Sisters of St Joseph of Lochinvar

Sr M Angela Baker

Sr M Angela Baker IMAGE

Died 14 June 1969

Mary Jane, the only daughter of Robert Baker and Mary Worrad, was born on 6 April, 1880 at Scone where her parents owned a hotel. Three brothers completed the family. In Scone she had piano lessons from a Sister of Mercy and was considered to be a brilliant student. Mary Jane left her home and an attractive musical career to enter the Novitiate at Lochinvar 2 October 1895, much against her father’s wishes as she was only fifteen. She was given the name of Sister Mary Angela.

After profession on 5 July 1899 Sister Mary Angela embarked on her apostolate. "Hers was a special apostolate. She was known as the builder of the House of Music at Lochinvar. Musically, she was a genius and singing her joys to God, she was able to share this gift with others.” (Lochinvar Magazine) She also ministered in Wingham, Carrington, Clifton Gardens, Dungog and Kurri Kurri.

Tall and dignified, with a charm and poise all her own, she spelled "Music" as she developed the magnificent choirs, rich in polyphony, for liturgical celebrations and concerts, around which the culture of Lochinvar grew. As well as the choirs there were the orchestras, the Chamber Music groups, and the String Quartettes. These were a great joy to her as well as being something special and rarely found amongst school children.

The Bechstein grand piano, the double bass added to the orchestra and her dream of the pipe organ, all found their place in Lochinvar. These had not been easy to acquire, but Sister with her soul steeped in music knew their value and forged ahead.

Sister Angela had many friends who were cheered, consoled and advised by her words of wisdom and her kindness. She was extremely well read with a most retentive memory and a deep appreciation of all that was great in Art. As the years rolled on, Sister Mary Angela’s health began to fail. It was not easy for her to step aside and give up all on which she had spent her life.

After an association with Lochinvar of over seventy years, Sister Mary Angela, so well known to many ex-students and friends of the College, died on 14 June, 1969. Requiem Mass for the repose of her soul was celebrated on June 16. Bishop Toohey presided, and a very large number of Sister's ex-students were present. Sister was buried in the Sisters’ section of the Lochinvar cemetery.

Excerpts taken from a tribute in the Lochinvar Magazine written by Sister Mary Cecily Keys rsj