Patricia was their only daughter from a family of six; she loved playing tennis and belonged to a tennis club.
Patricia entered the Sisters of Compassion on 17 March 1958. At her Reception, Patricia was given her Religious name Sister Mary Cuthbert. Sister was Professed on 15 September 1960. In 1962, she studied for her Teachers ‘C’ Certificate at Loreto Hall, Auckland. On completing her teachers’ training, Sister was transferred to Jerusalem for 4 years. In February 1971, she was transferred to St. Agnes School, Samabula, Suva. While based in Fiji, she returned to New Zealand for three years to study for her BA at Victoria University, Wellington. She then returned to teach at St Agnes School, where she remained until the school was handed over to the local teachers in 1977 and the Sisters returned to New Zealand
In 1978, Sister was appointed Principal of St. Therese’s Mission School at Wilcannia, during which time she did a nine months renewal course at the Pacific Mission Institute, Turramurra. Patricia reverted back to her Baptismal name in 1981.
On 6 October 1983, Patricia died as the result of a car accident in New South Wales.
The accident happened while she was doing an act of charity. Chris Connell, whose family had supported the Sisters ever since they arrived in Wilcannia, was in the car, as was Sister Hulita. Mrs Connell, Chris’s mother, had died in Broken Hill early that same morning and the Sisters offered to take Chris down to Broken Hill. They had just finished saying the Rosary for the happy repose of Mrs Connell when the accident occurred. Sister Patricia, who was driving the car, was killed instantly and Sister Hulita was taken to the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital where she was treated for shock and three bones in her foot had to be straightened. Chris was unhurt.
Sister Patricia’s death by accident caused grief to all the Sisters. Aboriginal people erected a stone with a plaque in memory of Sister Patricia and to acknowledge the work she had done for the Aboriginal Community.
The Sisters remember that prayer and religious studies were Sister Patricia’s first priority, and she enjoyed talking about the works of spiritual writers with fellow Religious. She put as much care and preparation into her prayer and liturgy as she did into her apostolic work. She was a no-nonsense person. Sister Patricia will be remembered by the Sisters and the children she taught as a Sister ‘with sleeves rolled up, skirts tucked up, as she demonstrated the various techniques of athletics,’ or gardening, or more mundane jobs, like cleaning up, toilets included. Sister was a good friend to the Sisters, a truly worthy daughter of Mother Aubert.
Born Entered Professed Died Place of Death Place of Burial
26.01.1933 17.03.1958 15.09.1960 06.10.1983 Wilcannia/Broken Hill Karori Cemetery