Marcia McMahon MSS reflects on life ‘with the people’

Woman standing in front of The Nobbies at Phillip Island

My early memories of growing up are good memories, surprisingly profound in hindsight. My parents and the three of us were impacted greatly by the then ‘signs of the times’. Now, several years later, I realise that this experience was a strong basis for the choices I have made in life.  Being born in the early 1940s, our lifestyle was very much conditioned by the events of that time. Glen Iris, a suburb of Melbourne, was far less sophisticated than now.

Life was ordinary so to speak. Our family was very much involved in ‘the Church scene’ and yes, politically motivated, which in turn meant we were very much people-orientated. Growing up we did the normal things: sporting, dating and following the then normal patterns of life. For some time, I recalled an article in The Harvest Magazine about a group of religious sisters in Tasmania (then called the Rosary sisters), now known as the Missionary Sisters of Service. And the rest is history!

In 1963, I joined the order in Hobart and subsequent years led me along the fascinating journey that has been mine. Vatican II was unfolding and it was so exciting to be in Tasmania at that time. Visiting the east, southern and north coasts was ever so special, meeting such wonderful people, with some stints in the Correspondence School, which I loved, having met many families during visits to parishes.

My life experiences were widened further with time spent in the Toowoomba and Wilcannia-Forbes Dioceses. Having grown up with a dad who educated me in caring for the land and all around, I loved visiting the outback, in particular meeting the people. Both these issues befriended me, and still do. I do love the sea, to visit Phillip Island (The Nobbies) and to take in the moods of the sea! (The photo above is at The Nobbies).

In latter years, I was able to join The Inter Church Industrial Mission here in Melbourne, another real learning curve in my life. Again, with people working in Industry who trusted me implicitly.  As a dear friend of mine would often remind me, ‘people are important’. To quote a line from Sheila Hancock after her film-making of Edie: ‘For me, I was aware that something has happened to me — What?  My soul?’

Thanks to ‘the unconditional companionship of God’, our founder John Wallis and the many women who encouraged me to read and live the big maps of life.


Wild sea at the Nobbies

Moods of the sea at Phillip Island, Victoria. Photo by Marcia McMahon MSS