Last month the Catholic community mourned the loss of Sr Paul Coad (Verna Clarice), who served the Missionary Sisters of Service (MSS) for 71 years. Sr Paul passed away on 17 March, aged 95.
Verna Coad joined the MSS (known in earlier years as the Home Missionary Sisters of Our Lady) on 15 August 1946. At the end of a three-year preparation time she made her First Profession of vows – Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, on 8 September 1949. Her religious name was Sr Paul.
Sr Paul’s life began in the Coad family home at Lymington, near Cygnet. She had one sister and seven brothers. In those early years the family survived in hard times on an apple orchard, with a raspberry crop, their own cows, and lots of hard work!
In 1945 Verna’s mother sent her a cutting from the Catholic Standard which told of a new Religious Order in Tasmania. These Sisters would go into the country, live in caravans, sacristies, private homes, and help the isolated country people with their faith. Verna read the article and knew it was the path she wanted to follow.
Sr Paul was a dedicated missioner along the highways and byways of rural Tasmania, New South Wales, South Australia, and Queensland. She pioneered the Congregation’s solo ministry in Broken Hill, NSW; then some years later she went to another solo and isolated ministry at Weipa in far north Queensland.
As well as ‘on the road’ ministry Sr Paul loved working in the MSS Correspondence School of Religious Education and the Congregation’s Scripture Correspondence Course, as well as in the Catholic Centre Bookshop.
Sr Paul spent her final years at Guilford Young Grove.