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Sister celebrates half-century of service to Mater Townsville

A Sister of Mercy who arrived in Townsville in 1973 with only a motor scooter and a passion for helping others celebrated both her 70th birthday and 50th anniversary at Mater Private Hospital Townsville last week.

Sister Wendy Piggott has served as a nurse, midwife, clinical data coordinator, administration officer and office manager in her time at Mater – and is thrilled to see the spirit of Mercy is as strong in the hospital today as when she arrived half a century ago.

It has been exciting to see the hospital grow so much in this time and our services grow to match, and through it all our staff have kept acting with the same spirit of Mercy they have always had.
Sister Wendy Piggott

“There are so many people here who showcase that Mercy day after day and ensure Mater will always remain true to its values, whether the Sisters of Mercy are here or not.”

Sr Wendy was born in New Zealand, but she finished her schooling in Brisbane after her family moved across the Tasman.

“I wanted to start nursing to follow in the footsteps of my older sisters, so I had an interview with Sr Greta at the Mater and she invited me to complete my training in Townsville – and the rest is history,” Sr Wendy said.

“I moved up here when I was 19, two days before my 20th birthday, and trained with the Sisters of Mercy until 1975 when I became a postulant.

“When I moved here though, I forgot that I would have to drive to work, so I’d sold my car before I moved and had to buy a motor scooter when I arrived!"

Our convent used to be in Belgian Gardens so I can remember driving over the little hill from the Strand to the CBD past the cathedral trying to make it over the top with a police car right behind me!
Sister Wendy Piggott

Over the past five decades, Sr Wendy said more than just the buildings have changed.

“When I started as a nurse in theatres, we would get in there with our small tools and gloves on, whereas now so much of it is done with big fancy machines and laparoscopic equipment,” she said.

Sr Wendy said she has many fond memories of her years and still enjoys having a role at the hospital.

“I was looking for new work a few years ago and discovered a lot of old documents and photos that needed to be scanned, so now I am slowly working through those and am enjoying keeping busy.”

Mater Chief of Mission Alanna Jacoby said Sr Wendy’s compassion and dedication to Mater and the Diocese of Townsville was inspiring.

Mater’s mission has always been to respond to unmet community need, and to provide compassionate care to those who need it most. We are blessed that Sister Wendy arrived here 50 years ago, and that she has delivered on Mater’s mission ever since.
Alanna Jacoby, Chief of Mission

Mater Private Hospital Townsville General Manager Stephanie Barwick said Sr Wendy was a fantastic embodiment of the compassionate care provided by all Mater staff.

“All Mater Townsville staff deliver compassionate care every time, in the same way as the Sisters of Mercy always have, and Sr Wendy has always championed that at a local level – we are incredibly fortunate to have her with us, and to be celebrating this significant milestone with her,” Ms Barwick said.

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