CATH NEWS REPORT: I was born in Sydney in 1980. I grew up in Brisbane and am the older of two girls. I was born a sportswoman and spent most of my childhood and teenage years competing at State and National levels, says Sr Mel Dwyer in the Record.
I loved all sports but the one I excelled at the most was athletics, in particular the javelin event. I dreamt of competing for Australia at the Olympics.
When I was 19 I moved back to NSW to train fulltime for sport. I continued to improve in my National ranking and was working hard to achieve my dream. Then I had the chance to go to Africa as a volunteer, at the same time as I had the chance to compete in the Olympic trials for Sydney 2000.
I chose Africa, thinking that I was focusing on the Athens Olympics in 2004 and that I would just take a few months off sport and then come back to it.
Yet, in Tanzania, walking on African soil, my life was changed completely. I was struck by the poverty of the people, coupled with their unbelievable joy. Surrounded by such immense poverty, I felt helpless.I spent one month volunteering at a homeless shelter for kids with the Canossian Daughters of Charity in Tanzania. At the time I had no desire of becoming a Sister. I was very committed to my career as a sportswoman.
I knew that I radically loved Jesus and wanted to give my life completely to serving His people. Back in Australia, I dreamt of returning to Africa one day. Through the grace of God, that has become His dream for me.
I began the journey of Religious life in 2001 as a postulant with the Canossian Daughters of Charity. I made my first profession in 2005. I am still a temporarily professed sister. From 2004-2008 I worked as a teacher at St James’ College, a Christian Brothers School in Brisbane.
In 2008, I left Australia to travel to Italy for three months of missionary formation. From Italy, I was sent to Africa to serve as a missionary sister in 2009.