Between the two families of Weight and McManaway there were 43 religious in New Zealand. Three of Sister Francis’ sisters were Mercy Sisters, and Sister M. Thecla, RSM, sister of our late Sister Bertha Gibbs, was also a cousin of Kathleen.
As a young girl Sister used to visit the Home at Island Bay to help look after the children. She had a special rapport with the young teenage girls, and used to take them out on the weekends. Later, it was recalled that she retained this special ability to relate very well with young people, both at the Auckland Home, and in St. Anne’s, Broken Hill.
Kathleen entered the Sisters of Compassion on 21 November, 1929, three years after Mother Aubert’s death. Her aunt, Sister Columba had died the same year as Mother Aubert, so when Kathleen was received as a sister, she received the same religious name of her aunt, Sister Mary Columba.
Sister Columba loved to recall the story that when she was a baby she was taken to Buckle Street to visit her aunt. When Mother Aubert saw her, she declared: ‘I’m going to have her!’
In 1942 Sister Columba became a registered midwife. In 1949 she was transferred to St. Vincent’s Home in Auckland where she became Matron of our small hospital for unmarried mothers.
Sister’s spirit of generosity and fortitude were outstanding. She never spared herself, but gave of her very best, and expected those she was training to do the same. Nevertheless, her compassion and concern for others was paramount, and she gave unstintingly of her time and nursing skill.
In 1963 Sister was transferred to Broken Hill as Sister in Charge, and was there for six years. She worked untiringly to getting better living facilities for the Sisters. When the Sisters of Compassion started a new foundation at Wilcannia in Australia, Sister Columba did wonderful work in preparing the Convent and school for occupation. This was a marathon undertaking, as the two Sacred Heart Missionary Sisters who had previously conducted the Mission were forced to leave hurriedly on account of illness.
In 1975 Sister returned to Island Bay as local Treasurer, but her health, especially her arthritic condition, gradually curtailed her activities a great deal. After a fall in July, she was bed-ridden, and died very peacefully on the 2 August, 1981.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
28.10.1906 21.11.1929 24.05.1932 02.08.1981 Wellington Karori Cemetery