Marist Sisters Cath and Mary are based in Barcaldine, a town in Central Western Queensland. Their ministry is to people on properties and in little towns to north, south, east and west in that area of the Diocese of Rockhampton. They travel many thousands of kilometres in the course of a year, often staying away for nights at a time. Many of the people rarely if ever see a priest.
An important aspect of this rural ministry is preparation of children (and sometimes adults) for reception of the Sacraments of Initiation. Sometimes the Sisters are called upon to lead a service of the Word and Communion – no Mass being possible without a priest – to baptize or to lead a funeral or burial service. Frequently they simply visit to spend time, to listen and share the joys and sorrows, the struggles of men and women coping with the difficulty of surviving years of drought. Through phone calls, emails, letters and newsletters, the Sisters strive to nurture the sense of community regardless of the great distances separating people and to support them in whatever way they can.