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Vale: Sr. Mary Mechtilde Dillon

Sr. Mary Mechtilde Dillon died 16th November 2020, at Saint Joseph’s Convent, Newtown, in the 72nd year of her religious profession and in her 93rd year of life. Sr. Mechtilde was born Patricia Anne Dillon 6th October 1928 in Sydney, NSW the daughter of David Stanley Dillon & Alice Monica Clennett. Patricia grew up on Bruny Island and went to school at Lunawanna State School. In holiday times she attended Summer Schools organised by the Presentation Sisters in Hobart and the Sisters of Saint Joseph in Cygnet. At the age of twelve, she went to St Joseph’s Juniorate in Launceston. Over the next four years the seed of a vocation to the religious life grew and in February 1945 she entered the Novitiate at New Town and was professed as Sister Mary Mechtilde of the Five Wounds on 4 January 1948.

Mechtilde’s ministry as a Sister of Saint Joseph took her to all parts of Tasmania. She began her lower primary and music teaching in Westbury and Zeehan and then in 1951 accompanied Sisters Teresa and Celestine to open Waterton Hall, a primary boarding school at Rowella on the Tamar River. We can only imagine all the hard work and lateral thinking that was involved in that venture and Mechtilde took in her stride such things as getting blankets from the Army when those that were ordered did not arrive for the new boarders and cranking up the motor in the engine room a kilometre away across the paddocks to pump water to the house tanks. Mec often spoke fondly of her ministry at Waterton Hall and returned there for three years before its closure in 1971. She was then part of another venture when the Sisters of St Joseph took over the school at Wynyard from the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.

In 2006, Mechtilde discerned with the Leadership Team that it was time for her to return to her Bruny Island origins and the next twelve years were very fulfilling for her. She immersed herself in the local community and warmly welcomed visitors, particularly the Sisters and family members. She worked with the local Catholic community to spruce up the little Church at Alonnah. She also volunteered at the History Room, often bringing pikelets for morning tea, her hospitality was renowned. She was an inspiration to all she met and her quiet friendly presence will be sadly missed.


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