by Sr Carmel Cole RNDM
Four Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions celebrated a total of 255 years of mission service to the people of New Zealand and beyond on January 6.
In four different celebrations around New Zealand, sisters, friends and families gathered with the sisters to celebrate.
Sr Marcella taught for 38 years in New Zealand. Many of those years were in Taranaki and, in particular, St Joseph’s, Waitara, where she was greatly loved and is still fondly remembered.
The years in Waitara were followed by nine years in parish work there. Sister was also missioned to Western Samoa, where she helped young men learn farming skills.
Sr Ellen Mahoney celebrated 70 years of religious profession with 9am Mass at St Patrick’s Church, Napier. In the afternoon, about 30 sisters, friends and associates gathered at the Leeds Place community for prayer and afternoon tea. Stories were told amid much fun and laughter.
Sr Ellen spent 15 years as a primary school teacher in Christchurch, with one year at St Mary’s School, Napier. Past pupils have affectionate memories of their time in her classes. In 1960, she became novice mistress for the RNDM novitiate in Christchurch and held that position for 13 years. Ten years of community leadership in Christchurch and Lower Hutt communities followed.
Sr Ellen moved to Napier in 1984, where she has been involved in many community groups. She now lives at Greendale Residential Care in Greenmeadows.
Sr Bernadette Fletcher celebrated 60 years of profession in Pukekohe with a celebration in the Pukekohe Church of St Patrick with about 40 sisters, family, friends, past sisters and pupils and parishioners — more than 150 in all.
Fr Brian Fletcher (her brother) was the main celebrant.
Sr Bernadette taught in 13 different schools over 36 years, 15 of those years as a principal. She spent three years in Samoa teaching at St Theresa’s, Fusi.
In the 90s she was in parish ministry in Ellerslie, where she worked for 10 years. Sr Bernadette now lives in Pukekohe, where she is a much loved member of the parish community.
Sr Clare Murphy celebrated 50 years of profession in Woolston, Christchurch.
Sisters, friends and parishioners gathered for the 10.30am parish Mass. Fr Dan Doyle was the main celebrant in the packed Anglican hall, which the parish has been using since
the earthquake. This was followed by lunch in the parish hall.
Sr Clare taught primary school in Christchurch for three years. After study she took up the role of novice mistress for the New Zealand province, a position she held for 11 years.
She has been involved in international formation programmes in the congregation
and was on mission in the Philippines for 11 years. She also held the position of province leader in New Zealand for six years.
Sr Clare is a skilled spiritual director. In 2013 she returned to New Zealand and is now living and ministering in the parish of Ferrymead,
— Sr Carmel Cole is RNDM Province Leader in Aotearoa-New Zealand and Samoa.