Early in 2001 Cecilia Bailey moved to Warwick in “semi-retirement”. She expected to be there for a year. That year stretched to ten and a half. As for “semi-retirement” – Cecilia became the heart of much that happened in Warwick. She involved herself in parish groups and committees, including the Justice and Peace Committee, the Parish Council, the liturgy group, the St Vincent de Paul conference, and beyond the parish in groups such as Amnesty International and Dementia Support.
On July 10th, Cecilia’s last Sunday in the Warwick, the parish community put on a farewell morning tea for her. The temperature that morning was minus six. But there was nothing cold about the people’s love and appreciation for Cecilia. In their speeches, leaders of various groups spoke beautifully of the enrichment Cecilia’s presence had brought to their members and activities over the years. Through warmth of her friendship, her deep humanity and spirituality she enabled people she met to tap into their own innate humanity and spirituality.
When Cecilia went to Warwick she wanted to be a Gospel presence among the people. She has been that and more: she has been an encouraging presence that gave people confidence in their abilities to undertake whatever was needed to realise their vision.
Cecilia has now moved to Toowoomba. She speaks of being retired, but being the people-person she is, she won’t be withdrawing from life and involvements. She will continue to be a presence through has a wonderful way of reaching out in friendship to all she meets. This quality is at the heart of the spirit and mission of Missionary Sisters of Service.
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