Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
22.08.1931 15.08.1955 19.03.1958 28.01.2018 Silverstream Karori
When Mary was 13 her mother died suddenly. Her father later remarried and Elsie came into their families’ lives. On leaving school Mary helped teach in a few schools around Canterbury. Feeling she had a religious vocation, she entered the Sisters of Mercy and was with them for 2 years. Her Sister Clare was a Mercy Sister. Still searching for something that was right for her, Mary entered the Sisters of Compassion in 1955.
Sister Mary made her Religious Profession, in March 1958 and was due to celebrate her diamond jubilee about 2 months before her death in 2018. Mary shared in Christ’s Mission as a Sister of Compassion in many of our Homes in New Zealand and the Pacific.
Besides teaching and caring for children, Mary studied English Literature by correspondence in preparation for study at Loreto Hall Teacher’s College in Auckland. On the completion of her Teachers’ Certificate, Mary taught in the schools at Island Bay and Ranana before going to Balmain Teachers’ College, Sydney, where she studied teaching children with special needs. In 1966 Mary went to Suva, to teach at St Agnes Primary School. She enjoyed her 9 years in Suva before going to St Raphael’s School in Carterton.
In 1985 Sister Mary was a founding member of the Community in Houma, Tonga, with Sisters Hulita and Colette. There she taught English to future seminarians and sisters. Mary left Tonga in 1993 and worked with Sister Jean Sinclair, in Auckland, teaching special needs children. She also shared in the Faith and Light gatherings.
Mary always had concern for the people who were left behind or not included in society and her interest in the philosophy of L’Arche grew. A retreat in Christchurch with Jean Vanier fostered this interest.
From Auckland Sister Mary went to Flaxmere and worked as a chaplain and teacher at Mangaroa Prison. Mary had heard about the start of L’Arche at Paraparaumu and wanted to experience living with members of a L’Arche community. She spent a year with the L’Arche community in Hobart and thrived. Mary knew that being an assistant in the L’Arche Kapiti Community was where she belonged.
Mary moved to Marian Court in 2005 and continued her interest with L’Arche and was a St John’s Care Caller, phoning people who were house bound.
Sister became a resident at St Joseph’s Home of Compassion in 2013. Mary loved God and her faith was deep. She spent her life growing in the knowledge and belief in God’s love for her and for others. Mary lived Compassion and did not seek the extraordinary, but lived life faithfully in the joy and challenges of human companionship within L’Arche Community and in the educational arm of the Home of Compassion, especially in the care of special needs children.