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Former journalist says religious life is all she’d hoped

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 Sr Rose Patrick, former ABC journalist now turned religious Sister of Life. Photo: Supplied
Sr Rose Patrick, former ABC journalist now turned religious Sister of Life. Photo: Supplied

When the ABC reported that its journalist Nancy Webb was leaving left her job in Toowoomba to join a Catholic convent in Toronto many were taken by surprise.

But the Sister of Life, now named Sr Rose Patrick, says that religious life was always her dream.

“Everything else was only while I was waiting to enter, but I loved journalism. I also worked as a violin and piano teacher for a bit, and I just enjoyed the beautiful community of Toowoomba,” she said.

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“I would have been happy never to leave it for the rest of my life but God called me to the other side of the world, so he has a sense of humour.”

Growing up in her family with 11 siblings the young Nancy loved pretending to be a nun, while her brother Nathan would act the role of the priest. Last year Fr Nathan Webb was ordained to the priesthood for the Toowoomba diocese.

She met the Sisters of Life at World Day in Sydney 2008 when she was only 11.

“They gave me a flyer that had the words, ‘To lay down one’s life so that others may live,’” she said.

“When I saw those words I thought, ‘That’s the most beautiful thing in the world!”

Drawing on the order’s life of prayer, Sr Rose Patrick is involved in its missions for pregnant women in a crisis situation, evangelisation focused on the Gospel of Life, and offering retreats and individual accompaniment for women who are suffering after an abortion.

Now in her mid-20s, she made her first, temporary, vows in June 2021 and said her life today is everything she hoped for “and more.”

“I was discussing with some sisters once what superpower we’d all want if we could have one, and mine was to play a magic violin that healed everyone’s injuries, but then we noticed that all the superpowers we wanted were what we’re each already doing,” she said.

“They were like, ‘You already play the violin so that people can be healed’, and that was interesting for me to reflect on, that the greatest thing I could imagine for a movie about my life is what I’m already doing.”

“When someone is in a crisis situation or has been suffering from unacknowledged grief, in some cases for decades, music can sometimes touch the heart and allow someone to receive God’s love where words can’t get through those defences that have been put up,” she said.

“As Sisters of Life our training is really about learning how to love and how to be loved, so when the women come to our various apostolates we help them to find mental health support or whatever else they need but what we offer them ourselves is just a continuation of our prayer.”

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