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Tuesday, 10 April 2018 10:00

80 years in religious life for Sr Caroline

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0418SrCarolineDeutscheribvm 150When Loreto Sister Caroline Deutscher was approaching her 90th birthday it was suggested it might be time to retire from her university teaching job. Almost a decade later, she is celebrating 80 years of religious life, The Ballarat Courier reports.

The 99-year-old celebrated the milestone with family and friends at Nazareth House.

Sister Caroline said looking back on her 80 years as a nun was an amazing feeling.

“I never thought I would have done so much.”

Sister Caroline was born in Portland in 1919 and grew up in the small western Victorian town of Merino.

She joined religious life in 1938 at 19 after completing her early years of secondary school by correspondence, then later as a boarder in Portland.

“We had an Irish novice mistress who thought us Australians were a bit brash, and we needed to be toned down a bit. But we persevered and we all made the grade. I am the only one of that group left now,” Sister Caroline said.

In 1941, Sister Caroline professed her vows as a member of the Loreto Sisters in Ballarat.

“My music teacher was talking to me one day and asked what I wanted to do when I left school,” she said.

“I had always thought I would be a teacher and she said ‘have you ever thought of being a nun?’ That was the first time I ever thought of it. When I thought more about it and saw the good example and edification of the Portland nuns I decided that was what I would like to do.”

Sister Caroline dedicated her life to service as a teacher, first in primary, then moving on to tertiary education.

She taught at many schools in Victoria, Adelaide and Perth, and only retired 10 years ago at 89 from a position teaching education at Australian Catholic University in Ballarat.

“I was 89 and it was just coming up to my 90th birthday when my superior said, ‘if people know that you are 90 and are still teaching they might object’. So I retired,” Sister Caroline said.

The full version of this story was published in The Courier.

Photo: Lachlan Bence/Ballarat Courier