Century for sole surviving sister

Sister Scholastica at her home in Craigie. Picture: Justin Bianchini
Sister Scholastica at her home in Craigie. Picture: Justin Bianchini

And today in Craigie, Sr Scholastica Hartnett turns 100, the oldest ever in her religious congregation and grateful for her health, classroom success and life of service.

‘The Lord has been good to me,’ she told the Weekender this week.

One of her first posts was St Brigid’s in then West Perth where a young priest and future archbishop, Barry Hickey, would be posted.

He will join celebrations for her today in the Whitford Catholic parish church and at her nearby aged-care home, Mercyville.

How did she feel as the sole surviving part of a whole, the last of the 16 who made that journey on the Bendigo 80 years ago?

‘Sometimes a little alone,’ she said. ‘I miss the body.’

Was she concerned that such an Irish diaspora was unlikely again?

‘It doesn’t worry me,’ she said. ‘But you wonder; that the world has changed so greatly.

‘Just recently there was a celebration in Ballyheigue (Ireland), my parish, for all the men and women who left Ballyheigue to become religious for the Australian mission.

‘That was really beautiful, my nieces were there’