Her sister Mabel, became a Sister of Mercy and was known as Sister Martha. Those times would have been hard for the Coghlan family. Anyone bringing up a large family during the depression years would have had a real struggle, so none of the family would have been strangers to frugal times and hard work. Eileen worked as a Housekeeper for some years before entering the Sisters of Compassion, and was also very active in the local Parish. In fact in a letter recommending Eileen to Religious Life, Father J Butler said, ‘he did not know how the Parish was going to cope without her, because of the time she put into the cleaning of the Church and all the work she did around the Sacristy looking after the vestments and sacred Vessels.’
Eileen entered the Sisters of Compassion in August, 1941, when World War II was going through some of its darkest days. She commenced her Postulancy as one of a group of five. Sisters Fidelis, Joan, Estelle and Joachim, and they were all received into the Novitiate in March, 1942. Eileen was given her religious name Sister Mary Carmella. Sister Carmella was professed in September, 1944 along with her other companions. After their profession, they were quickly put into the General Nursing class, and in June, 1949 Sister Camella gained her State Registration. During her active years in the Apostolate she worked in all the New Zealand Homes, except Auckland.
Sister Carmella was a splendid cook, in fact she had a passion for food and cooking, and certainly many of our communities benefited from her skill and expertise in the culinary line. A number of her recipes were special to her and she guarded them well!! It must have been so hard for her when she was afflicted with diabetes and her choices re-food was greatly restricted. At least that was the theory! Sister’s family were very generous and hospitable especially towards the Sisters of Compassion.
Sister was very happy to return once again to Timaru in 1984. Timaru was closer to some of her family, and certainly closer to the Coast than any other of her North Island appointments. Sister Carmella still had two sisters living in Reefton, and thoroughly enjoyed the holiday she spent with them in 1986. All can feel happy for Sister Carmella that she did spend her last years in Timaru. It was there that she celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 1994, and it was a very happy occasion for many of her family who were present. Sister died peacefully after a long illness and was buried from St. Vianney’s Home, Timaru.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
16.07.1917 23.08.1941 15.09.1944 16.09.2001 Timaru Timaru Cemetery