It is providential that the readings set down for today as we celebrate Sister Jose` 50 years as a Sister of St Joseph are the readings used on the Feast of St Mary MacKillop, one of the founders of the Sisters of St Joseph.
Our gospel reading is from the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is teaching us not to be distracted (a better translation of the Greek ‘to be worried’) from focusing on the Kingdom of God which needs to be our first priority. Jesus is using poetic exaggeration-of course, he knows we need food, clothing and shelter. If we trust in the love of God we will not be inordinately attached to material possessions.
Our first reading from the Prophet Isaiah teaches us God has an intimate love for us like a woman for her baby, the fruit of her womb.
In 1874, Mary MacKillop wrote: “When I could not see my way God kept my heart full of trust.” Mary grew up in Melbourne in difficult economic circumstances due to her father’s poor managing. “My life as a child was one of sorrows, my home, when I had it, a most unhappy one.” During these times, Mary often heard her mother, Flora say “God will provide.” Mary carried this attitude throughout her life.

102 years after the birth of Mary MacKillop in Fitzroy in 1842, Jose` Noy was born in Arnhem, Holland, the sixth child of Joseph and Mary Noy. She was born into a difficult time. The Nazis had occupied the Noy family home since May 1940. The Noy family were expelled from their home and lived for five years in a coolstore a type of animal barn without heating in the snow on their farm.
In 1951, the Noy family came to Victoria for the benefit of the children and moved around a number of places until they settled in Whittlesea. Jose` attended eight primary schools. Her secondary education was at Santa Maria College, Northcote.
Just as Mary MacKillop was a clerical worker in a Melbourne bookstore before teaching, so Jose` was a clerical worker at the Trades Hall for a couple of years before she entered religious life to be a teacher.
Mary MacKillop sent her Sisters in two’s to small towns in rural areas in 1869 so Jose` has been sent to small towns– Iona in 1969 and later to Gordon in 1978. Jose` has lived most of her religious life in small groups of one or two sisters.
After being a teacher and a principal, Jose` became a pastoral associate in parishes from 2000. In 2011, she came to our parish.

Today we welcome Jose` s siblings: Wilma, Mary, Christine and Bill. Hank, her brother is not well enough to join us. We welcome Jose`s religious family, Kerry Cusack, Province Leader and other Sisters of St Joseph.
Friendship is a primary gospel value. Jesus said: “You are my friends” (John 15:14) Jose` has maintained friends from many of the places in which she has served. We welcome some fifty of her friends who have travelled here today.
We, Sunbury parishioners, have been blessed by the love, care and friendship of Jose` – as someone aptly said: “She is always smiling.”
Congratulations Jose` , May the Lord continue to bless you in the gift of your vocation as a Sister of St Joseph.
…..Kevin McIntosh

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