Times were not easy for any Irish family in the early part of the century, and the McKiernans, who were farmers, worked hard to support their family. In the early 1920s they immigrated to New Zealand and settled in Auckland. Mr. McKiernan was in poor health and it fell to Margaret Mary to assist her mother in caring for the family. Very early in her life she became a committed and hard worker, an attribute that never left her.
In 1934 at the age of 22 Margaret Mary entered the Home of Compassion, Island Bay. She received her religious name Sister Mary Anthony at the beginning of her Novitiate on 15 September, 1934. Sister Anthony made her First Profession on 15 September, 1936.
Early in her professed life Sister Anthony was transferred to Auckland where she spent three years before going to Jerusalem. In 1948 she returned to Island Bay. Thereafter most of our Homes in New Zealand were home to Sister Anthony – Silverstream, Timaru, Carterton briefly and Auckland again before returning to Island Bay where she spent the remaining years of her life.
Sister Anthony was never patient with herself in infirmity and did her level best to ignore poor health once it became part of her life. She even did her best to ignore a bone that had broken. In 1981 Sister returned to Island Bay, where she kept the infirmary garden looking beautiful. She also helped in the laundry and dining room when she could. When the rebuilding of the new hospital started she went to Timaru, where she was able to potter about in the garden – an occupation she really loved. On her return in October, 1989, she became a permanent resident in the St. Anne’s Wing of the hospital section at Island Bay. Because of her busy background, she found the confined space trying, but would help with the cutting of stamps or any odd jobs she was given.
Sister was always interested in the other Sisters, and liked to hear from the ones from other Houses where she had once lived. On Saturday morning, 22 October, 1994, Sister died very peacefully in the presence of her sister, Sheila and a number of Sisters of Compassion.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
27.12.1912 05.01.1934 15.09.1936 22.10.1994 Island Bay Karori