We have very little information about Violet’s family and her early life.
She was a mature 28 year old when she entered the Sisters of Compassion, living firstly at St Joseph’s Home in Buckle St until the Noviciate was transferred to the new Home of Compassion at Island Bay. There are many unanswered questions as to when and how Violet’s vocation and attraction to the Sisters of Compassion began and what were the influencing factors for this woman to leave her country and family and enter a Religious Congregation that had yet to be granted its Pontifical Degree.
Entering, and living, with Mother Aubert undoubtedly influenced Violet’s decision. Possibly it was the social activities of the Sisters in the areas of health, education, and care for the foundling and the disadvantaged that may have inspired her. At her Reception ceremony, she received the name Paola (Paul) and two years later along with three other Sisters, made her Commitment and Profession as a Sister of Compassion.
Sister Paola passed her General Nursing Examinations with Honours in 1927, and was afterward appointed Local Treasurer of the Home for Incurables, at Buckle Street. She was Sister in Charge there until 1942, when she returned to Island Bay due to ill-health.
For many years, Sister was a companion to the Sister on Van duty. Her eye-sight was slowly deteriorating, and she relied on a big magnifying glass for many years although she knew most of the prayers by heart as she anticipated her blindness. This did not deter her from leading an active life: wherever there was help needed, Sister Paola was there – the kitchen, the laundry folding napkins by sense of touch as her sight got worse.
From the time Sister Paola returned from Buckle Street in 1942, she lived a truly hidden life. She had read widely and deeply and had much stored in her mind on which to draw during the last years of her life when she was no longer able to read. She also had a great devotion to the Angels. She never complained, even of loneliness, and seemed always to conform to God’s Holy Will. Sister Paul was perfectly resigned to die at any time God chose; her dispositions were perfect, and her passing was peaceful. Sister Paul’s Requiem took place on the Feast of the Ascension, 1959, in an atmosphere of joy and gratitude, and those present thanked God for her vocation and years of dedicated service for the poor and needy.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
11.07.1881 31.01.1908 28.09.1910 05.05.1959 Island Bay Karori Cemetery