‘Often I have told the good Lord that, since he has given me a mother’s heart and sons who merit my love under so many titles, God must allow me to love them immeasurably.’
St Eugene de Mazenod, 1857
When Fr Tom Shortall OMI first envisaged the mission which was to become Rosies, little did he know that the Wynnum girl who sold raffle tickets to raise money for Iona College and did makeup for the school’s Passion Play would become an intrinsic part of Rosies’ history.
Although Sandra went to school at Mt Carmel Convent at Wynnum, her connection with Iona College and the Oblates of Mary Immaculate was deep and enduring.
Two of her younger brothers attended Iona from its opening in 1958, and her own children continued the tradition with Sandra’s eldest son enrolling in 1974 – the same year Fr Tom Shortall OMI founded the first Rosies outreach in Victoria.
As an adult, Sandra volunteered her time at Iona in Religious Education classes, college camps, student liturgies, and wrote and compiled a formal Religious Education program. Eventually she became the College’s Religious Education coordinator and later Dean of Faith.
When the Oblates first considered an outreach to school leavers on the Gold Coast, it was to Sandra they came for counsel; and in 1987 – the year her youngest son finished school at Iona – Sandra was present with young school leavers in Surfers Paradise as part of Rosies’ inaugural Schoolies Week outreach team.
Sandra went on to coordinate and train Rosies volunteers; and every year, she and Fr Peter Daly OMI would spend two weeks leading the full time team at Dhalanbah. When it came time to build a second branch in Brisbane, she opened her home to Rosies and team meetings were held at the Hazel house.
In recognition of her dedication to the Oblate charism and her pursuit of social justice, Sandra was invested as an Honorary Oblate in 2012 by Fr Harry Dyer OMI on behalf of the Superior General, Fr Louis Lougen OMI.
An Oblate cross, which had previously belonged to Fr Tom Shortall OMI, was bestowed on Sandra, entrusting a precious part of Rosies’ history to her hands.
‘St Eugene talked about having “a heart as big as the world”,’ said Troy Bailey, Rosies Chief Executive Officer.
‘He saw our Oblate community, and the Church as a whole, like a mother who watches over us with love and tenderness.
‘As the mother of Paul, Dan, Cathy, Jim and Rob, and as the mother of our Rosies family here in Queensland, Sandra embodied the Oblate spirit in a very tangible way. Her heart was as big as the Founder’s, and we cannot begin to measure her contribution to Rosies.’
‘She raises her children who have fallen. She strengthens then when they are weak. She enlightens them in their doubts.’
St Eugene de Mazenod, 1846
Sandra Hazel passed away on November 10, 2014.
Rosies would like to extend condolences to her husband Col and their children.
If you would like to make a donation to Rosies on Sandra’s behalf, click here to access our secure online donation portal – and please leave us a message at Question 3 to let us know your wishes.