Sr Mark Hagerty ~ 20.9.1918 – 26.3.2016

Sister Mark died peacefully at Macquarie Care Centre, Bathurst on 26th March 2016. Her Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday 2nd April, 11am at St Joseph’s Chapel Perthville. Following Mass Sr Mark will be interred in the Sisters’ Cemetery at Perthville.

Sr Mark Hagerty was born in Cudal on 20th September 1918 and baptised Catherine Kathleen.  She was one of ten children born to Michael and Vernetta Hagerty.  The family lived on their farm “Hillwood” 9 miles from Cudal.  After her schooling at a small public school and later as a boarder at Perthville, she entered the Sisters of St Joseph at Perthville, making her first profession in 1939 as Sr Mary Mark.

An accomplished teacher, she taught Secondary School at Perthville, Coonabarabran, Canowindra and Oberon.  A passionate and gifted educator, Sr Mark was often the Secondary School Principal. She helped many students gain their Leaving Certificate, teaching both Fourth and Fifth Years all subjects, except Needlework, in the same small classroom.  She motivated her students and helped them believe they could achieve their potential. Sr Mark fostered all round excellence, training many marching groups to first prize in the Annual St Patrick's Day events. She encouraged the boarders in Physical Education and Tennis, gaining satisfaction from their achievements. She helped students to deepen their spiritual life, especially through the Children of Mary Society, holding meetings every Sunday. Sr Mark was well loved by the parents of her students and by many of the people she visited. She was a great communicator able to converse freely on many subjects and was a one-eyed supporter of the Bulldogs Rugby League Team!

Sr Mark had a simple and total faith, inherited from her parents and teachers. She was inspired by and had deep devotion to Fr Julian Woods, long before he was well known by others. She loved poetry, music and literature and was overcome by the beauty of nature - sunsets, horses and other natural wonders. She was very faithful to her God and to the Josephite spirituality she believed in with great conviction.

As Mistress of Novices, from 1960 – 1968, Mark faced the many changes in the difficult years after Vatican II. While she had no formal training for this position, she did her best caring for the Novices and frequently using taped lectures and retreats, to supplement the program. This was a challenging time for Sr Mark, who found the changes, especially to the habit, difficult.  Having completed her term as Novice Mistress, Sr Mark returned to education as a support teacher in secondary schools. Participating in Emmaus (1981) and Ecco Homo (1991) were significant moments in her spiritual growth.  

In her retirement, Sr Mark was magnificent in her ministry with people in bereavement. She completed a Grief and Loss course and a Palliative Care course in 1984 and concentrated on this ministry in Oberon and Bathurst from 1984 – 1999. She was highly regarded in this field by doctors and care workers. Sr Mark’s visits, words and letters gave consolation to many people. Indeed, Sr Mark wrote beautiful letters in lovely handwriting affirming, encouraging and consoling people from all walks of life.

Sr Mark was renowned for her kindness, her lively sense of humour and her ready wit. She served many terms as a Community Leader. Sr Mark was very hospitable and would give time whenever visitors arrived. She loved and was loved by the many members of her family. Her siblings all predeceased her, however, some of her nieces cared lovingly for her in her later years.  Sr Mark was delighted to have lived to experience the gift of Fusion.

Sr Therese McGarry rsj

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