Meet our College Sacristan Yvonne Hickling (Stewart, 1962)
Yvonne Hickling (Stewart, 1962) started in the role of Santa Maria College Sacristan in November 2009. However, there has always been a strong family connection to the College for Yvonne. She is one of five siblings and her two sisters, Rita Charters (Stewart, 1972), Fiona Stewart (1973) and two of her cousins, Eileen Fisher (Walker, 1965 dec), Susan Lim (Walker, 1968) also attended Santa Maria College. Her two brothers attended our brother school, Aquinas College.
She began her schooling at the College in Year 1 and has early memories of her Dad teaching the nuns to drive. She also recalls her brother Laurie had a starring role in the College production, “My Fair Lady”. Another strong memory for Yvonne and a story that has grown through the years is how she saved her friend’s life when she put her foot out one day to stop her from rolling down the steps from the primary school.
A strong sense of community and a friendship with the then President of the OGA, Anne Patroni (Skidmore, 1965) lead to Yvonne joining the Old Girls’ Association committee in her 30s and taking on the role of treasurer.
Fr Sean Fernandez encouraged Yvonne to take on the role of College Sacristan about eleven years ago. Her role is to ensure that all the requirements for the priests and Mass are met. She finds the role rewarding.
Yvonne washes and irons the albs (altar servers’ gowns) and ensures that the altar cloths, vestments, and vessels used for mass are cleaned. She also ensures there are enough hosts for mass. Interestingly, these are provided by the Carmelite Order of nuns in Nedlands. As they are a closed order, Yvonne used to go to the monastery and collect them through a rotating slot in the door. These days they are more often sent in the post.
As part of her role, Yvonne is present in the sacristy to help the girls in the Special Ministry and help dress the priest for mass.
The Mass has changed a lot through the years. Yvonne remembers the time when no one ever spoke at church but now she says the nuns are louder than the girls at mass!
What Yvonne has found most enjoyable about the role of the sacristan is mixing with the College staff and the girls. Yvonne enjoys working with Jillian Landers (Head of Mission), meeting different priests, seeing Old Girls’ daughters and granddaughters coming through the College, and assisting with their weddings that occur at the College chapel. She also makes special mention of Helen Chaffer, our former Deputy Principal, Mission who taught her the ropes and was always available to help.
Recently Yvonne has enrolled her husband in service at the College. Upon his retirement from the role of Registrar at Guildford Grammar, Yvonne volunteered him as a bus driver. At the time of writing her husband was driving our girls through the Swan Valley!
Since 1985 Yvonne has had an active role in the alumni community through the OGA Committee and the role of Sacristan. Her service, knowledge, and calming presence have been invaluable, and we thank her for all her years of service to the Colle