Sr Anna Durkin: ‘One of our wisdom women’

Anna Durkin lived a generous, committed and faith-filled life.

A Sister of St Joseph for 78 years, her warm, fun-loving nature and sincere interest in everyone and everything endeared her to all those fortunate enough to cross her path.

Sr Anna passed away peacefully on 20 May at Hobart Private Hospital, in her 95th year.

The Victoria-Tasmania regional leader for the Sisters of St Joseph, Sr Sue McGuinness said Anna had empowered countless lives not only with knowledge, but with the example of her love and pastoral presence.

“We describe Anna as one of our wisdom women,” she said.

“Her wisdom came from the heart of one who over the years had made her home in the hospitable heart of God.”

Born to Alban and Margaret Durkin, Anna often spoke of her “Devonport home, her loving parents, her five madcap brothers, and two precious sisters,” family member Kate Durkin said.

“Her life was about her faith, her community and her family. I have never known someone with such a broad definition of family and such a strong commitment to knowing and loving everyone she gathered up in that definition.”

Left to right: Sr Anna Durkin and Sr Paulinus

Anna attended Our Lady of Lourdes and completed her secondary education at St Thomas More’s Catholic School.

In 1944, she commenced her novitiate at New Town. Along with her sister, Catherine, she made her first profession to live as a Sister of St Joseph on January 4, 1947.

“Anna responded to an invitation from Jesus, and she stayed very close with Him for the rest of her long life,” Sr Sue said.

“As a teacher and school principal, she kept the Josephite spirit alive right across Tasmania.”

Sr Sue said one of Anna’s outstanding attributes was the way she kept in touch with both staff and students in these schools.

“She consistently supported and encouraged. She accepted without judgement. She was compassionate and loyal.”

Sr Sue said Anna had been inspired by the words of Mary MacKillop:

‘When storms rage, when persecutions or dangers threaten, I quietly creep into the Sacred Heart’s deep abyss, and securely sheltered there, my soul is at peace.’

“Perhaps this is the key to Anna’s spirit,” she said.

“Filled with trust in the One whom she served so faithfully, for so long, she knew that, as the letter to Timothy says, all there is to come is the crown of righteousness which was reserved for her.

“We rejoice that she has won that crown. We rejoice that her beautiful soul is now at peace.”

Top image: Sr Anna Durkin pictured right

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