Vale Sister Marie Celine Gallagher rsj 1917-2014
Patricia Gallagher was born on 17th September, 1917 at her grandmother’s house. Weighing just two-and-a-half pounds at birth, the doctor said she would not live. However, she defied all odds and despite ongoing health issues, God blessed Sr Marie Celine with a rich 96 years of life.
Patricia grew up in a loving family with three brothers and two sisters. Her schooling was completed at Cargo where she was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph until Intermediate. She entered religious life at Perthville in March 1934 and was professed in 1936 as Sister Marie Celine.
Having completed her teacher training at Perthville, Sister Marie Celine’s teaching ministry was served between 1939 and 1991 in various schools in the Bathurst Diocese, such as Gilgandra, Perthville, Millthorpe, Yeoval, Coolah, Portland, Moorbel, Stuart Town, Manildra, Eugowra, Coonabarabran, Baradine, Blayney, Oberon, Gulgong and West Bathurst. She was a successful teacher who loved the children and had a particular way with the needy ones. Her teaching ministry included academic subjects as well as typing and shorthand. When relieved of full-time teaching, Marie Celine devoted her time to remedial work, mainly maths and reading, and she taught religion in State Schools. Later she shared her creative skills in many places in the Diocese; teaching sewing, craft and cane-work, which she loved.
Marie Celine is survived by her sister, Peggy Beath and her nieces and nephews of whom she was very fond and who were generous and kind to her. She maintained a keen interest in world and local events and could converse intelligently on current affairs. She was always helpful and dependable in the community and grateful for any kindness shown to her. She loved to dabble in art and at age 95, while resident at Macquarie Care, she had three of her paintings chosen to be hung in an Evans Art Exhibition.
Union with God was the core of Marie Celine’s religious life. Prayer, Mass, spiritual reading and retreats were all important in Marie Celine’s life and it was a blessing that she had visits from the priests and the last anointing during her last few days. Sister Marie Celine was an enthusiastic supporter of fusion and expressed her joy at having lived to see the day of “the Josephite sisters coming together as one family of Mary and Julian”.
Marie Celine moved to hostel care at St. Anne’s Home Perthville in December 2002. Due to failing health Marie Celine was transferred in November 2012 to nursing care at Macquarie Care in Bathurst where she died on 23rd July, 2014. We thank God for the gift of Marie Celine’s life and pray that she may now enjoy the eternal embrace of her loving God. May she rest in peace.