Sr Shirley Geach OP
2 June 2014 | General Interest
Sr Shirley was born on 5th December 1926 at Ganmain, second eldest daughter of Elizabeth and George Geach. Her father died when she was quite young and Shirley’s widowed mother married again, to Arthur Sears, BEM. Her parents by their example instilled in Shirley strong family values of responsibility and service to the wider community.
Shirley’s sisters, Marie, Patrica, Janet and her brother George have predeceased her. Her sister, Margaret Wheeler and her nephews and nieces in the Fleming, Burns and Batchelor families are left to mourn the loss of their loving aunt.
Shirley attended Moss Vale Public School and for a short time, Bowral High School. Sr M. Clare de Lauret OP instructed her in the faith when she was in First Year High School and the new Catholic student moved to Dominican Convent Elm Court in Third Year. On completion of her schooling she worked for PC Bourne and Co., Seed and Produce Merchants at Moss Vale, as office assistant for two and a half years.
Shirley joined the Dominican community in Maitland and was professed as Sr M. Brendan on 8th December 1946. She taught in Newcastle, Bathurst, Brisbane, Melbourne (Principal), Mayfield, Maitland and Hobart and was involved in the administrative work of Santa Sabina College Strathfield. Shirley also served as Prioress in the Maitland and Santa Sabina communities and was a dedicated Assistant to the Dominican Laity over many years, serving on their National Council in the early 1990s.
Shirley felt particularly supported in her continuing ministry by her time at the Casa in Rome in 1985-1986, and at St Mary of the Woods, Indiana where she studied gerontology in 1992-1993. She knew how to enjoy every minute of her time overseas.
Shirley loved floral arranging and millinery – both were a significant part of her celebration of festive occasions. Amongst her effects was evidence of another ‘hobby’ – a letter from Bing Crosby sadly declining the invitation to her Silver Jubilee.
In poor health, Shirley moved to St Clare’s Unit at Our Lady of Consolation Aged Care Services Rooty Hill in 2005. Here she was beautifully cared for by the staff, and lovingly and devotedly companioned during her long journey to God by Sr Rose Mary Kinne OP and Sr June Peck OP. Shirley died on 2nd June 2014, aged 87, in the 69th year of her life as a member of the Dominican Community.
As her Dominican Sisters we ponder the wealth, and the mystery, of Shirley’s long life and rejoice that Shirley is joyfully living the fullness of God, in the company of her family members and friends who have gone before her.
Shirley's motto: "The Lord is my light and my salvation"