I was born in Trieste, Italy, and, at the age of ten, my family including a younger brother and sister, migrated by ship to Australia docking in Melbourne. At this young age, I already felt a strong attraction to religious life. My mother’s faith and her years at boarding school helped me to develop a personal friendship with Jesus. In Melbourne, the family decided not to stay with friends but joined other migrants on a train bound for Bonegilla, on the Victorian border. A few weeks later they moved to Brisbane where work was available for my dad. After two and half years at the Wacol Migrant Centre, the family found different rent accommodations, one being at Annerley, next door to an Italian family. I enjoyed chatting with the young neighbours who eventually invited me to meet the Canossian Sisters, their only community being then at Spring Hill.
At the Annerley home a little girl was added to the family. In the four years that followed, the family became very friendly with the Canossian Sisters – like an extended family. In 1960, the Sisters opened a new community at Oxley and soon after, a Novitiate for their mission houses in South-East Asia. I would visit the Canossian Sisters at Oxley most weekends and when the novices arrived, I joined them in various recreational activities.
The Sisters’ affection, simplicity of life, generous spirit and prayerfulness attracted me and it wasn’t long before I asked to join their community, especially when my dad kept finding young men to marry me. I made my First Vows on 2 February 1967 at Oxley, Brisbane. Life with my companions from Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines only strengthened my desire to be a missionary but Providence had other plans for me. I was to mission mainly in Australia, first at Brighton as a primary school teacher and later for ten years in the same parish. Following my Final Religious Profession in Rome, on 7 October 1972, I was given the opportunity to study further while involved in ministry.
I went on to spend six years in the community at Halls Creek to help establish a ‘Two-Way’ School for the Jaru-speaking people of the East Kimberley; three years in Italy working with International Canossian Volunteers; eight years in Townsville as the campus chaplain for James Cook University and ten years in pastoral care at Canossa Services, Oxley. At various times I have also served twelve years as community leader and did translation work for the Canossian Institute. For almost five years now I have been in Darwin, volunteering with the St Vincent De Paul Society among the poorest!
I thank God for the great gift of vocation He has entrusted to me, and continue to be surprised at the way God provides for me each step of the journey of following Him.