by Sr CARMEL COLE
On Sunday, November 1, Sisters Linley Trower and Muriel Kivell celebrated 60 years of profession as Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions.
Many sisters gathered from across the country to celebrate with the people of the Napier parish at St Mary’s church in Taradale. It was very fitting to celebrate in the parish where Sisters Muriel and Linley are faithful parishioners.
Sister Muriel was professed as a Sister of Our Lady of the Missions in Christchurch on August 15,1960, and from then onwards she was known as Sister Mary Benedict for a number years.
She taught in primary schools in Hamilton and Ellerslie and then moved into teaching at secondary level at Sacred Heart Colleges in Hamilton and in New Plymouth where she was the deputy principal. During these years of teaching she gained her Teachers Certificate, a Diploma in Teaching and a BA Degree in Mathematics and Science.
During the 1980s, Muriel was a member of the Sisters’ Leadership Team and she gave remarkable assistance to the Mission colleges as they tackled the requirements of integration and the need to be vested in Trust Boards.
In 1998, she was appointed as the episcopal vicar for schools in Palmerston North diocese and was responsible for primary and secondary schools until 2006. During this period, she was awarded a papal Benerementi Medal in 2004 for her dedication and contribution to Catholic education in Palmerston North diocese. Then two years later her contribution and commitment to Catholic Schools and Education in New Zealand was acknowledged with her reception of the Laureate Award from the Catholic Education Office. An Award presented to a – “Distinguished Contributor to Catholic Education”.
In 2008 she was asked to go to Rome and take on the role as General Bursar for the sisters’ congregation. At the end of her six-year term in Rome, Sr Muriel returned to live in Greenmeadows, and went back into the classroom to teach her favourite subject – Maths. She has also become involved in the parish RCIA programme – preparing adults for baptism.
Sister Linley was professed on the same day as Sr Muriel, and she was given the name Sister Mary Gilbert.
Over the span of 23 years, she taught in many classrooms: schools in Christchurch, Ashburton, Petone, Napier, Kaikoura, Lower Hutt and New Brighton. She was a teaching principal for 17 of these years.
In the 1980s, Sr Linley moved into pastoral work in some of the more remote places in the country; Motueka, Kaikoura and Rangiora. It was Kaikoura where she spent the longest period of time, 11 years, serving the people in whatever way was needed. Kaikoura captured her heart and she loved the people of the close-knit community and the beautiful scenery.
In 2004, Sr Linley moved to live at Saint Joseph’s Maori Girls‘ College, Greenmeadows, and had become a familiar figure in the parish, and indeed the community of Taradale. She is renowned for the delicate tapestries which she works so meticulously.
The Mass at Napier was followed by a morning tea in the parish centre, where everyone gathered to offer thanks to Sisters Linley and Muriel for their 120 years of service to the Church.