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Cluny Sister receives Benemerenti medal


Trinidad-born Sr Augustine Quarless SJC was awarded the Benemerenti Medal from Pope Francis for her tremendous contributions to the diocese in the spheres of parish life, retreat work, counselling and communications.

She was bestowed the medal during the 10 a.m. Mass, on September 13 at St John the Evangelist RC Church, Mesopotamia.

The ceremony was held at the Mesopotamia church to include Msgr Michael Stewart with whom Sister had worked for many years. ‘Msgr Mike’ had recently been transferred from the Cathedral of the Assumption, Kingstown where he served as administrator. He was taking up his new appointment at the St John’s parish that Sunday.

Sr Augustine, 92, celebrated 66 years of religious profession on August 27, 2020.

She spent 31 years in West Africa between Sierra Leone (1954–1970) and Gambia (1970–1985). She celebrated her silver anniversary in Africa in 1979, and golden jubilee in 2004 in Trinidad. She has been residing in SVG for over 27 years.

According to her biography, in January 1993, “she was assigned to Pastoral Ministry in Mesopotamia and often reminisces about ‘her fights’ with Msgr Mike. Now, however, they are good buddies!”

In September 2003, Sr Augustine was moved to the Community in Kingstown where she worked at the Cathedral Parish Office as a support to then Cathedral Administrator, Msgr Mike.

In 2006, Sister was sent back to the Mesopotamia community as Community Leader. There she spent seven years after which she was again sent back to Kingstown.

Sister served in various ministries.  In the Diocese of Kingstown, she was a member of the National Service Team, the Marriage Tribunal Preliminary Investigation Team and Counsellor.

In communications, she was ‘the anchor’ for the weekly radio programme Catholic Forum. Hers was a well-known voice across the island even with members of different faiths. She also represented the diocese in SIGNIS Caribbean.

The bio ended stating that Sr Augustine’s “years of religious life have been full and adventurous, having let herself be led by God far away from her own country to adopt new cultures and to serve peoples of all races, nationalities and classes.  Like Samuel of the Old Testament, Sister Augustine heard the Call, answered the Call and responded with great faith.”