Joan had two sisters, Margaret who pre-deceased her, and Clare who entered the Dominican Sisters. The Dominican sisters had a significant influence on the three daughters’ primary and secondary education which took place in Invercargill. Joan had a bubbly and energetic personality. She enjoyed life and participated in social events and activities prior to entering the Sister of Compassion in 1951. Entertainments, especially ballroom dancing, remained a major enjoyment during her life.
At Joan’s Reception ceremony into the Noviciate, she received the Religious name Sister Mary Cyprian. Later, after Vatican II, she chose to revert to her own baptismal name of Joan. Following her Profession, Joan was appointed as Assistant Teacher at St Pius X School. However her preferred option was nursing, and with three companions she completed her General Nursing Training in the Home of Compassion Hospital, graduating in 1960. Thereafter, Joan had a variety of appointments and responsibilities within the Homes of Compassion in New Zealand and in Australia.
Further challenges were ahead for Joan when she accepted the position of Catholic Chaplain at the Paremoremo Maximum Security Prison in Auckland. Sister was the first woman to be appointed to that position which she held for 10 years. Her extroverted personality and deep understanding of the trauma experienced by inmates and their families helped them through the healing process and recovery programs offered within the prison environment. Her big heartedness and empathy had no boundaries. All were seen as the suffering Christ and they in turn responded to her simple and honest love for all. For this dedicated service Joan was awarded the Queen’s Service Order.
The retirement years on Waiheke Island with her sister, Clare, were dedicated to the local community. There she celebrated her Golden Jubilee surrounded by numerous friends who paid tribute to her wonderful gifts of friendship and empathy. A deep sadness was felt on the Island when Joan, after a short illness, danced her way into the arms of Christ whom she served so faithfully during her rich and full life as a Sister of Compassion. Her Requiem Mass was held in St Benedict’s Church, Newton, where friends gathered to say their final thank you.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
09.10.1926 13.09.1951 19.03.1954 31.07.2006 Waiheke Island Panmure Cemetery