Sisters of St Joseph of Lochinvar

Sr M Paul Bourke

Sr M Paul Bourke IMAGE

Died 29 December 1917

Veronica Bourke, the daughter of Thomas and Margaret Bourke (née Logan), was a native of Merriwa where she was born on 31st July, 1876. On 1st September, 1892 Veronica entered the novitiate at Lochinvar and was called in Religion Sister Mary Paul of Our Lady of Dolours.

She was one of seven postulants who received the habit on the 13th February, 1893. After Reception Sr. M. Paul was appointed to Cessnock, and following the annual retreat in June went to Krambah with Srs. Francis Tracey and Sr. Joseph. Sister remained at Krambach till the following June when she remained at Lochinvar and Knockfin. Early in 1895 Sister M. Paul was at Largs before returning to Lochinvar to prepare for Profession.

Sister Paul made her First Profession with Srs. Berchmans and Raphael Williams on the 10th June, 1895 and after the retreat went to Burwood in Newcastle on 5th July.  During her religious life, she worked in many branch houses for longer or shorter periods of time.

We find her name on community lists for Burwood, Dungog, Brookfield, Aberdeen, Glendonbrook, Cundletown, Wybong and West Wallsend. To most of these convents she was appointed more than once.

In September, 1913 she was brought home from West Wallsend, because she was too ill to carry on as a teacher. Although her health was poor from then onwards, there were times when it became critical and she was given the Last Sacraments. Sisters who remembered Sr. M. Paul in these latter years of her life said:

"She suffered very much from the cold and had a wracking cough. She was very frail and used to sit, bundled up in her mantle in the back of the Chapel and prayed for most of the day."

On the 29th December Sr. M. Paul Bourke died at 5.15am and on the 30th her body was brought to the Church before the 9.30 Mass (Sunday). The Sisters followed in procession and kept watch till the funeral at 3pm. The Bishop presided at the Office for the Dead.

Sister M Paul was buried in the Lochinvar Cemetery that day, and Solemn Requiem Mass was offered in the Church for her on the 29th of January, 1918 at 7.30am.