They were a close knit family, sharing the joys and hardships of the Depression and War years with stoicism. These challenges formed a solid foundation for the family’s deep and lasting relationships which extended into future generations of the Pender families.

Jessie’s father was a Veterinary Surgeon and she inherited a great affection for animals. After leaving school and prior to entering the Daughters of Our Lady of Compassion Jessie had a variety of employment, including shop assistant, housekeeper and nurse assistant, the latter at the Calvary Hospital, Christchurch.

After a period of prayer and discernment, Jessie who was now 27, decided to enter the Sisters of Compassion. By then her family were living in Christchurch. At Reception into the Noviciate with six other companions she received Ambrose as her religious name. Following Profession in 1943 Sister Ambrose spent two years in ministry at the Island Bay Home, before being assigned to the community who were engaged at the National Holy Cross Seminary in Mosgiel. From here she was transferred to other ministries in Broken Hill, before returning to Timaru in 1966. Sister’s generous and willing nature took on new challenges and looked for opportunities to minister to the sick and the dying. In 1990 Sister was admitted to the Dunedin Hospital for Cardiac Surgery. Following her recovery she returned to St Vianney’s Home where she remained until her death in 1999.

Her links with the Mercy Sisters came through her musical interests as Sister Ambrose was a talented though modest violin player. She was a great supporter of young NZ Sport achievers, cricket, rugby and netball teams. Major events such as Olympic and Commonwealth Games gave her many hours of enjoyment.

A life of dedication and commitment as a Sister of Compassion are the memories we have of Sister Ambrose. We give thanks to God for her vocation and fidelity in spreading the mission of compassion to Christ’s poor and disadvantaged persons.

May the Lord grant her life eternal. R.I.P.




































Born                   Entered            Professed             Died            Place of Death       Place of Burial

18.04.1913     07.09.1940        19.03.1943        12.06.1999         Timaru              Timaru Cemetry