Balldale Majellan Group Yearly Diary 1974 – 1994


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Formation Meeting held on 25th April.

Spiritual Director: Monsignor Lane; President: Marie Ford; Secretary: Sandra Drum.

First official meeting held on 22nd May: Mass was said by Monsignor Lane, followed by a casserole luncheon.

Discussion held on format and suitable activities for group.

Guest Speaker, Sr Joan Kotzur (District Nurse from Corowa); she spoke on “Problems and needs of the Elderly”.

Mercy Hospital Family Planning Clinic, guest speakers.

Retreat for mothers of young children held at Mercy Hospital – given by Fr Max Barrett CSsR.

Karinya House – casserole lunch for elderly citizens.

Gospel discussions.

Barbecue Tea at Isabel Kingston’s.

*  *  *
Women’s World Day of Prayer.
Nursing Mothers’ Association, Albury – guest speakers.
Mother’s Day of reflection, at Mercy Hospital, Albury.
Monsignor Lane said Mass.
Mary Terrill spoke on “Women’s Place in Society”
Sex Education – Monsignor Lane
Visit from St John’s Orphanage – barbecue, games held at Balldale recreation Ground.
Spinning Demonstration by Bev McCall
Annual Mass of St Gerard Majella
Karinya House
Talk on Life of St Gerard by Colleen Drum
Craft, knitting machine demonstration
*   *   *
Visit to Holy Land – Talk and slides by Monsignor Lane
Family barbecue at Carol Packer’s climbed Goombargana Hill
Mass – Monsignor Lane
Sister Brigid spoke on preparing children for hospital
Pantry Day for Sisters
*   *   *
Attended Women’s World Day of Prayer
Mass said by Monsignor Lane; followed by luncheon at Joan’s
Julie Rigby spoke on ‘Right to Life’; afternoon tea followed in Maarie’s garden.
How to cook Pavlovas – Isabel
Scone competition
recipe meeting.
Ambulance Officer (Ron Sawyer) spoke on ‘Resuscitation’
Elaine Clohessy showed us how to ice cakes
Mass said by Fr George, followed by lunch
*   *   *
Mission Priest spoke on ‘Aims and Life in Mission Fields’: Considered Majellan Groups as ‘little missionaries’.
Mass for Sandra’s Mum, said by Fr George.
Women’s World Day of Prayer – our turn to organize the day. Mrs Terry from Oaklands was our guest speaker.
Barbecue on Hill at Marie’s
Maree Terrill spoke on “Thuringa” – a haven for the intellectually handicapped.
Tape received from Sr Vicki Dean on work and life in New Guinea
Right to Life coffee morning and stalls, $150 raised, letters of protest sent to Members of Parliament.
*   *   *
Mass said by Monsignor Lane, followed by lunch
Several members went to Corowa to hear Margaret Tighe speak on ‘right to Life’.
Yackandandah – craft day and counter lunch
Entertained St John’s Orphanage children and Sisters.
Mass said by Monsignor Lane; casserole lunch. Slides on ‘Shroud of Turin’
Monsignor Lane – talk on ‘Prayer’
Amway demonstration, which members will no doubt recall.
Cosmetic demonstration, all trying latest colours, thought we looked very glamorous.
Mass of St Gerard said by Monsignor Lane and he distributed blessed medals and Rosary beads to all children present.
Mass and lunch at Helen Sandral’s – organized by Rand CWL.
Farewell to Marilyn Whellan.
*   *   *
World Day of Prayer
Mass and luncheon
Mass said by Fr Connell. Annual Meeting at Carol packer’s
Discussion on Morality of Test Tube Babies
Discussion on Vocation of Motherhood
Purchase of Majellan Christmas cards
Mass and luncheon, followed by talk by Dr Cathy Marshall on ‘Caring for our sick children’
New Year’s Eve Party at Marie and Kevin Ford’s
*  *  *
Singing Practice – Women’s World Day of Prayer
Sr Dorothy – Guest Speaker for WWDP
Amnesty International – letter regarding women who want to be women sent to Soviet Ambassador
40c Bank Balance!
Guest Speaker – Sr Dorothy – ‘Nutrition’
Mass followed by casserole lunch. Monsignor Lane spoke on ‘Holy Land, following his latest sojourn overseas
Subscriptions raised from $1 to $3 to cover expenses
Evening Mass with Monsignor Lane. Mass of St Gerard. Clare and Tony’s 25th Wedding Anniversary
Guest Speaker – Val Cravino – ‘Day Care Centre in Corowa’
Majellan Mass at Sacred Heart in Albury – Bishop Carroll celebrated.
Coffee Morning
New year’s Eve Party
*  *  *
Meals on Wheels – New venture for those who don’t have babies
Participated in Women’s World Day of prayer
Discussion on Confession
Presented new babies with St Gerard Majella Medals
Wedding Dresses – Mary Sandral
Mass – Monsignor Lane. Lunch. Monsignor spoke about ‘Sacrament of reconciliation’
Lamington Drive for Orphanage. 138 dozen supplied for Band Sunday.
Talk on ‘Sex Education for our children’ – Monsignor Lane
Mass – Mons Lane. Blessed medals.
Mary Vonthein, floral arrangements and how to make fresh flowers last longer.
Meals on Wheels
Clare – slides of overseas trip.
*  *  *
World Day of Prayer
Meals on Wheels
Lamington Drive – proceeds to Bush Fire area around Warrnambool – to help start their gardens again i.e. for trees, shrubs, etc.
Mass – Mons Lane. Annual Meeting and Casserole Luncheon.
Julieanne Whyte talk on ‘Natural Family Planning’
Cassette and slides on ‘History of the Mass’
October Mass and Luncheon for Feast of St Gerard – Mons Lane
Talk on trip to USA and Canada by Mary Lavis
Marilyn Whelan spoke on her family’s three year stat in Penang and on the adoption of their Sri Lankan daughter Kamala.
*  *  *
Women’s World Day of Prayer – Veronica Sandral was our guest speaker
Letters of protest sent about film on “Christ’ released in USA
Kitchen tea for Gina Kingston at Mary’s; favourite recipes.

Fr McGrath said Mass for Joan and John Sandral’s 25th Wedding Anniversary, Mass also offered for the late Prosper Sandral.

Subscription of Majellan Magazine given to Gina Kingston, Catherine Sandral and Mary Clare Packer on the occasion of their weddings.
Clare Packer spoke to us about her trip to Lourdes and on Saints Lucy and Bernadette
‘Renewal of Hope’ discussion
October Mass with Mons Lane, babies blessed and presented with St Gerard Medals
$25 to Ethiopian Appeal
*  *  *
Meals on Wheels
Mass and Luncheon
August, Mons Lane presented with plaque on retirement to Queensland. Thank you for all the spiritual guidance over the years.
Retreat at St Mary’s convent Chapel with Fr Bernie Connell
*  *  *
“Understanding your Adolescent” program commenced.
Mass and Luncheon, Fr Bartlett celebrated the mass. Presentation made to Marie Ford (founder of  the group), prior to Ford family moving to Queensland.

Farewell to Marie Ford – at Carmel & Robert Packer’s – 1986 Back L-R: Carmel Packer, Maree Seymour, Isabel Kingston, Pat l’Anson, Marie Tomlinson, Mary Lavis, Pat Ford, Sandra Drum. Front L-R: Fr Bartlett, Iris Drum, Helen Sandral, Joan Sandral; children: Francis Drum, and Lauren Seymour.

Majellan Christmas Card orders taken
Mass for Joan’s and Sandra’s fathers; Fr Bartlett celebrated.
Sue Street and Judy Lavis – lovely craft afternoon.
*  *  *
Women’s World day of Prayer; Peg Hanrahan was the Guest Speaker.
Annual Mass and Luncheon; Fr Croese celebrated  the Mass.
Mass for Henry and Isabel Kingston’s 25 Wedding Anniversary; also included were Mary’s mother and pat’s sister.
Fr Croese showed videos on Garvin Byrne (11 year-old cancer victim), and on Our lady of Medjugorje.
Fay Doyle – craft skills with paper roses and carnations – a very successful day at Marie’s.
Fr McGrath said Mass for the feast of St Gerard. Several visitors, including Sr Jane Frances provided music. Following luncheon, Peg Hanrahan gave a delightful account of her trip to Britain and Europe.
*  *  *
Isabel moving to Corowa.
Pat l’Anson reads article on St Theresa.
Cynthia Bird – social worker, Guest Speaker.
Irene Ryan’s first meeting.
Annual Meeting: Fr McGrath said Mass; luncheon followed.
Wall hangings made from dried seeds and plants ‘n some looked very good.
Sr Anne Quinaine spoke on Family Life Movement.
Sr Vicki Dean spoke on ‘Bereavement Associated with Stillbirth’ – How families are helped to cope.
October Mass for St Gerard’s Feast Day. Fr McGrath gave lovely homily on ‘Life of St Gerard’. Luncheon followed.
*  *  *
Farewell John and Joan Sandral, moving to Bourke.

Farewell To Joan Sandral. Back L-R: Marie Tomlinson, Sandra Drum, Pat Ford, Mary Lavis, Maree Seymour. Front L-R: Carmel Packer, Joan, Irene Ryan, Iris Drum, Clare Packer & baby Jordan Packer.

Monsignor Lane’s 60th year in priesthood – Parish celebrations
Looked through each other’s wedding albums.
Interesting discussion on ‘Faith’; two lovely prayers read.

Fr McGrath prepares for Mass (1993 – at McKinley’s)

Mass celebrated by Fr McGrath; Luncheon; Bev McCall, Guest Speaker. Bev told us about her beautiful hand-spun and dyed wool garments. Bev designs and knits the items, some of which have been sold overseas.
Jubilee Mass for Sister Bernadette.
Theresa and Graeme Sandral given subscription to Majellan Magazine on the occasion of their marriage.
Mary spoke on day at Carmel Monastery in Wagga Wagga. It included a decade of the Rosary said for each continent of the world, then a talk on Ephesus (Our Lady’s birthplace). A lovely Mass was said at the monastery by Fr Shanahan and was accompanied by beautiful singing by the nuns. “Monastique” cosmetics were available at reasonable prices.
*  *  *
Subscription of Majellan magazine sent to Jacinta l’Anson.
Heather showed us her needlework which was exhibited in Corowa Show – beautiful.
Annual Mass said by Fr Flanagan. After luncheon, Father spoke on his wonderful trip to Russia.
Recipe swapping day and sampling same.
October Luncheon meeting, followed by Mary’s talk on visits to Lourdes, Assisi, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dam, Lakia, St Peter’s Rome, the Island of San Francesco Del Deserto near Castel Gandolfo and Venice, on her recent trip to Europe.  Mary also gave all members small bottles of Lourdes water, a prayer card  and medals.
Viewing Heather’s exquisite needlework – pin-tucking, etc., … a huge patchwork quilt.
*  *  *
World Day of Prayer
Visit to Buller’s Bird Park – a lovely day with a picnic lunch. Val Buller is President of Rutherglen Garden Club and she took us through her private garden which displayed beautiful old-fashioned roses, etc. We then went to the Nursery at Rutherglen.
Mass at St Patrick’s Albury – lunch at Peard’s Nursery, then looked through the nursery.
Visited Albury Art Gallery – noted especially the wall hanging “Aurora Australis”
Annual Meeting, Sr Bernadette spoke on “Her childhood, her family and her Religious Life” (Corowa Citizen of the Year)
Joan’s talk on the Sisters in Bourke – they are Indian nuns from the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa. Joan also showed us her beautiful needlework and handmade porcelain dolls. It was a very cold and wet day for our meeting. Heather showed us some knitting hints.

July 6, 1991: Marie & Kevin Ford pictured with son Chris, following ordination to the priesthood at St Mary’s Corowa.

On Saturday, July 6th, Bishop Brennan ordained Christ Ford at St Mary’s church, Corowa. His ordination was not only a proud moment for his parents Marie and Kevin, and their family and friends, but also for our Majellan Group as Chris was one of our original ‘littlies’.
Isabel’s talk on her work with Palliative Care. All were very moved by this informative talk given with feeling.
A beautiful day in Beechworth doing a ‘Rose Garden Tour’ and going to galleries. “Cottages” – beautiful; one feels very close to God at Beechworth.
Joan and Mary attend the St Gerard Mass and Lunch in Corowa.
*  *  *
World Day of Prayer: Ellen Lewis was Guest Speaker
Demonstration of ‘mock applique’ by Heather – all enjoyed doing this very much
Sister Carmel Gardiner spoke to us and we had discussion and prayer. This was prior to Mission being held in Corowa.
Prayer from Sr Alacoque (never fails!) – “Little Flower, show thy power at this hour.” – Successful, too,  when having trouble to sleep.
Pattern for Teddy Bears distributed – “Trauma Teddies”, for use in hospitals, ambulances, fire stations, police stations, refuges, etc.
Annual mass said by Fr Tyler (Howlong). Sr Bernadette gave a talk about her trip to the Holy Land and showed us her photos (army hat!). She also visited Rome, Assisi, Fatima and Lourdes. She spoke in detail, no notes, just reliving the wonderful trip.
Joan solved a knitted basque problem for Pat Ford. We collected some recipes for our ‘book’ today.
Family Tea at Heather’s really enjoyed by us all, including the 26 children and teenagers present.
Letter of congratulations sent to Dymock’s Bookstore for refusing to stock Madonna’s tin covered book.
Large bat of teddy bears given to Mary to take to Albury.
Another trip to Beechworth to see roses – a great day was had again.

Christmas Luncheon: Back L-R: Marita Tomlinson, Pat Ford, Heather McKinley, Irene Ryan, Joan Sandral. Front L-R: Marie Tomlinson, Iris Drum, Sandra Drum, Mary Lavis, Maureen Blampied.

First Christmas Luncheon held at “Peppercorn Cottage”, Howlong. All voted it a must again next year, after a difficult year for all.
*  *  *
Gillian Bartlett’s demonstration on how to make a gorgeous fur fabric Teddy Bear – looked so simple!
‘Thank you’ note from Sr Bernadette (in hospital).
Annual Meeting – Fr McGrath said the Mass. Luncheon followed. Heather then showed us her heirloom sewing and then attempted to teach us how to make grub roses.
Mary, Sandra and Iris attended Balldale PWA 60th Anniversary Celebrations.

Kerry Aitchison & daughter Brianna

Kerry Aitcheson (new member) showed us a video and spoke to us about Cystic Fibrosis.
Working on our book for the 20th Anniversary.
Family Tea at Heather’s – great night once again.
*  *  *
“When’s the Jelly Meeting , Mum?”
Sandra Drum
“When’s the Jelly Meeting, Mum?”
My kids would often say.
“When’s the Jelly Meeting, Mum,
I hope it is today?”
“Are we going to Lavis’s, Packer’s or Aunty Marie’s?
Can I take my bike, my Tonka truck,
Or… perhaps a packet of smarties?”
“When’s the Jelly Meeting, Mum?
What will there be to eat?
Are you taking raspberry slice,
Or perhaps that nice new sweet?”
“When’s the Jelly Meeting, Mum?
Will Monsignor say Mass today?
Can I help blow out the candles,
Or help him put his things away?”
“When’s the Jelly Meeting, Mum?
Will all the kids be there today
I do so hope they are,
For I just love to play.”
Now my kids have all grown up,
But I can still hear them say –
“When’s the Jelly Meeting, Mum,
I hope it is today?”
*  *  *
Mary Lavis
Our 1992 trip to Beechworth was held early in November, and was enjoyed by all who went. Leaving early, we arrived too early for the gardens, so we went to look at the Buckland Gallery. We had a good look here and Joan felt very smug on seeing a raffia hat (not very well made, on sale for $80.90). Everyone told Joan how lovely the one she had made and was wearing that day looked in comparison!

Beechworth Trip 1992: L-R: Joan Sandral, Mary Lavis, Heather McKinley, Isabel Kingston.

A cup of tea was next on the agenda. Then we went to “Hedge House”, which was very nice, but not as many roses in bloom as we saw last year. “Finches” was more a cottage garden type. Bed and breakfast is available there, and we all agreed that we could spend a night there as it was lovely.
“Rose Cottage was the next garden we visited, and again not as many roses in bloom as in 1991. We then went to a new garden which would be really beautiful when all the roses were at their best.
We had a picnic lunch in the park – sharing heather’s beautiful slice, for which we all got the recipe as it seemed to simple and easy to make. We then packed up and went to more gardens, six in all – all different and all beautiful.
There was time for a quick look at another Gallery, and another garden on the way home brought to a close a most enjoyable day.
Joan and crew had a cuppa, but Heather and her girls had to get Isabel home in time to rush to “A Magic Night” in Wodonga with her grandchildren. No doubt she survived the day, as it was a full one for us all – great though.
*  *  *
My happiest memories of Majellan are the beautiful Masses said for us by Monsignor Lane. He always insisted the children and babies sit on the floor in front of the altar. During the Mass there was not a peep from them, because they felt they were included in the Mass. I might add there was a lot of little children at the time.
Another memory dear to me was on two occasions when I had pneumonia. The Majellan members had a “Bake O” and arrived at “Hilltop” with a load of most delicious cakes and goodies. They were most appreciated.
My Majellan friends are always there to share our joys and sorrows. This at times is very comforting. I feel we are trying to be ‘just like Mary’, and I hope we can continue for another 20 years.
– by Joan Sandral.
*  *
My first meeting with the Balldale Majellan Group was in July 1984. Marie Ford invited me to come after we had met at a Requiem Mass in Corowa.
Apparently getting the time wrong, I arrived too early at Marie’s place. With four year-old Clare in tow, I found Marie with her head down, bottom up, cleaning the oven. She had a scarf over her hair, a mask on her face and rubber gloves on her hands in her task. To get out of the way for a while, Claire and I went with Kevin down to a far away paddock to check the sheep.
This meeting was the first of many that I have attended over the years with the Balldale Majellan Group. They have resulted in the friendship of a group of warm, caring, Catholic women. The meetings have been a source of inspiration, joy, peace and relaxation in my busy life.
by Marie Tomlinson, “Claremont”, Coreen.
*  *  *
*  *  *
  • Baskets (or boxes) of groceries gathered for Guest Speakers?
  • Scone competitions? – Pat Drum took out Second Prize with a packet mix!
  • The Pavlova Demonstration by Isabel? – The Kingston family had to eat several pavs. in the lead up to the demonstration.
  • Do you remember the day that Paul and Sylvia were nowhere to be found at “Orana”? – Ted went searching up roads, in sheds, etc. Meanwhile other members looked in the garden, round trees and in the house. Carol and I went to the dam just out the back, with knees weakening and hearts thumping, only to hear others call from the house: “Here they are! ..behind the chair, quietly playing in the toy basket.” What a relief!

by Mary Lavis

*  *  *


M …………… means having friends I would never have met otherwise

A …………… always someone to help when in trouble

J …………… just a phone call away from friends

E …………… everlasting friendship

L …………… living our religion in a simple way

L …………… learning to care for others

A …………… a thousand memories

N …………… nice days out, just to enjoy life

by Isabel Kingston

*  *  *


It seems rather appropriate that in this year of 1994 “The Year of the Family”, that we at the Balldale Majellan Group are celebrating our 20th birthday. Twenty years of meeting together, lasting friendships and placing our families under the patronage of St Gerard – The Mother’s Saint.

Having been introduced to St Gerard many years earlier, by Fr Andrew Quinn, I was very interested when Marie (Ford) rang, nearly twenty years ago, about forming a Majellan Group around Balldale. We would meet, have home Masses, guest speakers, craft demonstrations, etc., and no fund raising – wonderful!

During those years we have had very good meetings, large and small, but always enjoyed by all.

Our home Masses have always been rather special for us. I remember well, Monsignor Lane visiting for Mass and explaining everything to our young children as he did so – sometimes there were up to 15 of them. They would then sit around the altar ‘quiet as mice’ during Mass, because he always made it rather special for all of us. The special Masses offered on the death of our loved ones will always be remembered, I’m sure.

We have had some wonderful Guest Speakers on many and varied subjects over the years. One of the most touching, I think we will all remember, was our own Isabel speaking with such great feeling about her work in Palliative Care.

In later years, our children having grown up, we have had some lovely craft days and trips to gardens in Beechworth, Rutherglen and Albury, not forgetting our Christmas Lunches.

We have had some  interesting travel talks on many places (giving us all ‘itchy feet’), but Fr Flanagan’s talk on his visit to Russia and Sister Bernadette’s recalling each day of her trip to the Holy Land and other places will always stay in my mind.

After all these years, when I see how pleased members are to see each other again after a long break, it makes me feel that our Majellan Group really means a lot to us all (and will do for a long while yet).

by Mary Lavis.


1993 Annual Meeting – Back L-R: Sr Jane Frances, Mary Lavis, Sandra Drum, Isabel Kingston, Marie Tomlinson, Heather McKinley, Irene Elmore. Front L-R: Iris Drum nursing Angela Ryan, Sr. Bernadette, Irene Ryan, nursing Brianna Aitchison, Ellen Lewis & Kerry Aitchison.


*  *  *


In 1975, Mr Ron Sawyer, an Ambulance Officer, instructed our Group in Resuscitation of drowning victims, in particular small children…

In 1983, when my Francis was only eleven months old, he almost drowned in a bucket of water. recalling the instruction given almost eight years before, and with God’s help and many ‘Hail Mary’s’ from our older children, I was able to resuscitate him. Thank you, Majellan Group.

by Sandra Drum.

*  *  *


Meeting at my place today,

I cast my eyes upwards,

Cobwebs around the ceiling,

I hope they pray with eyes closed,

No one notices,

Had a lovely day.

by Isabel Kingston.


*  *  *


Is anyone happy because you passed his way?

Does anyone remember that you spoke to him today?

Were you selfish (pure and simple), as you rushed along your way?

Or is someone mighty grateful for a deed you did today?

Can you say tonight in parting with the day that slipping fast,

That you helped a single brother in the many that you passed?

Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said?

Does a man whose hopes were fading, now with courage look ahead?

Did you waste the day – or lose it, was it well – or poorly spent?

Did you leave a trail of kindness or a scar of discontent?

As you close your eyes in slumber, do you think that God would say:

‘You have earned one more tomorrow’ by the work you did today?

*  *  *


Dear Majellan Ladies,

Memories of my days with you all come fleeting back as I sit and think about each one of you. I can honestly say I have very happy memories of you all.

I did look forward to each meeting: I can remember some of you were very clever with your art and craft. Our Guest Speakers were always very interesting – their many and varied stories were wonderful. What I really enjoyed most were the home Masses and I just loved the retreats. I always felt they were so relaxing and gave us special time with God.

Lif is so busy, when you are a farmer’s wife – also fitting in the children’s interests. Mum’s taxi is kep busy for those few years with growing children, so that’s why the retreats were so special.

You can all be very proud of your little Majellan Club, some of my happiest memories are there with you all. I wish you well and hope you keep up the good work for many years to come.

My part ws only very small compared with the rest of you. But I thank you all for allowing me to enjoy your company for those few short years.

May God bless you all,

Your loving friend,

Pat l’Anson.

*  *  *


Don’t walk in front of me,

I may not follow.

Don’t walk behind me,

I might not lead.

Just walk beside me,

And be my friend.


*  *  *

End of entries to anniversary booklet.

To access the recipes in the booklet click


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