Graced Beyond Telling launched in Tasmania

Woman Corrie van den Bosch MSS speaking at lecturn

On Saturday 13 April, Graced Beyond Telling: A Soul’s Dark Journey had its second launch, this time in Hobart, Tasmania. The Hobart branch of Highways and Byways, Healing the Land, Healing Ourselves, Together (‘Highways and Byways’) organised the event with Penny Edman shouldering the main preparatory work. She was ably assisted by a number of other branch members, including Eva Dunn and Liz Jordan.

The event took place in St Francis Xavier Parish Hall, South Hobart, a lovely venue for such an occasion. The gathering of 50-plus included long-time friends of the Missionary Sisters of Service (MSS), members of Corrie’s family, former counselling colleagues, a number of priests and emeritus Archbishop Adrian Doyle.

Woman standing at lectern Prue Francis

Book launch emcee, Prue Francis

The MC for the event was Prue Francis. Earlier in her life, Prue joined the MSS and was with them for a few years, then realised her vocation lay elsewhere. She has always maintained her close connection with MSS. She was a good choice for that role, with her relaxed and confident manner.

Liz Jordan, Chair of the Hobart Highways and Byways branch, and Clare McShane, Patron of Highways and Byways, gave the Acknowledgement of Country, followed by Stancea Vichie MSS, who spoke about the MSS story and this year, 2024, as the 80th anniversary of our founding. She invited those present to join us again for its official celebration in July.

Then came the main reason for our gathering. Fr Graeme Howard launched Graced Beyond Telling. In doing so, he shared some of his reflections on the book. He began by relating how he first met a Rosary House Sister (as they were then popularly known) while at primary school in Zeehan, Tasmania, in the late 1940s. At the time he wondered who this nun was and where she came from. Over the years he found the answer to his questions, and for much of his life has been a close friend of the MSS.

In her response to Graeme’s talk, Corrie spoke how she too, first met Missionary Sisters of Service in the early 1950s, not long after her family settled in Tulendeena in Tasmania’s north-east, when they visited her home and she and her siblings enrolled in the correspondence school conducted by the sisters. Some years later, she joined the community.

Woman speaking at lectern

Corrie van den Bosch MSS

Corrie then spoke about the journey of writing her book. For the past 45 years, she kept a journal. Writing in her journal became for her a way of listening deeply to what was happening within herself. It was also a way of listening for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. When preparing to write Graced Beyond Telling, she read through those journals and discovered a treasury of wisdom she had not recognised at the time of writing them. Her journals were both a rich resource and inspiration for her when writing her life story.

Prue thanked all those who were part of organising the event. Fr Graeme was presented with a gift, which included a beautiful rug made of squares knitted by various friends of Lorraine Groves MSS, and stitched together by Lorraine and some of her helpers. Many such rugs have been sent to Aboriginal people in palliative care in Canberra and in Alice Springs, as well as given to people in aged care facilities. They represent the love and care of their makers.

Bernadette Wallis MSS presented Prue with a bouquet of flowers in gratitude for her role as MC. and Archbishop Adrian gave a blessing to conclude the formalities. Highways and Byways Branch members, under the leadership of Eva Dunn, served a delicious afternoon tea. Many people bought books and Corrie was kept busy signing them. Guests mixed and mingled over their cuppas. No one was in a hurry to leave. All in all, as we heard from several of those present, the love and joy permeating the event lingered on in people as they departed.


Photos courtesy Mary Williams and Fiona Sheehan