She then worked at Trentham Military Hospital and Hanmer Sanatorium. Catherine entered the Sisters of Compassion on the 8 December 1926, aged 35, and received her religious name Sister Mary Annunciata, when she began her novitiate training on the 2 July, 1927. Sister was professed on the 2 July 1929.
From 1938-39 Sister Annunciata and Sister Perpetua Lavery obtained their midwifery certificate at St. Helen’s Maternity Hospital, Wellington. They were the first Sisters of Compassion to do midwifery training.
In 1939 Sister Annunciata was transferred to Auckland where she was appointed the first Matron of the Maternity Hospital at St. Vincent’s Home of Compassion. In March 1942, she was elected Sister in Charge of the Auckland Home and Sister Perpetua took over as matron of the hospital.
In 1948 Sister Annunciata was transfer to Island Bay as Sister in Charge of the Mother House. In 1953 sister lived and worked at St. Joseph’s Home of Compassion, Silverstream. From May, 1957 to February, 1958 she was in Charge at Buckle Street, then was appointed Sister in Charge of the newly formed Community at St. Raphael’s Home of Compassion, in Carterton. Sister later held positions of authority in our Homes in Wanganui and Timaru. It was at St. Joseph’s Relief Centre Buckle St, where Sister spent the last years of her life, until being admitted to our Hospital on 28 October, about two weeks before she died.
The sisters, who knew Sister Annunciata throughout her religious life, spoke of her prayer life. Until six months before her death, she insisted on joining the community for Morning Prayer in the Chapel. Sister always had an inquiring intellect, was an avid reader, interested in current affairs and right up until her last illness, was prepared to enter into ‘change’ as it affected the Church and the Sisters of Compassion.
Sister had a natural reserve coupled with a marked determination; but both these characteristics were tempered with a sense of humour and of justice.
Sister Annunciata died very peacefully on the morning of Friday 9 December, surrounded by Sisters of the Community and her own sister, Sister Mary, R.S.M. She was the first member of her family to die, and her brothers and sisters attended the funeral. Her nephew, Father Kevin Mears, S.M. sent a beautiful tribute from Apia, Samoa, where he was stationed.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
07.11.1892 08.12.1926 02.07.1929 09.12.1977 Island Bay Karori