Have you heard of Australia Day? According to AustraliaDay.org.au:
Australia Day, 26 January, is the day to reflect on what
it means to be Australian, to celebrate contemporary
Australia and to acknowledge our history.
Since our community is blessed to have an Aussie, postulant Sr. Lauren, we had to celebrate! This year Australia Day was observed on January 28th since the 26th fell on a Saturday…so we just had a whole Australia Day weekend!
On the 26th the Australian Flag was hung outside the kitchen in our main hallway. Sr. Lauren made Fairy Cake for the community, an Australian dessert new to most of us! At supper in the evening we enjoyed listening to a variety of Australian music, beginning with the National Anthem. Again, most of us had never heard Australian’s anthem before, and we paused our meal to stand as we heard it for the first time. Following the anthem were Waltzing Matilda and some of the music of the Aboriginal Australians.
On Monday, the day Australia was observing Australia Day this year, we had a good ole barbecue. Apparently this is the traditional way of celebrating in Australia, just as it is in America for Independence Day…..except that January is SUMMER in Australia while here Sr. Mary Magdalene braved the chilly, snowy weather to “nun” the grill. For dessert Sr. Mary Catharine made pavola. Australian meat pies were enjoyed a few days later, also made by Sr. Mary Catharine.
This past Sunday, Sr. Lauren gave the community a presentation on Australia during evening recreation. We learned that Australia is very close to the size of the USA, only about 830k sq mi less, but much of that is desert in the middle of the continent. Sr. Lauren hails from Adelaide which we learned is also known as “the most boring place in the universe,” “Australia’s retirement village,” and “serial killer capital of the world.”
We also learned that Australia was the first place in the world where women were allowed to vote and stand for Parliament…way back in 1895! Other interesting tidbits: not all Australians love Vegemite, and the real reason most people hate it is because they put way too much on their toast. Apparently a little goes a long ways! Thanks to Sr. Lauren’s explanations we finally understood what “Waltzing Matilda,” which we had listened to in the refectory, was about! We were also informed that Kangaroo Island would be a great place for a new Dominican monastery. Unfortunately the nuns are the only part of the Dominicans missing from the continent, and it is the only inhabited continent from which we are still absent!
Sr. Lauren is actually one of two sisters in our community who have dual citizenship, as she is also a citizen of South Africa. Sr. Maria Johanna is the other sister, having citizenship for both Canada and America.