While their home town was severely damaged in the major 1931 earthquake, the Walsh family escaped injuries although the district suffered considerable loss of life and structural damage.
In January, 1938, Dorothy entered the Sisters of Compassion Noviciate at Island Bay, Wellington, aged 21. She received her Religious name, Flora, at Reception. During her Novitiate, Flora had several episodes of ill health which only later was diagnosed as tuberculosis. Sister Flora together with three companions were Professed on 19 September, 1940, and eagerly set out on their long life of active ministry.
In spite of many periods of ill health, Sister Flora lived a very active and fulfilling life with a special attraction and ability in caring for the disadvantaged babies and children. Following a lengthy convalescence for ill-health, Sister Flora was assigned the duty of collecting donations from local shops and businesses. She made friends very easily with the benefactors who gave generous donations of fresh food for the children cared for by the Sisters. Her time caring for disabled children at St. Joseph’s Home of Compassion, was cut short in 1949 when she was transferred to Perth, Australia, with three other Sisters to care for children at the Castledare Boy’s Home in Cannington. The work was demanding, and long hours were spent attending to household duties, supervision, and general training of the boys who had many social, physical and psychological disorders. The Sisters worked long hours under difficult and primitive conditions which had detrimental effects on Sister Flora’s health and necessitated her return to New Zealand. In 1952, she joined the Community at Buckle Street. For the next 26 years, she managed the Crèche. Many of the children became her friends and she followed them with interest through their respective professional and working jobs. They and their parents remember her gentle manner, her kindness, and her understanding ways which left a lasting impression.
In 1984, Sister Flora joined the newly formed Community in Flaxmere and faced the challenging ministry of home visiting to the sick and elderly in the parish. Her words of wisdom and comfort were treasured and appreciated both in local community and at home with the Sisters. Sister Flora’s Religious life spanned the pre and post Vatican II era, which she handled and adapted to with serenity and dignity. She gave confidence to her contemporaries through her life of prayer and dedication as a Sister of Compassion ready to embrace and love Christ in the poor, the sick and the disadvantaged.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
21.05.1917 05.01.1938 15.09.1940 02.05.2003 Whanganui Karori Cemetery