BRISBANE - I received an email last Friday from Franciscan missionary Sister Cecilia Prest Mfic who has spent 15 years at Woorabinda, an indigenous community town 180 km south-west of Rockhampton in Queensland.
Previously Sr Cecilia was in the Aitape Diocese of Papua New Guinea for 28 years - most of the time in charge of the health centre at small mission station of Fatima near Lumi.
She told me that Fr Bruno Pokule was visiting Woorabinda for a few days, adding that she had delivered him when she was based at Sissano. Sr Cecilia remembers she was up all night as it had proved to be “a very difficult delivery”.
Fr Bruno, who visits Australia every year for marriage tribunal meetings and has been staying with Bishop Austin Crapp OFM at Townsville, studied canon law in Rome in the Italian language. How smart is that?
Village people had carried an unconscious Flannery from nearby Mt Somoro. He had been treating himself for malaria.
Genius that she is, Sr Cecilia found he actually had scrub typhus. She has studied tropical diseases in the United Kingdom and knew how to diagnose the mite borne sickness which is often fatal.
In his book, ‘Throwim Way Leg’, Flannery wrote that his life was saved by a nun but didn't mention Sr Cecilia by name.
Sr Cecilia had been one of Marg Lourigan's midwifery students at Mater Mother's Hospital in Brisbane. Ms Lourigan is my dear wife, Marg Parer.