Sisters of St Joseph of Lochinvar

Sr M Gonzaga Connolly

Sr M Gonzaga Connolly IMAGE

Died 14 June 1943


Catherine Connolly was a native of Lochinvar, born at Luskintyre on 12 April 1872, the daughter of Fergus Connolly and Margaret McCarthy. She received her schooling at Lochinvar.

Having been given the name of Sister Mary Gonzaga, she was received as a novice on 1 June, 1890. She took up work at Burwood in July of the same year where she remained for two years. She was professed on 7 July 1892. During her life in the Congregation she also taught at Dungog, Merriwa, Largs, Cessnock, Brookfield, Carrington, Cundletown, Cardiff, Port Macquarie, Taree and Wallsend.

Sister Mary Gonzaga was a gifted and successful teacher of upper primary grades and many of her pupils were grateful for her tuition that enabled them to gain State Bursaries to further their education and ultimately their careers.

Sister was one of the old time teachers who expected much from her pupils both in their work and conduct and allowed for no waste of time. If she needed to take a breath sometimes or perhaps was called to the door, all she had to do was turn the blackboard over, and the children knew what to do - to attack the work on the board and this in strict silence.

She always spoke of her pupils with a wistful looking expression on her deeply lined face which assured all of her love and affection for the children. However absentees were soon made to understand they must have a serious excuse accompanied by a note written by one of the parents. Even the Parish Priest when he needed an altar boy to do something about the Church knew he must have the lad back as soon as possible.

The Lochinvar Diary records her death thus: "Sr Mary Gonzaga (Connolly) passed away in the Infirmary at Lochinvar on the morning of the 14th June 1943 at 2.45. Sister had the happiness of celebrating the Golden Jubilee of her Religious Profession on the 5 January 1943. She retired from teaching a little over twelve months before the end came. A solemn Office and Requiem were held in the Convent Chapel at which His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr Gleeson CSSR presided. May her soul rest in peace.”