A Good Shepherd leader is farewelled
Sr Bernadette Fox died peacefully on 18 December 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.
On 4 January 2019 the historic Good Shepherd Chapel at Abbotsford was filled to overflowing as Bernadette's family and friends, sisters and lay mission partners celebrated her life. Fathers John Harte SJ, Peter Varengo SDB and John Murphy SDB led the Eucharistic celebration. Special guest Sister Bridget Paily represented Sister Ellen Kelly, Congregational Leader. After refreshments, sisters, family and friends travelled to Springvale Cemetery for the Committal Ritual.
Bernadette was Congregational Leader of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd from 1973 to 1985, during a period of major change in religious life and ministry. She was Province Leader for two periods of time.
Message of Tribute from Congregational Leader, Sr Ellen Kelly
Sr Ellen Kelly's letter was read by Sr Bridget Paily, Congregational Councillor
Glimpses of her life
The Eulogy given by Sr Anne Dalton on behalf of the sisters began:
'For many years Bernadette was a guiding light for Good Shepherd life and mission. For Good Shepherd Sisters particularly in our Province she was like a star which rose in our galaxy, abided with us and slowly sank into the west. In her absence now we sense her presence among us.
When I was thinking of Bernadette’s long life as a Good Shepherd sister the story of the Visitation came to me. When Mary heard that her older cousin, Elizabeth, was having a child, she set out for the hill country of Judah to assist her. Mary was aware but not fully understanding of the gift of God within her. In the greeting of the two women God was present. Mary in pondering the mystery of these events responded with her prayer of trust and humility known as the Magnificat.
In many ways the shape of this story brings an understanding of Bernadette’s Good Shepherd journey. She was alert to the needs of people and set out to respond in whatever way she could.
She had a deep trust in the Mystery of God present within her and in the many situations she encountered. Her response to the unfolding of her life and where it led her was one of hope, humility, compassion and courage.
The Eulogy given by her brother Bill on behalf of the family began:
'This is not a sad occasion, we would not have wanted to keep Bernadette on this earth a day longer. Marg, Joan, Kerin and I, and Caroline sat around her bedside as she was peacefully dying. We had just sung ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’; it was a very special moment of grace. She opened her eyes, looked at all of us and decided it was time she went home! The room was filled with an extraordinary feeling of peace and calm. We’d had weeks to prepare ourselves for this moment. As a friend of ours said, ‘she would have had her bags packed and been ready, wouldn’t she?’ She certainly did and was!
A couple of days before she died, she whispered in a voice that was barely audible, ‘Jesus and Mary, make room for me’.'
Bernadette will be sadly missed by Good Shepherd Sisters, mission partners,
family and friends across the world.
May she rest in Peace.