|Vale Sr Mary Roche - 28 July 2016|
The farewells to Sr Mary Roche really did sum up the esteem and affection in which she was held. Along with the sadness that comes when someone special leaves your life, there was a deep gratitude palpable in the community for the gift of having known Sr Mary. The Vigil, Funeral Mass and College Prayer Service each offered opportunities to commend Sr Mary to God’s loving care.
Sr Mary Roche was born in the town of Gayndah. After completing high school in Innisfail, she taught briefly at Lourdes Hill then entered the Good Samaritan Novitiate at Pennant Hills, NSW. For 34 years, Sr Mary worked for Good Samaritan Colleges in and around Sydney, developing a passion for education. She re-joined the staff at Lourdes Hill College in 1998 and, for the next 10 years, she taught religion and mathematics at the College, with her Thursday afternoon maths tutoring sessions becoming the stuff of legend. She was a well-respected teacher and her students were always taught with much love and care. In 2007, Sr Mary retired after a dedicated career in education that spanned six decades. However, following her retirement, Sr Mary still devoted her time to serving LHC as a member of the Benedict Resource Centre staff, and the wider community. Sr Mary was a very proud House Patron and was humbled by her appointment.
The community gathered in the LHC chapel on the afternoon of Sunday 17 July to keep vigil. Memories were shared in a moving ceremony conducted by the Sisters in the Benedictine tradition of psalms and prayers. The Vigil was attended by many present and former students, parents and members of staff, along with members of the Good Samaritan community, family and friends.
The Funeral Mass took place the next day at Sts Peter and Paul’s Church. The coffin was accompanied in and out of the church by students from LHC and from Mt St Benedict’s in Sydney, where Sr Mary is lovingly remembered as the foundational Deputy Principal and later Principal. After Mass, the funeral cortege travelled to Nudgee Cemetery via Virginia Avenue and Hawthorne Road, where the whole student and staff body stood in a silent guard of honour. As always, the girls were magnificent and many of the mourners commented on the reverence and respect shown in this gesture.
On Tuesday morning, the leaders of Roche House gathered the whole community together in the Good Samaritan Centre and conducted a beautiful service of commendation using many of the prayers from the previous two ceremonies. Again, the level of respect and affection for Sr Mary was very evident.
Sr Mary is lovingly remembered by the Lourdes Hill College community and we pray she now enjoys the fullness of life in the presence of her God.
Deputy Principal - Mission