Alice McQuilkin was born at Hauhau, on the West Coast of New Zealand, on 8 August, 1876. Her parents were John and Mary McQuilkin (nee Sweeny). Alice entered the Sisters of Compassion on Ascension Thursday, May, 1892. The McQuilkins were well-known to Mother Aubert as their eldest daughter, Sister Prisca, had already entered the nascent Congregation.
Alice had come from the Coast by boat to meet Mother Aubert to go with her to Jerusalem. Mother Aubert, however, was in Wellington on business. As there was some delay, Alice stayed with friends for a few weeks before travelling to Wanganui where there was further waiting due to alterations of the new River Steamer, the Wairere. Meanwhile Alice was getting practice in her new work for they had with them an eighteen months old baby boy who was going up to Jerusalem with them.
Finally, on 23 April, 1893, Alice received from His Grace, Archbishop Redwood, the habit of the newly formed Congregation of the Sisters of Compassion, with her Religious name Sister Mary Dolores. This was the same day Archbishop Redwood blessed and opened the newly built St. Joseph’s Church. Sister was professed as a Sister of Compassion on 24 June, 1894.
It is not known when Sister Dolores went to Buckle Street but she was there for some years prior to 1914 before being transferred back to the Wanganui River where she lived until the end of 1916. Sister Dolores then returned Buckle Street where she remained until 1927. Owing to prolonged ill-health she was brought to the Mother House at Island Bay for treatment. On her recovery she returned to Buckle Street for a further four years before being transferred to the new St. Vincent’s Home, Auckland, in 1933, where she remained until 1936, returning once more to Island Bay.
In 1939, Sister was responsible for collecting in the Auckland Diocese. This necessitated a lot of travelling between Auckland and Wellington and Sister always took one of the junior Sisters as a companion while they did the rounds of different Parishes. Many stories were told about their experiences.
In 1945, Sister Dolores was once more at Island Bay. This time she was in charge of the
Kindergarten children, and used to collect them from the Children’s Section each day. There was a special ‘Kindy’ room for them at the School. Unfortunately ill-health was once more wearing her out, and in January, 1955, Sister Dolores was admitted to the Infirmary for rest and care. She remained there as a permanent patient. This did not stop her from attending Mass each day. Sister Dolores was 87 when she died, on 19 December, 1963.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
08.08.1876 May, 1892 24.06.1894 19.012.1963 Island Bay Karori Cemetery