Sister entered at Buckle Street without going back to Australia to take leave of her family. She received the habit and her religious name of Sister Mary Alphonsus on 14 April, 1904.
The life of Sister M. Alphonsus was spent chiefly in the care of the incurables. Sister had the Men’s Wards in Buckle Street, and after the Extraordinary General Chapter of 1912, she was elected as the Assistant General, a position she held for thirty years; 14 years to Mother Aubert, and 16 years to her successor, Mother Cecilia Crombie.
In 1912, Sister was also appointed Local Superior of the Home for Incurables, at Buckle Street. During her term of office the Crèche was re-built, free of debt, and the Soup Kitchen was closed temporarily, and never re-opened in quite the old way or at the same place, though food (and soup, if asked for) continued to be distributed through the day in other premises.
In November, 1915, Sister Alphonsus was transferred to Island Bay where she became Local Superior for the Mother House. She remained there for the rest of her life. One of her sister’s daughters, Mary Elizabeth Lavery, who had been born the same year Sister Alphonsus entered the Sisters of Compassion at Buckle Street, decided to come to New Zealand and join the Sisters of Compassion. Mary received the name Sister Mary Perpetua and was professed in 1932.
In 1934 Sister Alphonsus became very ill, and as time went on her health deteriorated, although she was able to do light duties. She had a special gift for consoling the dying. She also had a tender maternal sympathy with all forms of suffering or distress, whether of mind or body, and was a universal confidant of her Sisters, and also of many others — priests as well as lay people.
Sister’s relations were by her side during her last hours on earth. She looked forward in hope of being with God, and she had no fear of death. She received Holy Communion for the last time on Monday, and died on Tuesday, 4 August, 1942.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
10.09.1875 1903 25.04.05 04.08.1942 Silverstream Karori Cemetery