Highways and Byways Women
Our Sisters’ Stories
Today there are 24 of us living in Australia – in Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland and South Australia. Though older and less mobile, we continue to reach out and be with people in their ordinary, everyday lives, no matter who they are and from what background they have come.
Cecilia Bailey MSS Toowoomba, Queensland
Marie Carroll MSS Toowoomba, Queensland
Marie was born in Harrisville, Queensland, in 1929, where she grew up. She joined the Missionary Sisters of Service in 1957, aged 28 years. Marie has been an MSS for more than 60 years, working in Tasmania, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland. Some of her more interesting expressions of mission included working in the Emerald gem fields, 315km west of Rockhampton, Queensland. For a number of years, she was also part of the aerial ministry in the Diocese of Rockhampton where she and the priest pilot, Fr Terry Loth, would fly from Longreach to visit people living on the big and isolated cattle and sheep stations in the far south corner and western Queensland. Marie also co-ordinated and distributed the Overlander, our internal MSS newsletter. Each of the Sisters would send in their news, whereupon Marie would cut and paste the letters together into one document, photocopy it, and post it out to each of the Sisters across Australia. Marie did this for 32 years, with this job ending in October 2019. Marie now lives in Toowoomba, Queensland.
Mary Cleary MSS Toowoomba, Queensland
Oakleigh East, Victoria
Kath Clune grew up in Sydney and joined the Missionary Sisters of Service in 1959. She worked in Western New South Wales; Queensland, from Birdsville to the Gulf, where she’d travel with the mailman, station-hopping; Tasmania, especially in hydro villages on the west coast, working in the
Inter Church Trade and Industry Ministry; and in Sydney as pastoral carer, and then as an enrolled nurse in St Vincent’s Hospice and psychiatric hospitals. Kath now lives in Melbourne where she enjoys gardening, U3A, her cat, and volunteering, which includes walking dogs for people with disabilities.
Nancy Doyle MSS Toowoomba, Queensland
Forest Hill, Victoria
June Dunford was born in Parkes, New South Wales, and joined the Missionary Sisters of Service in 1959. She has worked and lived mainly in Tasmania and Melbourne, where she spent many years working in the Correspondence School for religious education, which reached out to families and their children across Australia and beyond. She also worked in MSS administration and finance. For many years, June worked in Eastern Palliative Care in Victoria, accompanying the loved ones of families as they neared the end of their life. June is highly skilled at many craft activities, especially knitting. She lives in Forest Hill, in Melbourne’s east.
Julianne Dunn MSS Hawthorn East, Victoria
Julianne was born in Melbourne and grew up in Cowes on Phillip Island in Victoria. She joined the Missionary Sisters of Service in 1957 and was in the first group of MSS who went to work in the vast areas of the Toowoomba Diocese in 1964. She was Archbishop Guildford Young’s secretary in Hobart for 18 years from 1965 during the aftermath of Vatican II. She also lived and worked in Canberra for a number of years at the Australian Catholic Bishops Secretariat, as well as on the north west coast of Tasmania until returning to Melbourne in 2006. She has maintained her life-long commitment to the Essendon Football Club.
Beryl Gleeson MSS Toowoomba, Queensland
Lorraine Groves MSS, Claremont, Tasmania
Bernadette Madden MSS Nunawading, Victoria
Marcia McMahon MSS Clayton, Victoria
Forest Hill, Victoria
Frances McShane MSS Claremont, Tasmania
Pat Quinn MSS Toowoomba, Queensland
Pat Quinn was born in Melbourne in 1939. She joined the Missionary Sisters of Service in 1956, aged 17-years. The first half of her MSS life was spent in parish mission work in isolated areas of Tasmania and south west Queensland. She was given the opportunity to study overseas, and upon her return established The Portiuncula spiritual centre in Toowoomba, which provided counselling, spiritual direction and courses. Pat ran the centre for 27 years, and it was open to all. Pat lives in Toowoomba, Queensland, and is particularly known for her role in organizing a special pilgrimage to Tasmania as part of the MSS 75-year anniversary celebrations.
Cheryle Thomson MSS Whyalla, South Australia
Cheryle Thomson was born in Port Pirie, South Australia. She was educated there and worked as a nurse at the Pirie Hospital for five years before moving to Hobart, Tasmania, to join the Missionary Sisters of Service in 1974. She has lived in Toowoomba, Parkes, Whyalla and Tasmania as part of her missionary work. Whyalla, South Australia, has been her home for the last 32 years. For 12 of those years she travelled the Eyre Peninsula and visited the vast areas of the Coober Pedy parish. For the past 21 years, Cheryle has been a Pastoral Associate in the Whyalla Parish. Over her many years as an MSS she has had the privilege to come into the lives of many people and has shared in their ups and downs of life. She has many wonderful memories of the places and people visited, for which she is very grateful.
Blackburn South, Victoria
Corrie van den Bosch was born in 1939 in the Netherlands, and migrated to Australia with her family in 1951. She joined the Missionary Sisters of Service in 1959 and has lived and worked in all of Australia’s eastern States and South Australia, developing skills in pastoral work, leadership formation, spiritual development and building interfaith relationships. She also designed and wrote courses for the MSS correspondence school in religious education, edited Highways and Byways, the MSS newsletter, wrote stories and articles for the MSS website and various publications. Corrie is a keen gardener and bushwalker and currently lives in Blackburn, Victoria.
Forest Hill, Victoria
Stancea Vichie was born in Brisbane in 1947 and grew up in Bundaberg, Queensland. She joined the Missionary Sisters of Service in 1968. Stancea has worked in pastoral support, leadership, and justice and peace in many settings in urban, rural and outback areas of Australia. Some of this work has taken her for short periods to various countries such as Timor Leste, Sri Lanka, and Peru. Stancea is a member of ACRATH which works towards the elimination of human trafficking. She has also worked with refugees and asylum seekers in the community as well as in detention. She feels a strong connection to this land, acknowledges the continuing story of its First Peoples, and stands with them and people of goodwill in the journey towards justice and truth-telling. She lives in Melbourne and loves to walk in the solitude of the bush, read, listen to and play various musical instruments, and have lots of laughs to nurture her in life.
Bernadette Wallis MSS Melbourne, Victoria
Remembering the Sisters
18 November 1960
20 January 1970
12 October 1973
Monica (Alice) Carroll, born 1889 in Hobart, was a founding member of the Congregation, 1944 at the age of 55. During World War II, Monica, prior to her joining the MSS, had held responsible positions in the Telephone Exchange. In the early years she held a leadership role in the community. We remember her as a courageous woman of faith, strong, disciplined, orderly, generous and kind. She loved her cup of very hot tea and had a witty sense of humour and playfulness.
21 February 1987
Vianney (Kathleen) Moore, born 1910 in Hobart, was a founding member of the Congregation. We remember her as a beautiful, humble and gentle woman with a great missionary heart, a deep love for people and particularly for priests. A warm-hearted and compassionate listener, she endured much suffering with patience and great faith.
29 October 1989
Teresa (Gwen) Morse, born in 1906 in Devonport, was a woman with a deep contemplative visionary spirit, and eminent practicality. She may well be regarded as the co-foundress of our congregation. The first to offer herself for Father John’s vision, she was able to give it a distinctive feminine expression. She was the first elected member to be the Congregational leader in 1956. We remember her as a generous, wise, inspirational woman of grace and dignity, with an ability to draw out the best in people.
15 December 1989
12 August 1994
13 February 1996
27 April 2008
26 March 2009
29 May 2009
9 May 2010
15 May 2010
25 August 2011
Agnes Ryan, born in Perth Western Australia in 1915, joined the founding group in December 1944. She lived and worked in Tasmania, New South Wales, Queensland and finally in Victoria. With an education background, Agnes excelled in her work of forming a faith educated laity, especially for catechists and in the area of spirituality. We remember her as a woman of faith with a deep sense of mission, an educator par excellence, a pioneering spirit, always ready to push the boundaries of convention. Her fully active life was nourished by a deep contemplative spirit, purified in periods of great inner darkness, and blossoming into love. Her greatest joy was to lead others to experience the same spiritual riches.
2 July 2012
7 October 2012
29 May 2014
Joan Shannon, born in Brisbane in 1920, joined the Congregation in 1953. We remember Joan above all as a woman who exuded joy. With a sense of mission, a song in her heart and often on her lips, she was passionate about people, outgoing and energetic and with a special love of the outback and its people. With a mission as big as her heart, the highways and byways became skyways for her when, with Fr Terry Loth, she flew from Longreach to the most far-flung station families. Memories of Joan bring smiles to our faces.
30 April 2015
19 June 2015
Genevieve (Yue Soh) Ng was born 1937 in Singapore of Chinese heritage and joined the Congregation in 1958. We remember Genevieve as a larger-than-life woman, courageous, dynamic, colourful, generous, cheerful and kind, creative, and playful. Her love of the Lord, of the MSS mission, and of people impelled her to the beyond, to people most in need. She loved to entertain with food and stories, while her sufferings remained largely hidden.
7 March 2017
17 March 2017
4 January 2018
3 January 2021
Margaret Kenny was born in East St Kilda, Victoria, in 1932. She made her first profession with the Missionary Sisters of Service in 1959. She has worked mostly in rural South Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria. She spent many years with the correspondence school and played an important role in ‘The Book Shelf’ in Whyalla, South Australia. She was also part of the Catholic book shop in Hobart, Tasmania.
16 July 2021
Carmel Hall was born in Latrobe, Tasmania in 1931. She joined the Missionary Sisters of Service aged 27 years, in 1958. Carmel worked in the Correspondence school for religious education, and in the Missionary Sisters of Service administration in Tasmania. She also worked in the Archdiocese of Hobart Marriage Tribunal office. Significantly, she was the MSS Archivist for more than more than 50 years, as well as being the Archivist for the Archdiocese of Hobart for 28 years.
15 October 2021
Maureen Hickling was born in Stanthorpe, Queensland; her Family lived on a fruit orchard at Wyberba. She went to a little one-teacher school with 15 other children and then went on to secondary school in Toowoomba. After three years as a Lay Missionary in Madang, Papua New Guinea, she joined the Missionary Sisters of Service, aged 21. She had lived and worked in Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria and Mackay, Royal Brisbane Hospital, and Bribie Island in Queensland. Maureen lived on Bribie Island for many years and was interested in supporting the local community and care of the environment. She had been part of groups that monitor the local turtle population, the sea grass for the Dugongs and a cane toad project. Photography had been her hobby – from sunrise to sunset and the local wildlife, birds and wildflowers, her inspiration.