Mary was the eldest girl in a family of eleven, six boys and 5 girls. Three brothers, Fr Peter, Dr Gerard and Tony, and three sisters, Pat Matheson, Bernardine O’Connor and Madeleine Hishon, were still living at the time of her death. Sister was always very supportive of her family, and there are numerous nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews, all referring to her as Aunty Mary.
Mary Wall was educated in Christchurch, and on leaving school commenced work as a hair-dresser eventually owning her own business. Before becoming a Sister of Compassion, Mary was very involved with the Grail Movement (an organization for Catholic Youth that was flourishing at that time) in Christchurch. It was her deep relationship with God that led her finally to enter Religious life.
On 15 September, 1942, Sister M. Paschal made her First Profession to live the life of a Daughter of Our Lady of Compassion and it was shortly after this that she developed a chronic chest complaint that was to be with her right throughout her life.
For many years, Sister worked with the residents at Silverstream and Timaru, interesting them in different forms of Occupational Therapy.
When the first Tongan women immigrated to New Zealand, Sister organised gatherings at the Home at Island Bay, giving them the opportunity to meet over a meal and to gain support from one another. She was very generous in helping the Tongan women who worked at the Home of Compassion and sending parcels back to Tonga. In spite of her own busyness, Sister Paschal kept in touch with the women who worked at the Home on their return to Tonga and visited the ones who lived in Wellington.
Sister Paschal was very artistic and loved it when we had concerts. She took great delight in dressing the Sisters for the different productions we did from time to time. There used to be a room in the attic full of dress-up clothes donated by people over the years. There were old evening dresses and evening shoes as well as lots of imitation jewellery and hats as worn by ladies of fashion. Sister Paschal had the ability to create many enjoyable recreational pursuits for the Sisters in whatever Community she was in.
Gardening was also a passion of Sister Paschal and she was responsible for the crib wall below the Child Care Centre.
During the last years of her life, Sister would visit the poor in their homes, and took a great interest in the rehabilitation of alcoholics, especially women. A humming Sister Paschal was a happy Paschal and her desire for lively discussion never waned. Her life was a life well lived for God and she faithfully lived her vocation. Sister Paschal could confidently say “I am ready to go whenever the Lord wants me.” Her brother, Father Peter, was the chief celebrant at her Requiem Mass.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
25.05.1909 07.12.1939 15.09.1942 12.05.1982 Island Bay Karori Cemetery