From her Irish inheritance Mary Anne was musically gifted and skilled with playing the piano and she had a beautiful soprano voice. These entertainment skills were greatly appreciated and frequently demonstrated within community living. Her three brothers were totally involved in sport, and Sister supported and shared in with their great enthusiasm for rugby. Her loyalty to the Blenheim Rugby Club and the All Blacks Team never wavered. She willingly passed on to others her knowledge of the finer points of the game or players.
Mary was 24 when she entered the Sisters of Compassion in August, 1949. Seven months later at her Reception she received her religious name of Aquinas. After a period of two years in the Noviciate Sister was professed and was appointed to the newly formed community living at St Vianney’s Home, Timaru.
After returning to Island Bay for her Final Profession, Aquinas commenced her State Nursing training in the Home of Compassion Hospital. Throughout her active years of ministry, Sister had appointments of varying lengths in other Compassion Homes taking on responsibilities such as Community Leader or Bursar. She spent time at St Anne’s in Broken Hill, Jerusalem, Chanel Home in Suva, Aubert Home in Wanganui and St Joseph’s Home in Heretaunga.
Each appointment brought many challenges especially when in Fiji, a missionary environment. As Bursar and managing the finances she learnt to rely heavily on Divine Providence to provide the necessaries for the care and well-being of the residents and Sisters.
During a visit to Fiji Sister sustained an injury resulting in a fractured hip. From that time her health began to decline; nevertheless she maintained her interests in reading, sports and family. Following the celebrations of her Golden Jubilee, Sister joined the newly formed Marian Court community where she enjoyed her retirement. She opted to help with reception duties in St Joseph’s Home and became even better known for her empathic and gracious voice. Health problems and difficulties required Sister to accept full time nursing care in St Joseph’s Home. There she died peacefully without fuss, gently giving herself to the Lord she love and served so faithfully as a loyal and faithful Sister of Compassion.
Birth Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
01.04.1924 15.08.1949 19.03.1952 23.09.2011 Heretaunga Karori