She was the first Postulant to enter since Mother’s return from Rome, and was only sixteen years old! As a Postulant, Mother Aubert frequently took Alice with her when she went visiting in the city. Alice remembered picking fruit at Miss Emily Johnston’s home in Thorndon, while Mother chatted with her benefactor in the drawing room.
Alice Slattery’s Novitiate began on 11 June, 1921. Her Religious name was Sister Mary Elizabeth, and after her First Profession on 2 July, 1923, she began her studies for the State Examination in General Nursing. Sister was in one of the first classes to train in our Hospital where she gained her certificate in 1928.
Sister Elizabeth’s first appointment outside Island Bay was in July, 1931, to the newly formed Aubert Home, Wanganui. She was there until 1936, returning to Island Bay as Second in Charge. Three years later she was appointed Sister in Charge, a position she held for the next six years. During March, 1945, Sister was transferred to St. Joseph’s Home of Compassion at Silverstream as Sister in Charge.
During Sister’s days at Silverstream, while she was learning to drive the van, she saw the open spaces of the Trentham Military Camp and drove right through the sentry point. When a soldier appeared at the gate she swept past remarking “The silly fellow, I could have killed him!” And then she realized what she had done.
But it was as Novice Mistress that the Sisters grew to know and love her, for she was a woman of enormous love that spilled over into the whole Novitiate. Many of her Novices remember some of her sayings: “Charity is more important than silence.” “Keep on keeping on!” “Keep to the middle of the road.” “It’s good to be tired for the Lord.” These could have been rather outworn clichés, but they weren’t, for she lived and meant them.
It was to be with the Community at Aubert Home, Wanganui, that she spent the last year of her life. The Island Bay complex was in the process of being rebuilt, and it was felt that Sister would be completely lost, so it was fitting that she went back to Wanganui where she would still be among those who knew her.
Sister Elizabeth died very peacefully on 30 September, 1988. A great Sister of Compassion and a woman of great love.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
04.08.1904 12.11.1920 02.07.1923 30.09.1988 Wanganui Karori Cemetery