Vale Sr Martina RSJ

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Home > Media > News > Vale Sr Martina RSJ
Vale Sr Martina RSJ

9/6/1929 – 20/9/2019

Sr Mary Martina Roberts RSJ was born Margaret Doreen in Hobart on June 9, 1929, the youngest daughter of parents Harold and Frances. The family attended Mass at St Joseph’s Church on Macquarie Street where nearby Sr Martina studied at St Joseph’s School run by the Sisters of Charity. She would later say that St Joseph had his eye ‘over her’.

Feeling a call to religious life in her last few years of school, she saw a friend enter the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart and was inspired to do the same.

She received the religious name Sr Mary Martina and made her first profession on January 4, 1948.

Sr Martina taught in more than a dozen schools around Tasmania from as far as Smithton to Cygnet. A memorable year was spent teaching in outback New South Wales, an experience she described as ‘wonderful’.

She also served as a parish sister in Franklin, regularly volunteering at the local Vinnies store and with Meals on Wheels.

In later years she lived in Cygnet, and until she left in 2016 was still interacting with students and staff at St James Catholic College.

She had many and varied interests: she was a gifted singer, took part in amateur theatre, and daily recorded the rainfall – for many years doing the ABC weather report for the Huon Valley.

With a passion for sport, she barracked for Hawthorn and played netball in her youth, and later she coached and was much sort after as an umpire. In 1989 she received a coach of the year award for an A-grade netball club.

Known for her kindness and thoughtfulness of the needs of others, Sr Martina also loved animals and was known to feed stray cats and observe local birds as they built their nests.

She retired to the Josephite Sisters’ community at New Town, and more recently relocated to Mary’s Grange in Taroona.

Last year she celebrated her platinum jubilee of religious profession.

An essay she wrote on ageing in 1985 was quoted at her funeral:
“I love life and I want to live. Seventy-five or not, that’s my hope, to love life and those who people it, those things in it that have filled me with love. 

“Love overcomes so much, given half a chance, a love that has made me ‘get up and go’ when the comfortable thing would have been to say, ‘Let someone younger do it’,” she wrote.

“What love He has given me! And I’ve tried to pass on to others in so many, if unusual ways, some of that love.”

She passed away on September 20, at the age of 91.