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Thursday, 30 April 2015 12:35

Do your best and let God do the rest

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Sr Monica Shelverton pbvm150A visit to Cork in Ireland, the hometown of Presentation Sisters founder Nano Nagle, was an emotional experience for Sr Monica Shelverton who was moved by the sacrifice the first Presentation Sisters made to come to Tasmania.

“I got quite emotional standing there, thinking about their three month journey by boat, the sacrifices they made and the family they left behind,” she said.

“It hit me that I am here because of them.”

Raised in a very close and large Catholic family, Sr Monica knew from a young age that she wanted to one day be a nun.

Educated by the Presentation Sisters in Hobart at St Columba's School, Sr Monica was inspired as a child by her wonderful family, her friends and her teachers.

She was particularly influenced by the Presentation Sisters, who were a big part of her school life.

“I was inspired by their togetherness, their prayer life and their ability to be with you and to talk to you,” she said
“As I got older that spirituality I had just deepened and I’ve appreciated the Sisters’ giving of themselves for the benefit of others.”

In 1956, at the age of 15, Sr Monica left her family to enter the Presentation Sisters novitiate in Launceston.

After being sent to Melbourne as part of her training, Sr Monica returned to Hobart to be the first nun professed in 50 years at St Mary’s Cathedral, by Archbishop Young.

Sr Monica has always tried to live by the principle of saying yes to whatever was asked of her, doing her best and letting God do the rest.

During her years as a Presentation Sister, Sr Monica has carried Nano Nagle’s spirit of mission to many places from Papua New Guinea and King Island, to working with unmarried mothers in Launceston and teaching students in Bellerive, Lindisfarne and Risdon Vale.

She has also worked with a range of community groups including the Legion of Mary, the Catholic Women's League, the Lindisfarne Care Group, St Vincent de Paul, as well as with people living with a disability.

One of Sr Monica's most recent highlights has been working with local students and their families in Sacramental preparation.

“It’s all about meeting Christ in the other,” she said.

(Photo courtesy of Mark Franklin)

Read more about the Presentation Sisters in Australia.

This article by Liz Stacey was first published on 19 April 2015 in the Catholic Standard, the official publication of the Archdiocese of Hobart.

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