What a memorable year it's been for Sister Florence Kinsela of Parkes, who turned 100 on August 28 this year.
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One-hundredth birthdays don't happen too often and for two months the Sister of Mercy became a mini celebrity - five special celebrations were organised in her honour, and most would think at that age it'd be a little exhausting, but Sister Florence loved every minute of it.
With a luncheon with her Parkes Day VIEW Club friends on August 1, she enjoyed another gathering with neighbours at the Southern Cross Care units a week later, the Mercy Sisters put on a celebratory lunch at the Parkes Services Club on August 26, her younger sister Frances Charlton took her out on her actual birthday on August 28 and a family celebration involving 120 guests took place at the Parkes Bowling and Sports Club on September 3.
With this year also marking her 80th year as a Mercy Sister, a jubilee celebration and mass was organised on September 24 at the Holy Family Catholic Church.
Her luncheon with the Mercy Sisters was particularly special, which saw fellow nuns travel from across the Wilcannia-Forbes diocese.
Unknown to Sister Florence, Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green marched her in to the room as he played the bagpipes and sisters Christina Atkin from Lithgow and Jenny Rolls from Forbes blew bubbles around her as she circled the room.
Her sister Frances was present as was Father Barry Dwyer OAM.
At her family birthday celebration, the stage was filled with bouquets of flowers and almost a dozen cards and letters from Pope Francis, King Charles III, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the Governor General David Hurley, NSW Premier Chris Minns, the Deputy Leader of the Nationals Perin Davey, Member for Riverina Michael McCormack, Member for Orange Phil Donato, then Mayor Ken Keith OAM, and even from the Speaker of the NSW Legislative Assembly Greg Piper.
Sister Florence also received a giant birthday card signed from members of the Wilcannia community, where she lived for 15 years.
There was also lots of photos, stories, letters, awards and newspaper articles on Sister Florence and the life she's lived hanging on the walls for all to read and look at.
It was quite the family reunion with many relatives not having seen each other for some 40 years.
Sister Florence is the fourth child of eight to parents Jack and Evy Kinsela who owned a small farm just outside of Parkes in Kinsela Lane called Spring Vale.
There are only three surviving siblings left - Sister Florence, Irene who is 98 and living at Southern Cross Village and Frances.
Their first cousins from Sydney Julie Gould and Glenys Johnson, who are the daughters of Edmund Kinsela - Jack's (Sister Florence's father) twin brother, attended the family celebration.
They have only been in one another's company a couple of times.
There was plenty of food to go around and following the cake cutting were some speeches.
Sister Florence's nephew asked her 'what she wanted to do with the rest of her life', to which she replied, "what I'm doing now until I'm not able to do it".
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