Two of her sisters became religious, one a Sister of St. Joseph of Nazareth and the other an SMSM sister. Her youngest brother was a Marist priest, Father Joseph Cahill, SM.
On the 11 September, 1939 Patricia entered the Sisters of Compassion, at Island Bay at the age of 26. On the 19 March, 1940 she received the habit with her religious name Sister Mary Casimir. Sister made her First Profession two years later on the same date.
Shortly afterwards Sister Casimir was transferred to Ranana on the Whanganui River, but painful knee trouble brought her back to Island Bay for treatment during the first half of 1943. Eventually, though not cured, Sister was able to return to the Mission, where she stayed until 1947 then returning to Island Bay. Sister’s knee continued to trouble her from time to time until August, 1949 when Dr. Kennedy Elliott diagnosed a slipped cartilage and operated on it.
During November, 1949, Sister Casimir left by the Dominion Monarch for Fremantle, to work at the Castledare Boys’ Home, Cannington, Perth, Western Australia. She was one of the four Sisters who worked there for two years. When they were replaced by the Hungarian Sisters who were refugees from China, Sister Casimir returned to New Zealand. Over the next decade she worked in Carterton, Timaru and Buckle Street, but in 1964 returned to Island Bay, where she took charge of the Home Kitchen. Many of the Sisters trained under her, but she took Angelica, her special helper under her wing.
By this time Sister Casimir was fifty years old, and during most of the next twenty years she ran the kitchen. Today a kitchen the size of the Home Kitchen would have had a kitchen manager, two cooks at least, and the services of a dietician. This was no ordinary kitchen. Meals had to be prepared for about twenty babies from a few weeks old to the age of two. Appetising meals also had to be prepared for about fifty to sixty children from the ages of two years old to school leavers. Meals for thirty-five elderly women, and then the hospital, if full, another forty people had to be catered for. The Fathers’ breakfast of bacon and eggs or what was requested, required the cook to leave quickly at the end of Mass. Then there were frequent visitors to the parlour who would be given a meal! On Profession days, there would also be morning tea, dinner and afternoon tea to be catered for.
Apart from her job as cook, Sister Casimir was expected to pray all her religious exercises. It is not hard to imagine the stress that Sister lived under for many years. The miracle of it all is that Sister Casimir is remembered for her kindness, her sense of humour and her lovely smile. She was always obliging when asked to do something extra. In Sister’s later years ‘on the door’ to use the in-house jargon, Sister Casmir made a wonderful reception person. Sister continued to help with this duty in Wanganui long after she went into Rest Home care.
Sister had periods of ill health over the years; but she was a most uncomplaining patient. In her last years in the rest home she had an apostolate to other residents and staff. Sister Casimir was an extraordinary ordinary woman. She lived her purgatory on earth, and no doubt was surprised with the greatness of her eternal reward.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
17.03.1913 11.09.1939 19.03.1942 18.09.2002 Wanganui Aramoho Cemetery