With the early death of her father, Kathleen took on the additional responsibility of assisting her mother with the caring of her brothers. Kathleen supported the family financially by curtailing her own education by leaving school at an early age to work for several years until the marriage of her oldest brother, Fred.
Eventually Kathleen responded to her call to Religious life and entered the Sisters of Compassion at the age of 24. At her Reception into the Noviciate, she received the name of Eugene. Two years later she made her Religious Profession in the Chapel of the Island Bay Home.
Sister Eugene’s first appointment was to St Vianney’s Home, Timaru, then following her Final Profession in 1958, Sister joined the St Anne’s community in Broken Hill where she adapted to the climatic conditions and lifestyle of the busy mining township. Her bright personality and generous spirit plus her practical skills of cooking endeared her to the children and elderly of St Anne’s Home. Later on, at her appointments at St Raphael’s Home for the handicapped children and at St Joseph’s Home for frail and aged persons, she readily applied her gifts of gentleness and friendship according to her various duties.
Sister Eugene was artistic and generous with her talent: the sketches she did, the dolls she dressed in the kilt or other ethnic garb for Garden Fetes, and the Christmas cards, all compiled as a result of her own work or often with the involvement of the Residents – a ribbon tied on here, a card folded in half there, whatever the residents could manage they entered into the spirit of it. They derived satisfaction, they were making a contribution. The glitter, the pressed flowers and the message, the verse, the spiritual bouquet were simple but effective. She cared!
Sister kept in close contact with her three brothers and was proud of her nieces and nephews and their accomplishments.
Prior to joining the Community in Wanganui, Eugene chose to return to her baptismal name of Kathleen like so many of the other Sisters. Throughout her life she devoted herself whole-heartedly and generously to whatever the Congregation might ask her to do. She was asked to serve in three major categories: the care of the handicapped, the care of the disadvantaged, and the care of the elderly. In all these areas her hallmark was a special gift of compassion and caring. She was kind, considerate, thoughtful and gentle. Those under her care always came first.
A sudden surgical illness and admission into the Wanganui Hospital was a concern for her family. Procedures and treatments proved ineffective and Sister Kathleen accepted her final call for the Lord whom she loved and served so faithfully. Surrounded by family and Sisters, Kathleen died peacefully in Hospital. Known for her compassionate attention, kindness and thoughtfulness both within Community and at the bedside of the sick, Sister Kathleen dedicated her life as a faithful Sister of Compassion.
Birth Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
15.05.1928 01.03.1952 15.09.1954 11.07.1991 Wanganui Karori Cemetery