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“You did not choose me, no, I chose you” John 15: 9-17
This quote used by Father Paul Hanna at the Eucharistic Celebration for the Diamond Jubilee of Profession of Aunty Mon, a Sister of Mercy for 60 years, resonated with me. I often wonder how young men and women, in their prime, choose to lead their lives as a religious. Father Paul put paid to that question this afternoon.
My father Les would be 100 this year.
‘Aunty Mon’, almost 85, is now matriarch of the Musgrave family.
Monica is the elder of two girls, and one of eight brothers and sisters in the family of my grandparents Les and Rachel Musgrave. She was old enough to know how she wanted to lead her life when she entered the convent at age 21. It is wonderful that we can now celebrate with her the sixty years of Profession.
For more than sixty years, the congregation of ‘Parramatta Mercies’ has been her family. How things have changed in those 60+ years – historical shifts from living a more secluded life in convents while teaching generations of children in parochial schools, to discarding the habit and moving into the outside world bringing comfort and healing to those on the margins of our society who battle against the odds.
In recent weeks, Mon has accepted the suggestion of her Mother Superior and has reluctantly given up her ‘mission’ assisting others and is settling into well-earned retirement at Stella Maris by the ocean in Cronulla where her sister, our Aunty Bobbie, is also in residence.
In the early days of life in the convent, nuns would serve you tea in the front parlour and then disappear, leaving you to sip and eat homemade bread and jam, alone. Last year, when I picked Mon up at Epping to go to lunch, she was in her best purple suit, full make-up, and she used her membership card to get us in to the Leagues Club for lunch!
Sister Sophie had the Musgrave Family history down pat when she spoke about Mon’s life. It gave me the idea to include some pictures of Nanna and Pop and Mon’s siblings in my ‘album’. My photo ‘archive’ stretches only so far, but I think I’ve covered all bases. I was in Gunnedah for Aunty Colombiere’s Jubilee in 1950 (?), and thankfully, I have a snapshot in which most of the family is featured. As a boy, Tony Musgrave did a pencil sketch of Pop, and he scanned it down to me, which I’ve also included.