Sister Marcella Morris
Marcella was born in Warrnambool, Victoria. She was the fourth and youngest daughter of John and Mary Morris, who had a dairy farm nearby. Marcella attended initially St Ann’s school and later the public high school in Warrnambool. After 2 years of commercial studies, Marcella worked at GJ Coles for 5 enjoyable years – where she made lifelong friends.
It was following a Redemptorist Mission that Marcella felt the call to be a Sister. The local priest recommended the St John of God Sisters, who had recently arrived in Warrnambool. It was only after Marcella had made all the arrangements to travel to Perth, that she told her family, who were astounded.
Marcella arrived at Subiaco in 1942, where in addition to formation as a Sister, she trained as a nurse. Marcella moved to the Kimberley in 1956, where she was to spend 40 years. Marcella is remembered in the Kimberley as outgoing and friendly person, a great organiser, and so caring and hospitable to Sisters and visitors alike. She had a great capacity for making people feel at home.
Marcella immersed herself in the healing ministry in Derby Native Hospital, the Leprosarium and later in the Child Health Centre. She was known as a dedicated, compassionate and tireless nurse – ready to be on call day and night if needed for sick young children.
Marcella was highly respected by the local Doctors. This was especially noticed after a tragic car accident in Broome in the 1960’s. Marcella was critically injured in the accident, and required life-saving surgery in Derby. Dr Holman, who operated, stayed with Marcella day and night until she was out of danger.
Marcella survived too several traumatic experiences which caused her great suffering and distress. These experiences heralded the beginning of a new ministry – that of a wounded healer who reached out to others bringing peace, solace and a sense of well being to those for whom she prayed. This is the Marcella whom people in Broome remember today – especially those who were recipients of that healing.
Sometimes Marcella’s desire to bring peace was a source of worry to her Sisters in Balgo. If there was a fight in the indigenous community, Marcella would set out undaunted, to pour blessings of love and mercy on both warring parties. Then she would bind up their wounds and soothe their injured egos. The people of Balgo remember her with great love and respect for this.
Above all else, Marcella was a woman of deep prayer, who brought an awareness of the presence of Jesus. She prayed with the people where they were, and was instrumental in the formation of little prayer groups – some of whose members continue to meet and pray to this day. The Kimberley people send their condolences to us and messages of farewell to Marcella.
Marcella moved to the Villa in 1996, and made her home here. Marcella was always prayerful and happy, and a warm-hearted and hospitable community member. Marcella lived life to the full, and enjoyed the daily activities and outings until her health deteriorated just a few weeks ago. We admired her dress sense, and her capacity to mine the riches of seniors’ week! She enjoyed sharing the Good News of the Lord, together with a latte – with friends. Marcella wrote in recent years that she could ‘honestly call these years the happiest in her religious life’ – that the Lord had definitely given her more than the hundredfold.
Go in peace dear Marcella to the Fullness of Life with God.