The Longest Serving LCM Sister Celebrates 105th Birthday at Calvary Ryde

Celebrations for Sr Eymard McNamara’s 105th birthday started on Thursday, with family holding a birthday celebration and her LCM community holding a high tea on Saturday afternoon.


Sr Eymard had a lovely time celebrating on Saturday, enjoying delicately prepared food and conversation with long-time friends. Sr Kathleen Cotterill , Region Leader, spoke on behalf of the LCM Sisters, highlighting the remarkable achievement that is 105 years of life.


She touched on Sr Eymard’s contribution to the Little Company of Mary, recognising her care and compassion to others over 87 years in the Little Company of Mary. Sr Eymard is currently the longest serving Sister in the Little Company of Mary Congregation worldwide. A special mention was also made to those who helped to organise the day, in particular the Family Care Services team who decorated the tables and prepared the afternoon tea. After cutting the cake and enjoying a celebratory toast, the Sisters presented Sr Eymard with a gift.


Sr Eymard grew up on a sheep station in the Adelaide Hills which was managed by her parents, Jane and John, alongside her twin brothers Richard and John. At the age of 17, after talking to a local priest, Sr Eymard made the decision to join the Sisters of Little Company of Mary so that she could train as a nurse and as a religious sister. Following 5 and a half years of nurse training at Lewisham hospital, she was posted to Christchurch, New Zealand for 6 years where she trained in midwifery. Sr Eymard spent a further 6 years in New Zealand in Wellington prior to returning to Australia.


On her return, Sr Eymard moved back to her home state of South Australia, to Adelaide where she worked for 25 years. During those years she was able to see her brothers and watch her family grow as nieces and nephews came along. Sister Eymard worked for a further 8 years in Wagga Wagga before returning to Lewisham for 3 years and a further 17 years in Adelaide. At 89 Sr Eymard retired to Calvary Ryde Retirement Community and has been living at the Residential Aged Care Facility for the past 16 years. Looking back on her career, she reflected on what drew her to becoming a Sister with the Little Company of Mary. Sr Eymard said “I wanted to become a nurse to care for the most vulnerable people”. It’s safe to say that throughout her career she certainly achieved this goal.


When asked what her secret to reaching 105 years old Sr Eymard said “It’s about perseverance. It’s about knowing your limitations and getting on and doing the job anyway”.


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