Sisters of St Joseph of Lochinvar

Sr M Sebastian Brimstone

Sr M Sebastian Brimstone IMAGE

Died 11 August 1920

Elizabeth Brimstone, born on 18 September 1869 was one of the ten children of James Brimstone and Catherine Carrigher of Dumaresque Island in the Manning River, near Taree. Elizabeth entered the Novitiate of the Sisters of St Joseph at Lochinvar on 11 August, 1900 after making a two day journey from her home travelling by coach and boat. The Lochinvar Diary records state that "Elizabeth Brimstone entered and was received before Vespers and took in religion the name Sister Mary Sebastian of the Immaculate Heart of Mary”. As a postulant she spent some time at Cessnock and on the 1 May, 1891 Father Hand received her in the Oratory at 4.30pm. Following the reception Sister taught at Largs and Dungog before making her First Profession on 5 July, 1893.

Sister taught at Carrington, Dungog, Cessnock and Burwood and Carrington before returning to Lochinvar as Infirmarian, a post for which she was well equipped by nature. Sisters have said of her: "Her patients loved her for her kindness and self-sacrifice in attending them in their illnesses." In her capacity as Infirmarian, Sister frequently accompanied Sisters on appointments and cared for Sisters who were ill in branch convents. In addition to this work she often assisted the sick of the parish by helping to nurse them in their own homes. She also took classes at Knockfin from time to time.

In June, 1911 Sister Mary Sebastian was appointed Bursar, an office which she held till her death in 1920. It has been said of her as Bursar: "She did the hard work herself and was very kind to Sisters working with her."

In July, 1919 Sister was ill in the Infirmary for some weeks and had only partially recovered when "the gas house accidentally burned" (Diary record). Her niece, Sister Raymond recalled that Sister "never really recovered from the shock of the explosion for which (rightly or wrongly) she considered herself responsible.” Her health declined rapidly following this experience and she spent some time in Cintra, a private hospital in Maitland before being taken to Sydney. On her return from Sydney she entered the Infirmary in November, 1919. She was to remain there till her death in August, 1920. Though infirm she carried on her work as Bursar.

The Diary for 11 August, 1920 reads: "Father Mulcahy gave her the Last Blessing at 11am. Sister Mary Sebastian passed away at 2pm, surrounded by the Sisters." Office and Requiem were offered at 10 o'clock on the 12th of August, 1920 and Sister was buried in the Lochinvar Catholic Cemetery after Mass. She had died on the thirtieth anniversary of her entrance into the congregation.