Connie was one of five children; three girls Gwen, Connie and Frances, and two boys, Harold and Charlie. In Connie’s early life, her father had a cartage business, and her earliest recollections were of horses on the family property. Not long after she started school her father bought a farm at Inglewood, near Mount Taranaki. Quite early she became involved in the life of the farm, milking, feeding cattle, pigs, ducks and hens, and collecting eggs.
In early adult life, Connie learnt dressmaking, and also qualified as a Volunteer Aid at the New Plymouth Hospital. In addition to working on the family farm Connie was also in demand as a housekeeper and she had different posts helping with the care of large families and at the same time giving assistance on the farms of her employers. Connie enjoyed dances and parties and sing-songs round the piano. Her mother and her sister, Gwen, had good voices as have many of the next generation.
In 1942, Connie felt called to Religious life, and in August, 1942, she entered the Sisters of Compassion at Island Bay, Wellington, and was Professed on 19 March 1945. Her Religious name was Sister Mary Martha. She was always grateful to her parents, Edward and Amy, the Mission Sisters and Father Maples for encouraging her in her pursuit of a vocation to the Religious life, most of which was spent at Island Bay or Silverstream. Sister was a very able cook, but most remember her looking after the poultry, a role she fulfilled from 1951 – 1967. Sister would have as many as 500 fowls and 100 ducks at any one time, so she was kept very busy.
Other strong interests were the garden and her Rosary bead making, as well as painting and crochet. Martha was interested in the garden right up to the very last. Her devotion to Our Lady and the Rosary were well known and she probably lost track of the number of pairs of rosaries she fashioned or mended in and out of season. She was still doing this during her years in care in the Rest Home at Island Bay.
Ill health was part of the cross Sister Martha had to bear for most of her Religious life. Mobility was a very big problem for her and in her later years the purchase of an electric wheel chair certainly facilitated her moving around.
Sister Martha was an example of fidelity to all that Religious Life asked of her, and her great love of prayer, especially to Mary and her Rosary obtained for her, I am sure, that wonderful grace of a very happy and peaceful death. She died peacefully on 9 January, 1967.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
07.05.1912 13.08.1942 19.03.1945 09.01.1997 Island Bay Karori Cemetery