Quote of the Day
Jesus asks us to love our enemies. This is essential if we want to be Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.
~Jules Chevalier, MSC


9 Funeral Sr Joan Fisher


31 Easter Sunday

29 Good Friday

As the night closed in Sr. Joan Fisher surrendered her life to the God she loved. May she rest in eternal peace and joy.

“As a deer longs for flowing streams,
so my soul longs for you, O God.”
(Ps. 42:1)
Sr. Joan Fisher
Born: 21.08.1931
First Profession: 03.02.1953
Entered Eternal Life:29.03.2024 in Kew, Vic (Australia)
Sr. Joan was born in Melbourne in the suburb of Coburg. She was one of four
children, three sisters and one brother. She was raised in a Catholic working-class
family. Sadly, Sr. Joan’s mother died when she was still a young teenager. Sr. Joan
always felt deeply the loss of her mother.
During the years 1954 – 1984 Sr. Joan served in Administration and Nursing at many
of our hospitals and Age Care Facilities. Joan served at Mena House Hospital, Sacred
Heart Hospital, St. Joseph’s Tower Aged Care, and Mary’s Grange Aged Care in
Tasmania. In 1977 whilst still living at Mary’s Grange Sr. Joan began a new ministry of
Pastoral Care at Sandy Bay Parish.
From 1984 till 1990 Sr. Joan travelled to America and spent time with our MSC Sisters
at the Annunciation House of Prayer in Reading. She trained in Spiritual Direction at
St Joseph’s College Connecticut, and the Jesuit Spirituality Centre in Wernersville
Pennsylvania. Sr. Joan entered an internship Program for the Life’s Healing Journey
Retreat at Sacred Heart Spirituality Centre in Youngstown Ohio. Her personal
experience of this Retreat had a lasting impact upon her and the direction of her
future ministry in the area of Spirituality.
On returning to Australia in 1990 Joan joined the MSC Retreat Team at St. Mary’s
Towers Retreat Centre in Douglas Park, NSW, eventually becoming the Director till
2003. The spirituality of Life’s Healing Retreat was always very close to Joan’s heart.
She gave this retreat in many parts of Australia and further afield in South Africia and
Papua New Guinea. She also conducted Seminars in South Africia on the Spirituality
of Ageing.
In 2006 Joan returned to Melbourne. She continued to give Spiritual Direction and
some Retreats but on a lesser scale as she desired in her autumn years to live a more
contemplative lifestyle. She recently wrote; “The Trinity has become very much a
part of my life, and my desire is to enter more fully into that circle of Love within the
During her last illness, Joan’s desire to live a more contemplative life was sorely
tested. She found herself journeying through deep valleys, large crevices, vast plains,
and dry deserts. It is significant that she died on Good Friday, finally uttering the
words with her beloved Jesus ‘It is complete’. May she now be finally at peace in the
joy of the Resurrection. And may she truly be enfolded in God’s Trinitarian Love.
Requiem Mass for Sr. Joan will be celebrated at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church,
Deepdene on Tuesday 9th April, 2024 at 11.00 am then we will accompany her to her
final resting place at the Eltham Cemetery.
On behalf of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of the Australian Province,

Sr. Theresia Veenker msc
Date: 3rd April, 2024

20  Receiving the reflection booklet in preparation for our 125th Anniversary.

Leadership Team members Tess Veenker, Erin Freney, Carmel Butler and Carolle Barwick.

25  Foundation Day for MSC Sisters. Remembering with gratitude our Founder, Fr Hubert Linckens, MSC

Beginning the Year of Reflection towards our 125th Congregational Anniversary and acknowledging the March birthdays of Ros and Erin.

14 Celebration of 200th Anniversary of the birth of Jules Chevalier MSC

7 Board Dinner - thanks expressed to all who contribute their skills and expertise.



 International Visitors

At the end of January and the early days of  February we were blessed with international visitors, both American citizens: Sr. Debra Reho from our  Congregational Leadership Team based in Italy and Sr.Dorothy Fabrize,  Province Leader, USA. Sr. Dorothy was able to join us for Sr. Benedict’s funeral and burial at Eltham Cemetery. See third image above.

Sr. Benedict Cooke, MSC

Rest in Peace


“Give me only your Love, and your Grace, that’s enough for me! Your love and your grace, are enough for me!”

Sr. M Benedict:                            Mary Theresa Cooke

Born:                                              14.08.1930 Carlton, Vic. Australia

First Profession:                           03.02.1952 Mary’s Mount, Balwyn

Entered Eternal Life:                   25.01.2024 Balwyn, Vic. Australia

Sr. Benedict was born in Carlton and lived in her family home of East Brunswick. She came from a loving Catholic family who worked hard, a value which Sr. Benedict emanated throughout her religious life.

At an early age Sr. Benedict suffered the loss of her mother, and as the eldest child took on the responsibility of caring for her siblings, two younger sisters and a brother aged only 4 years at the time. This tragic experience had a huge impact on her life, her love and commitment to her family, and faithfulness and trust in God. These qualities were deeply embedded within her when in 1950 she entered our Congregation as a postulant.

In 1957 Sr. Benedict completed a course at Emily McPherson College of Domestic Science and then for the next twenty years of her religious life served in our hospital kitchens namely, Mena House Hospital in Melbourne, Sacred Heart Hospital in Moreland, Holy Cross Hospital in Geelong and at Mary’s Mount our Motherhouse in Balwyn. To this very demanding ministry Sr. Benedict gave her full strength and commitment. She dedicated herself to nourishing physically the patients, staff and sisters, an immense task.

After serving faithfully and tirelessly in this ministry Sr. Benedict was called to a new ministry of Pastoral Care. This ministry gave her the greatest sense of fulfillment and joy. She was a Pastoral Care Worker at Sacred Heart Hospital and at our Aged Care Facility St. Joseph’s Tower in Kew. In this new ministry she became the carer, listener, and spiritual nourisher of many people’s hearts and souls.

In 1992 Sr. Benedict was transferred to St. Paul’s Parish in Kealba to assist in the Parish. During her time there she visited elderly and housebound parishioners, prayerfully distributing the Sacrament of Eucharist to them. Sr. Benedict was loved and respected by all those whom she visited. She truly lived our charism as a nourisher both physically and spiritually of God’s Love through her kindness, concern and care which she showed to all whom she encountered.

When she retired to St. Catherine’s Aged Care Facility in 2010 her faithfulness to prayer, her interest in others, and her hospitable presence continued. As her health deteriorated, sister was transferred upstairs to the Nursing care facility. Sadly, in recent years she became immobile and was unable to walk or move freely, totally dependent on the care of the nurses and staff.

During her long years of illness, Sr. Benedict gave witness to all of us in how to live with suffering and pain, with faithful and patient endurance. Even in her final days when she was extremely unwell, Sr. Benedict would still struggle to quietly say to any of us who visited, “Have you had a cup of tea, biscuit, something to eat?” To the very end her concern was for the nourishment, care, and wellbeing of others. Whether active or bedbound, Sr. Benedict lived our spirituality through her loving presence.

We the MSC Sisters give immense gratitude to God for the privilege of having Sr. Benedict as one of our much-loved members. We thank her family, whom she dearly loved, for sharing her with our MSC Congregation. As we surrender our Sr. Benedict back into the arms of God, we pray that

Sr. Benedict may now rest in peace after her long life’s journey and be drawn and enfolded in God’s eternal embrace of Love.

Requiem Mass for Sr. Benedict will be celebrated at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, Deepdene on Tuesday 6th February, 2024 at 11.00 am then we will accompany her to her final resting place at the Eltham Cemetery.

On behalf of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of the Australian Province,

Sr. Theresia Veenker msc

31st January 2024