Joan entered the Sisters of Compassion, Island Bay, on 7 March, 1935, and received her Religious name Sister Mary Philippine. Sister was Professed on 15 September, 1937. Sister Philippine studied for the Teachers ‘C’ Certificate through the Correspondence School and obtained a partial pass in 1939. That same year, she relieved at the Ranana School for a term owing to the illness of one of the Sisters. Sister Philippine received her Certificate of Attainment for teaching during 1942.

In 1942, Sister was transferred to Jerusalem where she was stationed until 1959. During this time most of her teaching was at the Ranana School. She was also called upon to visit the sick out on their farms. Her skill at First Aid was greatly appreciated among families at that time especially when they were living so far away from doctors and nurses. She was also very skilled in all kinds of outdoor activities, and could use a cross-cut saw, fix the motor mower, and do all kinds of odd jobs around the place usually reserved for men. It was while she was doing one to these ‘extra’ jobs that she fell from a great height while painting the ceiling of the Dormitory in the Convent. No bones were broken but she was badly concussed and remained unconscious for about an hour. She took a long time to recover.

During the 1963 General Chapter, Sister Philippine was elected First Assistant on the Leadership Team and in 1969 became Leader of the Sisters of Compassion, a position she held for 12 years.

In the 1980 New Year Honours List, Sister Philippine was awarded the Queen’s Service Order Medal for Community Services.

Throughout her life Sister had many medical problems which she bore valiantly. Her concern was always for others, and when she had retired from the Leadership Team of the Sisters of Compassion, she returned to the Whanganui River, not to teach, but to administer to the spiritual and temporal needs of the Māori. Her special gift was the support she gave the prisoners at the Waitoki Prison and to their relatives and friends.

On the afternoon of 18 January, 1994, Sister Philippine died at the Island Bay Home of Compassion and the Sisters lost a woman of great spiritual integrity and a loyal member.

In response to the invitation of the Māori people from the Wanganui River at the time of our Hekoi in 1992 for a Sister of Compassion to be buried among them, Sister Philippine when asked was prepared to accept this invitation and was buried at Ranana.


Born                     Entered                Professed               Died                  Place of Death             Place of Burial

22.04.1915       07.03.1935             15.09.1937        18.01.1994                Island Bay                        Ranana