by Sr CARMEL COLE, RNDM
On August 15, which is a traditional jubilee date for the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions, Sister Rita Snelgar celebrated her diamond jubilee of 70 years of profession. The occasion was at St Joseph’s church in Dannevirke. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the Dannevirke community was determined to celebrate Sister Rita’s jubilee in grand style. Father Vince Onesi was the main celebrant, and he was joined by Father Michael McVerry, SM. It was a joyous celebration, recounting the faithful service of Sister Rita for 70 years.
She was professed in Christchurch in 1950, and began her teaching years in primary schools in Hamilton, Morrinsville, Panmure, New Plymouth, and was principal in Huntly, Melville and Hamilton. In the 1960s, she moved into teaching secondary students at Sacred Heart Colleges in Hamilton and New Plymouth. Apart from teaching, Sister Rita has also been involved in many other areas of pastoral care: for example, teaching at Mt Eden Prison, and parish work in Turangi, which brought her to Dannevirke 19 years ago. She has touched the lives of many people, wherever she has lived and, in return, she has been loved and cared for by the people who have become part of her life.
Mission Sisters made the journey from Wellington in the south and Hamilton in the north to be with Sr Rita for the jubilee celebration.