Sr Mary Clement was a young novice preparing to make her first profession with the Sisters of Mercy when her father arrived at the convent to take her home. Her hopes of a life in the Church seemed dashed almost at the start, reports The Catholic Weekly.
Sr Mary Clement was born Nancy Lennox in Mudgee, in the central west of NSW. “I was taught by the Sisters of Mercy here in Mudgee at St Matthew’s,” she says.
“It was their inspiration and their example and their prayer that led me to the Sisters of Mercy.”
The Sisters had always looked out for Sr Mary Clement, the second youngest of 11 children. One Sister identified a religious calling in their young pupil, who had already begun to consider her vocation.
“She said: ‘There are lot of orders but perhaps you might like to enter the Sisters of Mercy.’
“I said: ‘Oh, yes. I wouldn’t go any further than the Sisters of Mercy.’ As I grew older she kept in touch with me and she didn’t give up on me, and I prayed about it in the meantime.”
Sr Mary Clement’s father was a “determined” man, who had shared his wish for her to be the one to care for her ageing mother. “I thought he’d never give his permission,” she says.
“I had a very special devotion to Our Blessed Lady, and I prayed to Our Blessed Lady that she would intercede for me and come to my aid.”
She consulted Irish parish priest Fr Cass, who arranged for a Redemptorist missionary priest to speak to Mr Lennox. To her sheer delight, he gave his permission for her to enter the convent. “I was overjoyed, because that was the only obstacle keeping me back,” she recalls.
Sr Mary Clement had already made peace with the sacrifices she would have to make, including the opportunity to have a family of her own. “I thought about that,” she says.
“Coming from a big family, everybody but one married and had a family, and I saw their
children coming through. “It was a big sacrifice … what a wonderful thing, to give life to a child. But I knew what I was giving up."
FULL STORY Pastoral role takes Sister back to where it all began (Catholic Weekly)