Sr M Gemma Fallins
Died 13 January 2009
Mary Josephine Fallins was born at Adamstown on 3 March, 1916. She was the fourth of five children of Patrick Fallins and Catherine Hill.
Her two sisters, Kathleen and Aileen also became Sisters of St Joseph and were known as Sr M Felicitas and Sr M Justine. They, together with her two brothers, Vincent and Joseph predeceased her. The family is especially remembered for their musical gifts.
Mary Josephine entered the Sisters of St Joseph on 8 May 1935 and as Sr Mary Gemma of the Sacred Passion was professed on 29 June 1938.
Sister Gemma’s first appointment was to Wingen where she taught music and attended to the house duties. She ministered at Cessnock, Denman, Lochinvar, Gloucester, Swansea and Wauchope before coming back to Lochinvar in 1952 where she helped in the Infirmary and later the Nursing Home. She applied herself to the task with great care and constant devotion. She was known for her gracious care of the frail aged Sisters, ever ready to serve others even when there was very little convenience to make life easier. She would be seen in her white apron carrying trays, serving meals and assisting the frail in so many ways – doing things that those Sisters were unable to do for themselves. In spite of her body becoming crippled through a spinal disability she was ever ready to serve others and is remembered for her happy disposition, sense of fun and her beautiful smile.
In 1981 Sister Gemma retired and in the following years lived in community at Windale, Kilaben Bay and Swansea. She loved to visit the sick and the elderly in the local area. She was a great gardener, a very good cook and willingly shared her recipes. She always appeared to be happy.
In 1997, Sister Gemma was one of the first residents in the new aged care facility known as St Teresa’s Convent Swansea and later as the expanded complex, Southern Cross Tenison Apartments. She accepted the move to nursing home care at the Uniting Care facility at Garden Suburbs where she lived for three years. There she was an inspiration to all – in her acceptance of suffering and disability and in her generous caring and reaching out to those in need.
Sister Mary Gemma died peacefully in the early hours of the morning of Tuesday, 13 January, 2009 in the Uniting Care Nursing Home at Garden Suburbs. After her funeral Mass in St Joseph's Convent Chapel she was buried in the Sisters' Cemetery at Lochinvar.