Sr M Francis Tracey
Died 07 June 1939
Mary Anne Tracey was born in Sydney on 27 February 1846, the daughter of Irish parents, John Tracey and Mary Fitzgerald from Co. Limerick who later settled in the Upper Hunter. There Mary Anne became known as a very fine horsewoman.
On 8 September 1887 she entered the Novitiate at Lochinvar as a postulant at the age of forty-one and was given the name of Sister Mary Francis of the Nativity. Sister was received on the 2 April, 1888 and in July of that year was sent to Carrington with Sisters Francis Mary, Josepha and Eugene. She remained there a year before moving to Dungog in July, 1889. The next year she left Dungog and on 1 July 1890 made her First Profession at which Father Hand presided.
Over the next few years Sister Mary Francis worked at Cessnock, Dungog/Brookfield and Burwood. In January, 1893 she went as Superior to Largs for a short time, to Krambach until June, 1894, and then to Brookfield until June 1897 when she returned to Lochinvar for a couple of months before taking the place of Sister Mary Aloysius when the latter transferred to Tasmania.
Sister Mary Francis subsequently worked in Wingen, Krambach, Aberdeen, Cessnock, Glendonbrook and Lochinvar. To some of these places she was appointed several times. In the late 1920's Sister returned at Lochinvar in semi-retirement, but was active about the convent and grounds.
She was a very tiny little lady called affectionately "Little Sister Francis", who kept herself always spic and span. "Brides of Christ," she would say, "must always be ready to meet the bridegroom." By her gentle demeanor, kindly ways and spirit of prayer one knew the preparation and readiness was also spiritual. In her last years the Mother House was her home.
Although Sister Mary Francis became frail as the years passed she was still surprisingly active and her keen mind was clear and alert till she suffered a seizure a week before her death. "Sister was one of the early Sisters, a member of that pioneering band that laid the foundations and set the standards for the religious and apostolic commitments of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Lochinvar."
After fifty-two years in the Congregation and at the age of ninety-three, Sister Mary Francis Tracey died in the Infirmary at Lochinvar on the 7 June 1939 at 5.25pm in the evening with the Sisters praying around her.
The Solemn Office for the Dead and Requiem Mass, at which the Bishop presided, were offered for her on 9 June, after which her burial took place at the Sisters' plot in the Lochinvar Catholic Cemetery. Thirty-five priests of the Diocese were present to pay their respect to "a valiant woman."