Their father died at an early age and the associated hardships of the depression years and World War I saw Ellen finishing her education at the end of Primary School in order to assist her mother with the younger siblings.
Ellen had several employment opportunities which eventually took her to Temuka. While there, she obtained her driver’s licence and became the first Sister of Compassion to have a licence prior to entering the Convent. While working in Dunedin, Ellen read by chance an article in the Zealandia about the Sisters of Compassion and their work for disadvantaged and handicapped children. Pat Lawlor’s biography of Suzanne Aubert also impacted on Ellen’s decision to enter the Sisters of Compassion.
At reception into the Noviciate, Ellen received Sister Mary Malachy as her Religious name. During the next 74 years, Sister Malachy accepted various appointments in communities in New Zealand and Australia. While caring for the children at St Anne’s Home in Broken Hill, she showed her ability to enter into their dream world of fun and games. The re-building of the nursing home, children’s home and accommodation for the Sisters were the major projects which Sister supervised and being actively involved in the fundraising campaigns.
Sister Malachy’s trust in Divine Providence never faltered. Her confidence was enthusiastic and energetic when she faced the new development of the Loreto Home in the Ashmont area of Wagga. People had confidence in her wisdom and good judgement so her decisions were greatly respected by the Sisters of Compassion and the local organisations.
Sister Malachy often shared holidays with her family and in more recent times has kept in close contact with nieces and nephews. She would recall events through family photos and letters. In Community, Sister Malachy participated in the recreational activities and was especially skilled at playing cards. Being an avid reader, she often shared books and encouraged Sisters to do the same. Her small diaries with recordings of birthdays, feast-days and other events indicated how people were important to her. Her increasing health problems necessitated admission to St. Joseph’s Home where for 10 years she faced the challenges of this lifestyle with fortitude and resignation. A devoted follower of Suzanne Aubert with a heart full of compassion, wisdom and vision, Sister Malachy died peacefully and with dignity on 28 June, 2013.
Birth Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
16.05.1919 01.02.1939 15.09.1941 28.06.2013 Silverstream Karori Cemetery