On March 4 we gathered in Maitland to celebrate the life of Br. John, Local Priest and member of the Community of Sts. Barnabas and Cecilia.
Fr. Simon Bailey, Chaplain to the Community, celebrated a Requiem Eucharist at the football clubrooms in Maitland, assisted by the Rev’d. Christine Smith, the Local Priest for the area with Sr. Sandra Sears preaching. The venue was the only space big enough to accomodate the expected numbers, as John had spent his whole 89 years in that town and was known and loved by everybody there. Also because of the heat it was the coolest, most comfortable place to be.
Br. John spent his early years as a farmer and later became a Local Priest, a role he carried out faithfully, visiting the sick and taking care of the spiritual needs of those around him. He joined the Community in 2005. He was a deeply spiritual man who would often be found alone in the chapel at
Camp Willochra during retreats, meditating and praying. I first got to know him in the 1980’s when Sr. Jean Johnson and I, (long before the formation of the Community) along with the music team were to Maitland to conduct music workshops. We swam in his pool and enjoyed his hospitality. This hospitality continued with subsequent visits, and eventually Community gatherings in his home, where fun was the order of the day. He loved playing the piano (always by ear!) and was proud of his Maitland heritage.
His last years were spent in the Chapel Wing of the Maitland Hospital as his physical and mental health declined.
As for CSBC, we are poorer for his going, but richer for his being with us for so long.
Rest eternal grant to him, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him.
Rev’d. Sr. Sandra Sears CSBC