The first reunion in 1946 was arranged by Sr Mary Dominic rsm, a Charge Sister (now known as a NUM − Nursing Unit Manager). It was held in the nurses’ sitting room with 30 in attendance. A committee was formed from that gathering. Sr Pauline Matheson was elected the first Mater Graduate President and Sr Sheila Moylan was Secretary. Two of our much loved nurses who attended that first Reunion, Sister Kath Gleeson and Sister Pat Tyler, still attend our gatherings.
Our reunions are always joyous occasions, commencing with Mass at the Sacred Heart Cathedral at 9.30am. Our graduates always sing the hymn “Mother of Mercy” at the conclusion of the liturgy, in recognition of the dedication given to us in our training by our Sisters of Mercy.
The Mass ended, the graduates move to the Victor Peters Suite to continue the celebration over lunch.
There is always plenty of laughter and chatter, ‘remember whens’ and photo updates. An important task is choosing recipients for our annual charitable donation. A scholarship is awarded each year to a Mater Calvary nurse to support her studies.
Each year we celebrate our jubilarians, nurses who graduated 50 years ago. Many nurses travel from overseas to be present.
This year we had the privilege of receiving an invitation from Calvary Mater Hospital for dinner. Seventy of our Graduate Nurses attended. It was held in what we knew as the convent with drinks served on the cloister. CEO Greg Flint welcomed the nurses, and spoke about the extensions planned for the coming years. Two of our graduates spoke about their training at the Mater − Jean Crichton, one of our early trainees, and Elizabeth Grist, a much later trainee.
The evening was highlighted with the presence of five senior nurses, all in their nineties. The graduates are blessed with a very strong connection with Calvary Mater which in turn acknowledges the foundation formed by the Mater Nurses.
Sadly, our nurses are in some cases frail and unwell. We visit them regularly – it’s part of our Mater Spirit.
We hope our reunion continues for many more years. If you know a Mater nurse who may not be aware of the event, please let her know as she would be very welcome!
Colleen Canny is President of the Mater Graduate Nurses. She can be contacted via the editor.
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