Sister Marcellin Robinson
This place has seen both the beginning and completion of Sister Marcellin’s life as a Sister of St John of God. Early in 1956 Miss Alma Robinson was interviewed by Sister Cecilia Masterson in the parlour of the old convent that once stood on this site. Then on the feast of St John of God the same year Alma began her life among us. At that time Alma was considered to be a ‘late vocation’!! The 8th child of Alma and William Robinson then living at Bondi Sydney, Alma Lesley Robinson was given the name Sister Marcellin when she was received into our Congregation on 10 September, she made profession of Vows on 12 September 1958 in the Memorial Chapel together with four companions.
At this time it is appropriate that we count the blessings that have come to all of us through Sister Marcellin. Just about anyone who ever encountered Marcellin speaks of her gentleness. Gentleness is listed as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, so we are reminded in these days of preparation for the feast of Pentecost that we have had, for more than 50 years, an eloquent reminder and witness of one who exemplified that gentle evidence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in one who so clearly had a deep, faith-filled relationship with God.
When Marcellin came among us she was already a qualified pharmacist and her entire working life of service has served people through this profession. Here in Subiaco, Marcellin and Sr Martha succeeded in converting the Dispensary into a Pharmacy and thus enabled the Hospital here to move into the new world of modern medicine. Those of us who worked in the era of the old pharmacy in the wooden building remember with affection her approachability, competence and helpfulness. In Pakistan, Marcellin not only served as pharmacist, but was mentor, guide and exemplar of our way of life for our young Pakistani members. Marcellin’s love of nature and her delight in gardening is also well known. It is significant that her favourite flowers were the waratahs; even though Marcellin was Australian, she too experienced the life of an emigrant here in Western Australia and in Pakistan – both so far away from her beloved New South Wales and her family there.
Living in community it is very easy to take the extraordinary as ordinary. Marcellin’s life was extraordinary in its self-giving and humility. Marcellin’s constant gentleness called for great courage and humility. In many ways Marcellin led a hidden life; yet to those of us who were gifted with living or working with her, she led a public life of fidelity and dedication to life as a consecrated religious woman. As a congregation we are better people and are richly blessed because of Marcellin
Deep in her English, Scottish and Irish ancestry is the family name ‘Gillis’, this surname in Gaelic means ‘Servant of Jesus’ Marcellin was undoubtedly a Servant of Jesus, one we are proud to call our sister. Today we give thanks for Marcellin, for her life among us and for the many blessings that have come to us and so many others through her life of faithful service. We grieve her loss and know that her prayers on our behalf will help us along the ways of our future. We offer our sympathy to her family and the community here in the villa who will miss her greatly. May she rest in peace.