Before entering the Sisters of Compassion in 1927 Eily worked at the Post Office in Christchurch, and this, together with her father’s training would have added to her precision and thoroughness in performing her duties as a nurse, and in forming the many novices who entered during the years of World War II.
Eily began her Noviciate on the 23 January, 1928 and was given her religious name Sister Mary Cleophas. In 1934 she obtained her State Registration as a General Nurse, and in 1937 was transferred to Silverstream where she stayed until 1939, being recalled to Island Bay to take the position of Novice Mistress. It was as Novice Mistress that she is greatly remembered and her influence was probably greatest for she worked with large groups – up to 40 Sisters passed through the Novitiate during the time she was in charge between the years 1939 – 1948.
In 1951 Sister Cleophas was appointed Sister in Charge of the Aubert Home, Wanganui, where she remained until elected to the Leadership Team at the 1957 General Chapter.
In 1963 she was once more stationed in Wanganui, and from there she went to Buckle Street, then out to Silverstream where she remained until 1987.
In November, 1987, Sister Cleophas had a fall and broke her leg. She was admitted to the Hutt Hospital where she stayed for surgery. Instead of returning to the Silverstream Community she was transferred to the Hospital Section at Island Bay, where a year later she took up permanent residence in the newly opened Long Term Wing.
Her popularity with the nursing staff was well known. Everyone agreed that they had never heard her utter a word of criticism or raise her voice in anger. She was devoted to the Eucharist and spent time in the prayer-room each day, joining in the prayers with fervour. At night she would not settle down without her rosary beads and her handkerchief.
Shortly before Sister died a novice was at her bed side and Sister Cleophas asked her who she was. On being told she was a novice Sister replied “That is good news. Sister’s next question was “Are you going to be a Nun”? The reply was ‘Yes”. Sister replied “That is better news, and what Kind?” The Novices reply was “I want to be a Sister of Compassion”. Sister Cleophas replied “That is the best news of all”. Sister died peacefully on the 15 September, 1992.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
15.04.1895 21.07.1927 23.01.1930 15.09.1992 Island Bay Karori Cemetery