May, as she was always known, commenced her schooling in Dublin and often talked of those years, but once in Whanganui she attended St. Mary’s Convent School, run by the Sisters of St. Joseph. Her young life was nurtured in a family with strong Catholic faith, values and ideals, and throughout her life these same values were apparent in her commitment and fidelity as a Sister of Compassion.
May entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Compassion as a Postulant on 5 January, 1934, and received the habit and the name of Sister Mary Alexis on 15 September, 1934. She was professed two years later.
In 1939 Sister Alexis began her nursing training and although she passed her hospital examination successfully, she failed to secure a pass in the final State Examination. Geriatric Nursing and Administration were the two areas of the Apostolate which filled much of her active years. She was a kind, attentive and meticulous Nurse, all the little things that made such a difference to the comfort of an elderly person. Some of her happiest years were 1946-49 when she was at Mosgiel assisting in the care of the seminarians at Holy Cross Seminary.
God was good to Alexis in that her last days were peaceful and quite brief, so she was spared a long period of incapacity following her stroke. She died peacefully at St. Joseph’s Home in the early hours of Friday, 13 October, 2000, having had a severe stroke about ten days before. Her Vigil took place in the Chapel at St. Joseph’s, Heretaunga, with many of her friends and relations together with people connected with the Home and the Sisters. On Monday, 16 October, at her Requiem Mass in the Chapel, Island Bay, her brother Michael gave a brief Eulogy and Sister Rita delivered the Panegyric. Family members said the Prayers of the Faithful and also took up the Gifts at the Offertory.
A large number of family friends and Sisters attended at the graveside at Karori to farewell Alexis, and Father W. Leeming, S.M. said the final prayers. As we said our farewell to Sister, we thanked God for her life of fidelity and gentleness, her kind concern for every Sister and everyone she was in contact with. She was a living example of a faithful Sister of Compassion. May she rest in peace.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
31.05.1913 05.01.1934 15.09.1936 13.10.2000 Heretaunga Karori Cemetery