Until the early 1980s, Sr Rosetta continued as Superior in the convent in Cappoquin and did nothing to address the issue of Sr Callida’s behaviour, other than, in the late 1970s, to appoint a fellow Sister, Sr Melita,17 as a ‘companion’ to encourage her to interact more fully with the Community in the convent. Unfortunately, Sr Melita’s ability to alert her superiors as to the seriousness of Sr Callida’s mismanagement of Group Home A was compromised when they developed a close intimate relationship. Sr Melita remained in Cappoquin until the mid-1980s, when she was transferred.
Sr Viola appointed Sr Serena as Superior to the convent in Cappoquin, and gave her instructions to keep an eye on Sr Callida and report back on her behaviour. At the same time, Sr Callida’s previous confidante, Sr Melita, was transferred from Cappoquin and appointed as Superior in another school. This was regarded by Sr Callida as a great loss, both to her personally and to the group home, and she and a number of the children rang Sr Viola to express their dismay at Sr Melita’s departure.
At first, Sr Serena felt she was resented by the children and by Sr Callida, who were still feeling the loss of Sr Melita. By degrees, however, she built a close relationship with Sr Callida: Yeah, the friendship between us developed. Yes, it took almost a year, I think, before – well, it took her a long time to warm to me, as well, because I think Sr Melita was a good friend of hers and I felt Callida probably missed her a lot. And it would have taken Callida a long time to get to know me as well. So, it didn’t happen overnight, it was a process over really the first year, I think. The first year.
The Congregation submits that discreet steps were taken in response to concerns expressed by members of the Community and by people outside. One sister was asked to be a companion to Sr Callida in the hope that she would be a good influence because she did not drink. However, that did not happen. Instead, as the Congregation submission put it, the two nuns: developed a relationship with each other. This may have had an impact on [Sr Melita’s] capacity to observe [Sr Callida’s] behaviour in an objective manner. It was one of several unusual aspects to the Cappoquin story involving [Sr Callida] as to the manner in which (informal) human arrangements for monitoring her ran into the sand. In the event, [Sr Melita] did not transmit any concerns about [Sr Callida] to anyone in leadership. The submission refers to another nun, Sr Serena, who was ‘specifically asked to report to the diocesan leadership about whether or not there was any substance to the rumours about ‘Sr Callida’s drinking’. The Diocesan Leader was reassured that there was not but the submission admits that the system for monitoring Sr Callida failed ‘for unusual and unexpected reasons.’ This unusual matter was the development of a relationship between [Sr Callida] and [Sr Serena], which compromised [Sr Serena] and prevented the reporting system devised by [Sr Viola] from working effectively. The result was that no information of a drink problem or of any other problems reached the ears of the leadership from internal congregation sources.