On the birth certificate of my mother’s aunt, she is named Margaret Bridget Catherine Barker after her three Devereux aunts, however, she was known as Mary Barker; ‘Mary’ was her mother’s name.
Mary had one sister, my mother’s mother, and six brothers. She was a good looking girl who held much affection for her family, but her great love was for her God and Mary entered the convent in 1927 aged 22 years. Mary took her vows and her religious name was Sr. David, in later years she was known as Sr Mary David. She signed her letters to my mother affectionately as ‘Auntie Day’. My mother was Sr David’s first and favourite niece and they had a special closeness throughout their lives, writing many letters to each other. After completing secondary school Mary spent a lot of time helping her sister, Queenie Sinnott with her children. She loved the children very much and one of her lasting memories was of them lining up to say their nightly prayers saying, “Holey Mary Mudder of God, pray for us Sinnotts now and at the hour of our death.”
Sr Mary David was a great conversationalist and I recall her telling my mother a tale about one day taking a walk and greeting a man walking his dog. She told my mother; “bending down to pat his dog, I didn’t have far to bend, I asked the man the name of his dog.” (My very short great aunt demonstrated the act of patting the dog), “and the man replied, ‘Sandwich’. ‘Sandwich? I queried to which he replied, ‘Yes, he is half-bred’.”
I was privileged to have once attended the large Barker clan picnics held in Melbourne and had a lovely day meeting various Barker 2nd cousins and joining in the activities arranged for the younger members of the families – foot races and competitions.
Sr Mary David lived a long and fulfilled life and is remembered as a delightful, warm, loving lady and I am sure that she and my mother are reunited again in heaven.
In her final recorded message Sr Mary David Barker said,
“To my nieces and nephews and their families – Indeed to all my relatives, I would like to say this to you all.
I’ll be loving you always
with a love that is true always
When the things you plan need a helping hand
I will understand always
Days may not be fair always
That’s when I’ll be there always
Not just for an hour, not just for a day
Not for just a year, but always
May God love and bless you all now and forever, Amen.