Prayer, perseverance and friendships through 60 years with the Little Company of Mary

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Home > Media > News > Prayer, perseverance and friendships through 60 years with the Little Company of Mary
Prayer, perseverance and friendships through 60 years with the Little Company of Mary

Perseverance, prayer and friendships – these are what Sr Juliana Coulson AM LCM is grateful for after 60 years of religious profession as a Sister of the Little Company of Mary.

“As with anything, there are ups and downs, but there is always prayer,” Sr Juliana said.

“And there are friendships – in and out of the convent.

On October 11, at her community’s house in Lenah Valley, a celebratory Mass was held to mark the milestone.

Growing up in Sandy Bay, Sr Juliana says she was surrounded by a community of faith.

The local parish had a large influence on her, as did her Catholic mother.

“Before Sandy Bay [Church] was restored, I still think of exactly where my mother and I used to sit at Mass.”

After living in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne, Sr Juliana has returned to her spiritual home and attends Mass in Sandy Bay each Sunday.

She first felt called to religious life while a student nurse at Calvary Hospital.

The charism of the sisters founded by Venerable Mary Potter, to care and pray for the sick and dying as Mary did on Calvary, appealed to her, and during a nurses’ retreat she spoke to the priest leading the retreat about her interest in joining.

“I continued speaking with him, probably for about six or eight months or so … and then I decided,” she said.

At 21 she travelled to Sydney for her postulancy and novitiate, taking Juliana as her religious name, after a beloved Little Company of Mary Sister who had recently passed away and St Juliana Falconieri of Florence.

Sr Juliana has visited Florence “three or four times” (“We have a hospital in Florence”) and has been to the tomb of her patron, who is incorrupt.

She has also travelled to Korea, Tonga, New Zealand, the United States and England.

She has served on advisory boards to Calvary hospitals in Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and Hobart and as Director of Nursing in Hobart, as well as on her community’s provincial council.

In 1998, she was made a Member of the Order of Australia for “services to community health and to hospital administration as a senior administrator and director of Calvary Hospital, Hobart”.

“I received it really on behalf of all the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing without the support of the other Sisters of the Little Company of Mary and the charism that guides me.”

She says that prayer is a vital aspect of the charism.

“It’s fundamental. I mean, that’s why I’m here – still here!”

Sr Juliana says she always carries a set of rosary beads and has a “spiel” of prayers which include the Memorare, the Magnificat and Hail Marys.

“Automatically, if something is happening, I always say a Hail Mary,” Sr Juliana said.

“You’ve always got to praise and thank God.”

November 20 will mark the 80th anniversary of the Little Company of Mary’s arrival in Tasmania.