For my first ten years in the order I worked in Compassion facilities in New Zealand, principally at Island Bay caring for babies and children, as well as doing duties in the geriatric section. Further children’s work followed in Australia at Broken Hill, and geriatric work at Wagga Wagga. Returning to New Zealand in 1963 I continued nursing in Compassion facilities in Timaru and Island Bay, as well as caring for unmarried mothers and babies in Auckland. In 1979 I relieved a chaplain for 3 months at Wellington Hospital. I subsequently did chaplaincy training, leading to a full time chaplaincy position at the Hutt Hospital for 14 years. I was often called to support parents with new born disabled babies. Because of our philosophy which calls us to respond to ‘Need, not Creed’, I was available to all. Out of this grew my concern for the needs of parents of still-born babies. In 1988, due to efforts by 3 mothers, a midwife, and myself, ‘Still-Born Support’ was established at the Hutt Hospital. This is now a nation wide organisation. Among services offered are help with providing caskets, support for parents, and educative initiatives in the health profession. In 1995 my chaplaincy time ended, but I continued to be involved with Still-Birth Support. I also work in ministry to the poor and disabled, including refugees and migrants, in the community. When required I am available to Wesley Community Care for transport of the frail elderly. In latter years I have developed an enthusiasm for conservation, and with the NZ Forest and Bird Society I regularly contribute my efforts to the re-forestation programme of Somes Island. In Island Bay there is always plenty of gardening to do at our own Home of Compassion. I also represent the congregation as a trustee with the neighbouring Tapu Te Ranga Marae.  Sister Loyola Galvin

In 2008 Sister Loyola Galvin was awarded the Gardener of the Year. 2013 Sister featured in the popular documentary ‘Gardening with Soul.’ There is a permanent portrait of her in the Wellington Portrait Gallery.


Sister Loyola’s story on video.