Fitzroy to allow her to administer injections, medication and solace to those unable to get to the hospital which was truly selfless and risky.
Sr Lib passed away in 1999, which was heartbreaking for our family. Her Requiem Mass was celebrated by Fr. Gerard Dowling a close friend who through his radio programme in Melbourne promoted the care of those least able to look after themselves and supported all Catholic nuns in their vocation.
Our donation is made in thanksgiving for the generous and faithful vocation of her work and we encourage other families to support as well in the memory of their loved one.”
Anthony, John & Patrick Coyne & Maureen Evans
We thank Maureen, Anthony, John, and Patrick for their support. If you had a family member like Sr Lib, someone who dedicated their life to helping others, we would love to hear their story. We thank all the families of those pioneers who made the choice to serve others in God’s name.
 Caring & Sharing - Issue 2 | 2023

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