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A woman of words

BY FR EDMUND CAMPION

Sr Margaret Press RSJ knew death was near when she began to lose her words. “I’m losing my words”, she told her friends; and they too knew what this meant. 

She had always been a word woman. Her facility with Latin had won her a university medal and later another university had granted her an honorary doctorate for her writings. Going into a care facility, she made sure the big dictionary went with her.

Her encounters with words had begun early because her father ran a newsagency. Before she went to school she could already read and the school put her straight into Second Class.

When she left school, she became a physical education teacher. Since the age of 14, however, she had nursed a vocation and in 1941 she entered the Josephite convent at Perthville outside Bathurst. 

After an Arts degree at the University of New England, she combined teaching and administration, with growing responsibilities. Hungry for further formation, she enrolled in the Institute of Counselling, a Sydney initiative that promoted Vatican II Catholicism.

Once a week after school, she and three other sisters would drive to Sydney and get back to Bathurst around midnight. These were generous women.

Sr Margaret died at Bathurst on 12 December 2011.

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A woman of words (Madonna)

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