She was the second youngest in a family of eleven children.
Ellen had three half-brothers (from her father’s first marriage), four brothers and three sisters (one brother died as an infant). Her eldest brother was the first of the family to arrive in New Zealand settling in Hokitika in 1874. All the other siblings except one brother were subsequently helped to New Zealand by those who had come earlier. Ellen arrived in 1900. An older sister became a Sister of Mercy in Hokitika.
Ellen was 29 when she entered the Sisters of Compassion at Buckle Street. Following her postulancy and noviciate training, Sister Michael was professed with four other young girls in the St Joseph’s Church, Buckle Street. Archbishop Redwood presided at the ceremony. Mother Aubert was present on both occasions.
Living accommodation at the time of Ellen’s entry was primitive and many of the usual home comforts were lacking. The Sisters were totally dependent on the generosity of the local people and their vocation was certainly put to the test. Shortly after profession Ellen who was now known as Sr Michael was introduced to the “Pram Rounds” of the city. She and her companions adapted well to the varied responses from the public as they trod the streets of Wellington pushing the heavy and often noisy prams of donated goods.
Sister Michael greatly admired Suzanne Aubert. She was loyal to the Foundress during the years of her absence in Rome obtaining the Degree of Praise so vital for the survival of the congregation. Sister Michael had transfers to Auckland and Jerusalem-Hiruhārama communities for varied lengths of time but finally returned to the Home in Island Bay where she devoted many years of her religious life mainly as Sacristan. Her activities gradually diminished as she suffered several medical illnesses. This was the time her sewing talents were appreciated especially for the practical making of clerical requirements.
Sister Michael passed away quite unexpectedly in a peaceful and quiet manner. At times she expressed her fear of this moment but she was well prepared to meet the Lord she loved and served so faithfully as a Sister of Compassion.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
11.03.1875 11.02.1904 11.12.1905 31.08.1951 Wellington Karori Cemetery