A Sermon in the Cemetery

Nora McManus was an American Catholic nun whose life and work in the USA were rudely interrupted by a malignant condition. She decided to devote what time she had left to ministering to Australian aborigines, and finally settled in Wilcannia in western New South Wales.

She became something of a legend among the town’s indigenous population, and when she died was buried in the aboriginal section of the cemetery. Her grave is marked by a rough stone border and a small hand-made headstone.

John Terry was a lawyer from a non-indigenous well-to-do Sydney family. He worked for the Aboriginal Legal Service, and had become deeply impressed by Nora McManus and the work she did in Wilcannia. He died at an early age. His family were shocked to learn from his will that he wished to be buried “at the feet of Nora McManus” in the aboriginal section of the Wilcannia cemetery.

Today you can see the solid granite grave of John Terry lying at right-angles at the feet of Nora McManus in the Wilcannia cemetery.


About dazzlerplus

Writing about the things that interest me helps me to discover what I think. One of my loves is the Australian Outback, and I travel out there often, and when possible take friends with me.
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2 Responses to A Sermon in the Cemetery

  1. Cuppa says:

    Nice one!
    Have never been to Wilcannia, but it’s on the ‘to do’ list, if only because of the bad press it often gets. My experience is that those places which folks often advise us to avoid are places that have been well worth visiting. You’ve just given me another reason to visit Wilcannia.

  2. Anne says:

    Thanks Rob, What a moving story. She must have been a wonderful woman.

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