Sr M Anastasia Turner
Died 25 February 2005
Sheila Josephine Turner was born on 2nd April 1912 in Port Macquarie to Alfred John Turner and Matilda Colling. She had two brothers, Alf and Bernard and a sister, Stella.
Sheila entered at the Novitiate at Lochinvar on 6th January, 1930 and received the name Sr Mary Anastasia of the Holy Name of Jesus.
After profession on 6 July, 1932, she began a long life of ministry as a music teacher and infants teacher in many parishes in both the Maitland and Lismore dioceses: Merriwa, Aberdeen, Krambach (twice), Brookfield, Carrington, Swansea (twice), Dungog, Abermain, Tuncurry, Kurri Kurri, Wauchope, Port Macquarie, Shortland and Windale.
Sr Anastasia helped with remedial work in Port Macquarie primary school from 1978-82, before retiring to Shortland in 1983 and moving to Tenison Apartments in Swansea in 1993.
In the Words of Remembrance at her funeral, Sister Ruth Boland took St Paul's description of “Love” and noted how it was illustrated in Sister's life in many ways.
‘Love is patient’. How patient Stacia was, earlier with small children and then later with her disability over many years: difficulty in walking, increasing dependence on others and helplessness.
‘Love is kind’ Stacia was herself loved for many reasons, one of which was for her kindness to her Sisters in community, the people she met or worked with, the little ones in her classes, the Vietnamese refugee children in Port Macquarie with whom she spent many hours helping them with English, the altar boys in Brookfield.
‘Love does not take offence nor store up grievances’. In other words, ‘Love forgives’. Stacia held no grievances against those who injured her.
‘Love is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope, to endure whatever comes’. Stacia lived her Religious Life frugally, taking pride in her care of her belongings, in her organization and neatness and was generous in her self-giving to others.
She was faithful and joyous about her Prayer and the Eucharist and her Rosary gave her great comfort and Stacia often needed that comfort in her life, for as well as her many gifts, talents, joys and blessings, she had many fears. She feared falling, storms, new and challenging experiences, car travel, needles and operations.
In her last months and weeks, a gentle peace came over Stacia, so that she seemed to be blessed in being able to make her final journey in a graceful, elegant, trusting, peaceful and loving way.
Sister Mary Anastasia died in St Joseph’s Home at Sandgate on 25 February 2005. After her funeral Mass in St Joseph’s Chapel Lochinvar, she was buried in the Sisters’ Cemetery at Lochinvar on 28 February, 2005.
Words of Remembrance by Ruth Boland RSJ