Friday, November 6, 2015

Meet Our Sisters: Sr. Philomena Roche, OSB

(Meet Our Sisters will be a Blog Series to get to know our Sisters from the Missionary Benedictine Sisters in Norfolk, NE. Each month we will feature a new Sister and her journey to become a Missionary Benedictine Sister.)

Born November 17th 1931, Christchurch, New Zealand.
First Profession: December 8th 1949
Final profession: December 8th 1952.
Feast Day: August 11th
Mission Experience: Philippines, Australia, Winnebago, Norfolk

Religious Journey:

I entered the enclosed Contemplative Benedictines in Sydney, Australia at the age of 16. I was there from 1948 till 1970 when I changed to the Benedictine Missionary Sisters in New Norcia, West Australia. These mainly Spanish Sisters had 2 orphanages, one for girls and one for boys. They returned to Spain in 1974 and Sr. Veronica Willaway and I went to Spain. We both helped in Casa del Nino for children of working mothers. When more help was needed where 3 of the Spanish Sisters had remained, Sr. Veronica and I went back to Australia to help there. I was put in charge of the Kindergarten, took the weather reports for the Perth Meteorological station (transmitted via radio), I had care of the poultry (ducks and fouls); I helped with the religious instruction in the government school there. I was in Kalumburu for 8 years (1978-1986). In 1982 we all transferred to the Tutzing Missionary Benedictine Sisters.

In 1986, I was assigned to Marikina in the Philippines for two years as one of the 4 helpers to the librarian in the grad school library. I was also the sacristan (with a good helper) for the chapel where there were many masses (weekly) for the 6,000 students. Some masses were held in the gymnasium.

In 1988 I was assigned to Baguio where more help was needed for the aged Sisters. I was in charge of the laundry and gave weekly religious instruction to the many domestic helpers. July 16 1990 was the big Baguio earthquake and the guest area was badly damaged, so not much work for the laundry. More help was needed in Kalumburu, West Australia and I was asked if I was willing to return there. So I was back there from 1990 until 1995 when I came here to Norfolk.
I was in Winnebago from 1996 till 2003 when I was diagnosed to have cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart) so I needed to do less work. I came back here to Norfolk where I visit the sick and ageing and write letters to prisoners. I thank God for all these missionary experiences.

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