Richard Leonard SJ’s sister Tracey died on Saturday 18 March, aged 56. Richard , an Australian Jesuit, was a great friend of the Irish Province making many visits here over the years and giving talks and radio interviews around the country.
His sister Tracey was a nurse who had worked in India with Mother Theresa in Calcutta when she was in her twenties. When she returned to Australia she worked with the aboriginal people. While giving some of the women a lift home from a celebratory event she had a freak accident and was left quadriplegic in her late 20s. Her mother Joan looked after her at home for almost thirty years. One of Richard’s best selling books, Where the Hell is God?, arose, as the title suggests, out of the family’s devastation and their attempt to find meaning and God in the midst of it. Tracey wrote her own book, The Full Catastrophe, covering her experiences of nursing in India with Mother Teresa and at Wadeye with the aboriginal peoples. Both she and Richard have brought hope, comfort and inspiration to thousands of people around the world.
Tracey’s Requiem Mass will take place this Friday, 24th March, at St Thomas More’s Church, 71A Ramsay St, South Toowoomba, 11.30am. The wake will follow immediately after the Mass of Thanksgiving. The family have asked that in lieu of flowers people should make donations to the Jesuit Refugee Service in Australia. And Richard concludes, “No one would have wanted Tracey to go one extra day as a quadriplegic, but my mother, Peter and I, and the family, are still heartbroken at saying goodbye.”