SISTER AQUINAS REYNOLDS (Mary) who died in 1961 aged 82 years professed 48years
Sister Aquinas was born in Co. Meath on the 9th November 1879. She entered the West Grinstead Congregation on the 7th March 1912 and made Final Profession on December 8th 1913.
Sister Aquinas was one of the twenty-one Sisters from the West Grinstead Congregation who amalgamated with our Congregation on the Feast of St Rose of Lima, the 31st of August 1927. The Sisters were assigned to St Dominic’s Priory Ponsbourne Park in Hertfordshire, which had been specially purchased as a Convent and Boarding School for the Sisters and children of West Grinstead. Sister Aquinas spent all her teaching life at St Dominic’s Priory and upon retirement she continued to help in the Convent and Boarding School for as long as she was able. On the occasion of her Silver Jubilee many of her past pupils turned up to greet her and to express their gratitude for all she had done for them.
Sr Aquinas passed away peacefully on the 1st December 1961 and was laid to rest hi the ConventCemetery after Requiem Mass on the 3rd December 1961.
SISTER OLIVERIA BOYLAN (Breda) who died in 1987 aged 87years professed 67years
Sister Oliveria was born on the 23rd August 1900 in Navan, Co. Meath. Sister entered the Novitiate in St Joseph’s Convent Launceston on the 3rd August 1918 and made Final Profession on the 15th November 1920.Shortly after, Sister left with some companions for Missionary work in South Africa where she remained for ten years. On her return to England, Sister was assigned to Burnt Oak where she specialised in English and Drama for many years. Sister was keenly interested in students for whom learning did not come easy and they in turn realised that she always had their interests at heart.
Sister Oliveria had a strong Faith A group of young Sisters who were with her in College spoke of her good influence and the spiritual help she gave.The young nurses at Nazareth House remarked that they would have loved to have known her in her younger days.
Sister Oliveria died peacefully fortified by the Rites of the Church on the 2nd December 1987 at the Sisters of Nazareth, Hammersmith. The Requiem Mass was concelebrated by six Priests at Rosary Priory on the 7th December 1987. Our Chapel was filled with our own Sisters, five of the Boylan family and some staff and pupils from St James’ school. On a bright pleasant afternoon, Sister’s remains were laid to rest in the Convent Cemetery to await the Resurrection.
SISTER ANASTASIA ENGLISH (Margaret) who died in 1976 aged 79years professed 56years
Sister Anastasia was born in Dungarven, Co. Waterford on the 22nd November 1897. She entered the Novitiate in Launceston on the 12th January 1919 and made Final Profession on the 15th November 1923.
Sister Anastasia came to South Africa in 1921 and was assigned to St Rose’s Convent La Rochelle, later to Holy Convent Dundee and then to St Catherine’s Convent, Germiston and finally to St Dominic’s in Port Shepstone. Sister Anastasia fulfilled the Office of Prioress and Principal at Port Shepstone. She was an indefatigable worker who never spared herself when the well-being of the Community was at stake. Her great joy was to prepare the young children for First Communion and she went to great pains to make the day a memorable one.
During the last few years of her life, Sister Anastasia was a member of St Dominic’s Community, Boksburg. She was most edifying in her prayer life and possessed patient endurance under intense suffering. As Father Dominic Baldwin O.P. (one of her La Rochelle former pupils) said in his panegyric, “She was a Valiant Woman”.
Sister Anastasia died on the 3rd December 1976. Requiem Mass was celebrated for her on the 6th December 1976 and she was interred afterwards in our Cemetery at Boksburg.
SISTER BERCHMANS NOLAN (Mary) who died in 1972 aged 83years professed 65years
Sister Berchmans was born in Bagnalstown, Co. Carlow on the 25th December 1891. She left for the Novitiate in South Africa with many other girls, accompanied by Mother Reginald, on September 16th 1906. She made Final Profession on April 21st 1911.
Sister Berchmans was given her first assignment by Mother Foundress, to take charge of the Boarders under the direction of an experienced Sister. She then taught in our schools until she was sent to England in the middle of the thirties where she was appointed Prioress at Rosary Priory. Sister taught in Launceston until 1953, when she was transferred to Ponsbourne as Prioress for six years. In 1959 she returned to Launceston to teach in the school until retirement. Even when her health was very impaired, she continued to do what she could. One could sum up her life as marked by tireless work and deep kindness towards all. Sister Berchmans was tenderly cared for in her last years and died at the Convent on the 3rd December 1972, after months of devoted care by Sister Elizabeth Dillon. She was laid to rest in the Little Convent Cemetery looking out on the Cornish hills, after Requiem Mass on the 5th December 1972.
SISTER MARY DWYER (Mary Ann) who died in 1998 aged 86years professed 65years
Sister Mary was born on the 13th January 1912 in Ballinakill, Co. Leix (Queens County).Sister Mary came to the Novitiate at Rosary Priory on 8th December 1931 and made herFinal Profession on the 4th August 1936.Before joining the Dominicans, Sister Maryattended a College of Domestic Economy in Ireland. Hence she was assigned to Ponsbourne Park Boarding and Day School with full responsibility for all Catering until the school closed down in 1974. Her great sense of humour and depth of sincerity endeared her to all the Sisters, but especially to the elderly Sisters who readily accepted her care and concern for their welfare. Sister’s years at Villa Rosa, Rome were greatly appreciated by the Community of those days. After the closure of Ponsbourne Park, Sister was assigned to Eastbourne and St Michael’s Garston and after the refurbishment of Rosary Priory for the elderly; Sister Mary became a member of the Community. Sister Mary died at Holy Cross Nursing Unit in Heathfield, Sussex on Thursday 3rd December 1998. Her remains were brought back to Rosary Priory on the 8th December 1998 and after Requiem Mass with her Nephew, Fr Dwyer as main Celebrant, she was laid to rest in the Convent Cemetery sixty seven years to the day when she joined the Congregation.
SISTER PETER LIEBHART (Theresa) who died in 1971 aged 90years professed 64years
Sister was born in Germany on the 5th March 1881. She entered the Novitiate in Africa on the 10th October 1905 and made Final Profession on the 15th October 1910.
Sister Peter was one of the early pioneers who helped to build up the new Congregationg. She spent most of her religious life at St Dominic’s Convent, Boksburg where she assiduously tended the fruit, vegetables and flowers in the gardens for over forty years. The Sisters in those days would have depended on the e from the gardens for daily sustenance. “For God alone” was her motto. Sister Peter lived a long life, dying at the age of ninety on the 5th December 1971. Sister was laid to rest in the Convent Cemetery after Requiem Mass.
SISTER DENIS O’REILLY (Rose) who died in 1978 aged 86years professed 58years
Sister was born in Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo on the 8th October 1893. She joined the ire in Launceston, Cornwall on the 3rd August 1918. She was the third member of her family to join our Congregation. She was assigned to St Dominic’s Newcastle, South Africa in 1921 and made Final Profession in 1923. Sister who was already a trained teacher when she entered spent the first few months studying and learning about the system of education in South Africa before being pointed to the staff in Lennoxton. Among her pupils were three boys who entered the Congregation of Mary Immaculate (OMT) and became priests. One of them was Denis Hurley who at the time of her death was Archbishop of Durban. She WAS ONE of his teachers that he most cherished and respected during the many years followed. Sr Denis taught also in St Pius’ Convent, Pietersburg until her retirement. On hearing of her death one past pupil (A priest – Fr R. Webber) wrote of her thus: “She was one of those beautiful characters that only made friends – no enemies she was a Religious who for us boys epitomised the Woman of dedication in spreading joy, happiness and encouragement.”
The last few years of Sister’s life were spent in St Catherine’s Convent Germiston, where she died in the early morning of the 8th December 1978. Her funeral service was celebrated at the Parish Church, Germiston. Both her nephews, Bernard and Peter Solan and many of the Sisters were present at the Mass and at her graveside in Boksburg Cemetery. Her elder sister, Sister Agnes, who died in 1935 is laid to rest also in Boksburg Cemetery.
SISTER STANISLAUS EBERL (Mary) who died in 1943 aged 69years professed 46years
Sister Stanislaus was born in Bavaria, Germany on the 4th July 1875. She joined the Novitiate in South Africa on the 15th April 1897 and made Final Profession in July 1898.
Sister Stanislaus was one of the pioneers who went through the hardships of the earlier days of the Congregation. She worked very hard in the garden and at carpentry, and in fact, taught herself to make desks and cupboards for the schools and Convents. In her last illness, Sister suffered much, but she was always patient and full of confidence in God. Sister Stanislaus died on the 10th December 1943. She was buried in the Cemetery at Newcastle after Requiem Mass.
were spent in St Catherine’s Convent Germiston, where she died in the early morning of the 8th December 1978. Her funeral service was celebrated at the Parish Church, Germiston. Both her nephews, Bernard and Peter Solan and many of the Sisters were present at the Mass and at her graveside in Boksburg Cemetery. Her elder sister, Sister Agnes, who died in 1935 is laid to rest also in Boksburg Cemetery.
SISTER IMELDA WHELAN (Bridget) who died in 2007 aged 91years professed 74years
Sister Imelda was born in Limerick Ireland in February 1917 She entered our Congregation on 21st November 1931and made her first profession on 13th February 1934.
Sister Imelda spent many years in teaching and worked in the Annunciation School until her retirement. She loved children and many will say that her classroom was a child’s paradise. Sister Imelda was a committed, hardworking, teacher, dedicated to many children over her long life.
When Sister Imelda retired she committed herself to St. Joseph’s Pastoral Centre for young people with some learning difficulties. Here again, she made many friends and supported so many families over the years. She kept contact with them long after she retired and kept up the friendships and support through visits and correspondence. She also supported the Annunciation Club for children with learning difficulties and attended that conscientiously. She was with them and accompanied them through their joys and sorrows.
Sister Imelda was a faithful Dominican to her death, prayerful, attending Church even when she was sick and kept in touch with many in the parish. She had a will of iron and had a determination second to none.
Sister Imelda died 11th December 2007. After the celebration of requiem Mass Sister was laid to rest in Rosary Priory cemetery on 18th December 2009. May she rest in peace.
SISTER BAPTIST McGRATH (Brigid) who died in 1943 aged 73years professed 53years
Sister Baptist was born in Tipperary on the 7th August 1871. She entered the Novitiate at West Grinstead on the 1st October 1890 and made Final Profession on the 30th April 1897.
Sister Baptist was one of the twenty-one Sisters who amalgamated with us in 1927 and who lived at St Dominic’s Convent, Ponsbourne Park, Hertfordshire where she taught in the school for many years until retirement due to ill health. Sisterr Baptist was a holy and edifying person and much loved by all the Sisters. She happily celebrated the Golden Jubilee of her Profession in June 1941 and a few months later she suffered a stroke which left her an invalid until her death on the llth December 1943. She was laid to rest in the Cemetery at Ponsbourne Park after Requiem Mass on the 14th December 1943.
SISTER EVANGELIST Mc NICHOLAS (Mary) who died in 1959 aged 77years professed 54years
Sister Evangelist was born in Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo on the 2nd December 1883. Sister entered the Novitiate in South Africa on the llth October 1904 and made Final Profession on the 15th July 1909.
Sister Evangelist taught in many of our schools in Natal and the Transvaal, and was also in charge of our Mission in Germiston. Many of the Priests who served that area have recorded that Sister’s influence had such impact on the people that they turned to her frequently for help. They attributed her great influence to her continual prayer and close union with God. Sister’s assignation prior to retirement was to St Catherine’s Convent, Parkhill, where she worked in the school until ill health and advancing years compelled her to retire from teaching. Though her sufferings were great, she edified all by her patience and prayerfulness. The Sisters who cared for her were struck by the fact that her lips moved in prayer till her last breath on the 10th December 1959.
Requiem Mass was celebrated for the repose of her soul on the 12th December at St Thomas’ Convent Lennoxton. Monsignor Ulyatt OFM officiated. Many Sisters of the neighbouring Communities were present. Sister was laid to rest in the Cemetery of St Thomas’ Convent on the 12th December 1959.
SISTER BENIGNA REDDY (Mary) who died in 1963 aged 90years professed 69years
Sister Benigna was born in New Ross, Wexford on the 8th May 1874. She joined the Novitiate in South Africa as a member of the Oakford Congregation on the 25th October 1892 and made Final Profession on the 4th August 1895. Sister Benigna was one of the six Sisters who chose to stay behind in Newcastle with Mother Rose instead of returning to Oakford and so became one of the pioneer who braved the hardships of the early days of our Congregation. She worked untiringly in building up the new foundations, one by one. In 1918 when St Elmo’s Convent Umzumbe was opened, Sister Benigna was assigned to the new Foundation and remained there until her death.
Sister had been ill for some time and she was lovingly cared for by the Sisters. On the llth December 1963 the Community gathered round and sang the Salve as her condition worsened. Fr Luke Smith O.P. recited the prayers for the dying and gave her his blessing. At 6.45 p.m. on 12th December 1963 as the Natal Communities, who had come for the Annual Retreat to St Elmo’s Convent, sang the Salve Sister Benigna passed peacefully away after a long and fruitful life. Sister Benigna will always be remembered as a very prayerful and kind person who was unfailing in her love of and devotion to the Congregation.
On the 14th December 1963, Requiem Mass was offered for Sister by Archbishop Hurley OMI, who also officiated at the Convent graveside, assisted by a number of Priests in the presence of a large number of Sisters.
SISTER GREGORY CHAMBERS (Amy) who died in 1993 aged 79years professed 55years
Sister Gregory was born in Lower Clapton, London on 18th January 1914. She was one triplets. As a Londoner she loved everything pertaining to Westminster Cathedral and was proud of the fact that she was one of its parishioners. In spite of strong opposition from her family, Sister joined the Congregation on 12th April 1937 and made Final Profession on 5th January 1942. Sister Gregory trained as a teacher before entering and also taught for a number of years, so she was assigned to Stanmore and later to the Annunciation, Burnt Oak. In all of the schools the where she taught, Sister was respected and appreciated by the children, staff and parents, and remembered as a person of great integrity. One former pupil recalls the war years:
Much teaching was done in the air-raid shelters and Sister Gregory helped us to become less frightened of the war which threatened us. She never gave up her efforts to educate us in spite of constant movement from classroom to shelter, sleepless nights due to fire watching and losing hours of time because we had to be sent home early. When Sister Gregory retired from teaching in the State sector she was assigned to Launceston, Cornwall where she took charge of the library in the Senior School. She was a mine of information and could recall accurately names of people, places and events and was always happy to share with others the knowledge garnered over the years.
Sister Gregory joined our Congregation because we said the Divine Office daily, sadly her last years brought a deterioration of sight and hearing ending in total loss, but while she could she joined in the recitation of the Office from memory. Sister died at St Mary’s Dominican Nursing Home, Stone, Staffs, on 13th December 1993 and was buried at Rosary Priory on 15th December 1993. Members of her family, the Sisters, pupils, staff and many friends were present at her Requiem Mass and at the graveside where she was laid to rest.
SISTER CAMILLUS HESTER (Annie) who died 1930 aged 50years professed19years
Sister Camillus was born in Co. Roscommon on 14th October 1879. She joined the Novitiate in South Africa on 22nd October 1909 at the age of thirty and made Final Profession on 7th July 1914.
Sister Camillus was not of robust health and in fact died in the fiftieth year of her age. In July 1930 she was admitted to hospital but as she was unable to be treated she returned to the Convent pleased, “That God has been wonderfully good to give me so much time to prepare for my death”. After the singing of the Salve, Sister Camillus asked that the hymn, “Mother of Christ” should be sung. Her desire was to die on the Feast of Our Lady, so it was within the Octave of the Immaculate Conception that God took her to Himself; the date was the 14th December 1930. She was laid to rest in the Convent Cemetery at Pietersburg.
SISTER COLUMBA O’SULLIVAN (Ellen) who died 1897 aged 36years professed10years
Sister Columba was born in Tralee, Co. Kerry on 5th February 1861. She was clothed in the Dominican Habit on 25th March 1886 in South Africa and made Final Profession on 14th April 1887.
Sister Columba was already a trained teacher when she joined the Convent in King Williamstown. Mother Rose Niland, then a very young Religious, was her Novice Mistress. After seven years in Kingwilliamstown, Sister Columba was assigned to Oakford from where Superiors sent her to the new foundation in Newcastle where she was with Mother Rose and the small band who faced all the struggles and hardships of the new foundation.
Sister Columba was one of six Sisters who decided to stay in Newcastle as members of the new Congregation and independent of Oakford. Sister Columba was the first companion of Mother Rose Niland. “On the morning of 7th July 1891, a little band of Dominican nuns, including Sister Columba O’Sullivan, arrived in this town of Newcastle to make a new Foundation. They came from their convent in Oakford”
“Having arranged all things with loving care and forethought leaving her infant house in the charge of Sister Columba … Mother Rose left Newcastle on 25th June 1896 en route for Europe. (Annals p. 52.)
Mother Rose arrived back from Europe on 4th April 1897, but a great sorrow was impending. Mother Columba was very seriously ill with consumption. She died on 15th December 1897. Mother Columba was but thirty-six years old and ten years Professed at the time of her passing and her death increased considerably the labour and responsibilities of Mother Rose. Sister was buried in the Vault at St Dominic’s Priory, Newcastle on the 16th December 1897. She was subsequently removed to Lennoxton Cemetery.
SISTER CLEMENT BURKE (Katie) who died in 2005 aged 91years – professed 69years
SISTER VINCENT GUERIN (Annie Mary) who died 1995 aged 88years professed51years
Sister Vincent was born in Boherbue, Co. Cork on the 1st April 1907. Before joining the Congregation, Sister worked for some years as a Dominican Tertiary among the poor in Belgium and England. She entered the Congregation on 22nd October 1941at Rosary Priory and made Final Profession on the 5th April 1947.
Sister Vincent served the Communities of Ponsbourne Park, St Albert’s Cork, Storrington and Rosary Priory with characteristic generosity and cheerfulness.
Among the Boarders in Ponsbourne Park her warm and kindly ways left a lasting impression on the young pupils who were separated from their families for several months during the war years. Throughout her years at St Albert’s, time was of the essence, especially where people were concerned. Sister built up wonderful relationships with the student Sisters many of whom were from Africa and remained in Ireland for the entire duration while studying for Degrees at Cork University. Her cheerful disposition and great humour helped to make life in a foreign land tolerable for them.
Sister was an exemplary Community Sister, courteous and concerned for all her Sisters. She had a deep Spirit of Prayer which manifested itself in her great love for and devotion to the Mass, the Liturgy and for our Dominican traditions. Her resignation and peace were an example and consolation to those who witnessed her life slowly ebbing away. Sister Vincent died peacefully on the 17th December 1995. She is buried in Rosary Priory Cemetery.
SISTER AMBROSE O’CONNELL (Ellie) who died 1992 aged 77years professed54years
Sister Ambrose was born in Cahill, Co. Galway on the 12th September 1915. She entered the Novitiate at Rosary Priory on the 29th December 1935 and made Final Profession on the 2nd August 1947.
Sister’s life was a continual generous giving of herself, not only in the work of the Congregation assigned to her, whether caring for small boys and girls assigned to her for many years at Ponsbourne Park, or in simple behind-the-scene tasks in Burnt Oak and Stanmore, but in a much wider way: giving of her help, her time, her sympathy and understanding especially to those who, through worry or distress of any kind needed words of encouragement. Sister Ambrose reached out to a wide apostolate wherever she was situated. She had a rare gift of forming deep and lasting friendships with those she came to know. She was a valued Community Sister, unobtrusive and hardworking, most faithful to her regular prayer life, thus showing the fruits of contemplation in the love she shared with others inside and outside the convent walls. Her humour and readiness to enjoy a joke made her good company and endeared her to many.
Though she never spared herself in hard work, Sister’s health was never too robust and showed signs of deterioration over the years.When death at last overtook her, she slipped away quietly on Thursday 17th December 1992. Her funeral Mass and burial took place at Rosary Priory on Monday 21st December
SISTER ISIDORE CHUTE (Helene) who died 1994 aged 95years professed 71years
Sister Isidore was born in Dussledorf, Germany on 26th August 1899. She entered the Convent in Blerick, Holland on the 7th August 1921 and came to St Dominic’s Newcastle, South Africa where she completed her Novitiate and made her Final Profession on the 1st May 1927.
She was later transferred to St Thomas’ Convent, Lennoxton, taking charge of the farm which she ran very productively as produce in abundance was so essential in order to feed the large numbers of Boarders on the premises and for the local Missions. She enjoyed her work, which was self evident by her friendly attitude towards those with whom she came in contact. After many years of hard work on the the farm, Sister Isidore was transferred to Villa Aquinas, Pietermaritzburg where she served the Community in the kitchen and laundry.
She finally moved to Marian House, having lived a long life, actively engaged almost to the end. She died on December 18th 1994. Requiem Mass was concelebrated in Marian House Chapel after which Sister was laid to rest in St Dominic’s Cemetery, Boksburg on the 21st December 1994.
SISTER MAGDALEN BRENNAN (Kathleen)who died 1970aged 78years professed46years
Sister Magdalen was born in Queen’s County Co. Laois Ireland on April 13th 1893. She entered the Novitiate in Launceston, Cornwall on January 15th 1924 and made Final Profession on December 8th 1928.
Sister Magdalen had been in charge of boarders, guests, the Sacristy and habit maker in our Convents for many years. She will always be remembered for her kindliness of manner and devotion to duty. She was an excellent needlewoman and many and varied were the requests she received for help at all times, but especially when the new style of habit was adopted. If through human frailty or pressure of work she ever answered a Sister sharply she very soon found a way of making amends. The workroom was always a place where Sisters could go without fear of intruding. As Guest Mistress she was most courteous to visitors.
Sister Magdalen was diagnosed with cancer and given a month to live. She first of all spent a few hours in the Linen room arranging the Sister’s clothing for the following week and then proceeded to make sure her second habit etc. was ready for the final journey. Sister insisted on attending Matins, Lauds, Mental Prayer and Mass each day until weakness confined her to bed. She had wonderful resignation and constantly repeated that she hoped no one was praying for her recovery, but at the same time may, “God’s will be done.” Sister hoped that God would call her before Christmas so that the Celebration would not be interrupted. The Sisters visited her regularly in her room; she sent a message to one Sister (who was rather nervous in the presence of the dying) that they both had already said their “Farewell Greetings” and that she would pray for her in Heaven.
Sister Magdalen died at St Dominic’s Convent, Ponsbourne Park, Hertfordshire on the 18th December 1970. The Priest who attended her at her deathbed remarked that he had never witnessed such a calm, happy death. On Tuesday 22nd December she was laid to rest in the Convent Cemetery following Requiem Mass, which was attended, by her sister, Sister de Montfort O.P. (one of three members of the family who joined the Congregation), and a large number of the Sisters from the surrounding Convents. The Sisters of St Dominic’s Priory sadly missed Sister Magdalen’s generous services, her great sense of humour and time for everybody.
SISTER BEDE Mc DERMOTT (Kathleen) who died 2016 aged 96 years professed 77 years
Sr Mary Bede Mc Dermott, a Newcastle Dominican Sister from Marian House Boksburg died on the 19th December in Marian House Boksburg. Sister celebrated her 96th birthday on the 20th November 2016 and from then onward her health deteriorated causing her to be confined to her room, needless to say, this distressed her. In spite of her age and physical weakness, Sister liked to attend daily Mass with the community – saying her bidding prayer for Pope Francis and the needs of the world and her community.
Sr Bede and her companions sailed to South Africa in 1941 during the frightening conflict of World War II. Sister was involved in education in most of our Convent Schools in South Africa. The longest spell of ministry was at St Elmo’s Umzumbe. She had a great love and sensitivity for the needy children there and kept in contact with them for as long as they needed her guidance.
Sr Bede was quite a witty person, had a good sense of humour and loved the company of others making them feel at home. She was most grateful for the care she received in her frail years in Marian House.
Sr Bede’s Requiem Mass was celebrated at Marian House by Fr Albert Nolan OP (Marian House Chaplain) and Fr Mark James OP. the chapel was filled with a large congregation of Sisters, Christian Brothers, Salesians and Mercy Sisters, friends and staff of Marian House.
We give thanks to God for dear Sr Bede’s dedication and service to God’s children and all whom she touched in her long life. May her soul rest in peace.
SISTER SCHOLASTICA O’SULLIVAN (Nora) who died 2008 aged 92 years professed 72 years
Sister Scholastica O’Sullivan was born in Tralee, Co, Kerry on 11 June 1917, She and five other girls from County Kerry entered the Novitiate in Rosary Priory in1935. Sister Scohlastica made her first profession on 15th October 1937 in Villa Rosa Rome. After her Profession Sister was assigned to South Africa and to the Sacred Heart Mission in Umsinsini where she ministered until the Mission was given over to the Franciscan Sisters.
After the Sisters left Sacred Heart Mission Sister Scholastica spent four years in Villa Rosa, Rome and this was followed by her being appointed Prioress in different convents: Benoni, La Rochelle, Umzumbe, she was the first Prioress in Marian House.
Those of us who lived in community with Sister Scholastica remember her as a simple and humble labourer in the Lord’s vineyard. She lived a life of simplicity, humility and gentleness in St Dominic’s family. Since the days of St Dominic, the Dominican friars and nuns championed certain devotions, most notably devotion to the Eucharist, to the Rosary and to the Holy Name of Jesus. Sister Scholastica followed in the footsteps of earlier Dominicans and through her life found her way to the tremendous richness of Jesus Christ.
She employed her talents for the common good of all whom she served. She was a channel of God’s love for her community. That love was acquired by Sister’s resolution to do the Will of God and hence she loved all and saw the good in all. When I think of Sister Scholastica, I am reminded of the words of Father Jordan Aumann ‘What matters most is not what one does, but the love with which one does it.’
Sister Scholastica certainly lived out St Dominic’s Last Will and Testament when he said ‘Behold, my children, the heritage I leave you: Have charity for one another, guard humility make your treasure out of voluntary poverty’ may we have the Grace to do the same.
Sister Scholastica died on 19th December 2008. After the celebration of Requiem Mass Sister was laid to rest in the convent cemetery at Marian House. May she rest in peace.
SISTER CLARE LAWTON (Eileen) who died 1907aged 32years professed 3years
Sister Clare was born in Clonakilty Cork on the 14th February 1875. Sister entered the Convent on the 9th January 1903 and made Final Profession on the 22nd May 1904. She died on the 21st December 1907 in the thirty-second year of her age and the third of her Religious Profession. Sister is interred at Lennoxton Cemetery.
SISTER CELESTINE FEELY (Lizzie) who died 1948 aged 63 years professed 38years
Sister Celestine was born in Sligo on the 16th April 1887. She entered the Novitiate in South Africa on the 22nd October 1909 and made Final Profession on the 17tth July 1914.
Sister Celestine was a gifted musician who taught Music in many of our schools and because of her love for the subject and unstinting devotion to her pupils, music became a popular art for all abilities. As Prioress at Port Shepstone her kindly disposition endeared her to the Sisters and to all with whom she came in contact.
It was with great sadness for the Community that Sister Celestine gave up her soul to God on the 22nd December 1948, following a heart attack on the morning after the close of the Annual Retreat which she fully attended. She was laid to rest in the Cemetery at Umzumbe after Requiem Mass.
SISTER BORROMEA HANNOVER (Anna Maria) who died 1967 aged 78 years professed 45years
Sister Borromea was born in Oldenburg, Germany on September 23rd 1899. She joined the Novitiate in 1921 and made Final Profession on the 31st July 1925.
Sister Borromea was a prayerful and humble Religious who spent her life in the service of others. She had a premonition of her death and knelt to ask the pardon and prayers of all before entering on her last Retreat. She in fact got a stroke during the Retreat and died shortly after receiving the Last Sacraments on the 22nd December 1967 and was laid to rest in Umzumbe Cemetery on the 24th December 1967.
SISTER CLARA MURROW (Olive) who died 1981 aged 87 years professed 64years
Sister Clara was born in Rathangan, Co. Dublin on the 8th September 1895. She came out to South Africa with a group of companions to Newcastle, South Africa and made Final Profession on the 3rd July 1921. After Profession, Sister Clara was assigned first to Benoni and later to Boksburg where she taught Infants for about thirty years and prepared hundreds of children for First Communion. She was then transferred to Durban North Convent so that she could care for her sister, Sister Gonzaga who was ill. Sister Clara joined the Primary school staff and taught preschool children for about ten years. When Sister’s health began to fail she was sent to Harding Hospital to get continual attention. Sister Clara died peacefully a few days after arriving at the Hospital on the 22nd December 1981. Sister’s prayer life was marked by her great devotion to the Mass and the Rosary. For years and years she had lovingly arranged the Cribs at Boksburg and Durban and it is remarkable that she died when the Cribs were being erected for this Holy Season.The Requiem Mass took place at Umzumbe and Sister Clara was laid to rest near her sister, Sister Gonzaga on the 24th December 1981.
SISTER WALTHERA BRANDS (Walthera) who died 2015 aged 86 years professed 63years
Sister Walthera was born in “Loon op Zand” Brabant Holland on 8th November 1929. Sister entered the Congregation at Rosary Priory in September 1950. She received the habit and the name Sister Lutgardis on 1st August 1951 and made her first profession on 1st August 1952.Sister taught for many years in a number of our schools, Ponsbourne Park, Rosary Priory, St. James and St. Martin’s Burnt Oak and St Joseph’s Launceston.
When Sister was teaching in St Martin’s there were two partially hearing children in her class In her effort to help and support these children Sister became aware of the problems deaf people have to contend with. She became a member of the Catholic Service for the deaf, she became proficient in the use of sign language and she embraced a ministry among the deaf with commitment, enthusiasm and sensitivity. In September 1988 she was appointed By Bishop Christopher Budd to take on the role of full time Co- coordinator for the Pastoral Service to the deaf people in the Diocese of Plymouth. In 1994 Bishop Cormac Murphy O’Connor invited Sister to take up a similar position in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. Sister was allowed to preach at any church service in both Diocese.
She worked untiringly with Social Services and Educational Establishments for deaf people, both children and adults, throughout the South West and later the South East. During this time Sister Walthera was a member of the Church of England Exeter Cathedral Team and later in Sussex of the Chichester Church of England Deaf Ministry Team. In both Diocese Sister established a small community of deaf people, supported by hearing friends who were able to sign and be sympathetic to the deaf community.
In September 1999 Sister Walthera was appointed the First Administrator of the Niland Conference Centre. She worked with great zeal, vision and energy to get the Centre established. She laid the foundation stone on which the Centre of today is thriving.
In 2003 Sister became crippled with arthritis: she was confined to a wheelchair for several months and it became necessary for her to resign from the Centre. In December 2004 Sister joined the Eastbourne community where she continued to make “The preaching of the Gospel her life’s work” Sister spent the last three years of her life at Rosary Priory. She appreciated all that was beautiful and colourful: this was reflected in her attitude to life. She admired nature, loved plants and flowers and took delight in nurturing plants which she displayed in her room.
Sister Walthera was admitted to Barnet Hospital on 20th December 2015. Sister died peacefully on 23rd December.
Sisters Requiem Mass was concelebrated on Saturday 2nd January 2016 at Rosary Priory by Fr. Peter our Chaplain and Fr. Ian Chaplain for the deaf. The community were joined by Sisters friends from Arundel and Brighton and Plymouth. Sister was laid to rest in the convent cemetery.
May she rest in peace.
SISTER EDMUND BINDER (Walburga) who died 1968 aged 68 years professed 43years
Sister Edmund was born in Germany on the 9th February 1877. She entered the Novitiate in South Africa on the 8th November 1907 and took Final Vows on the 15th July 1912.Sister Edmund was one of the early members of the Congregation and she worked extremely hard in all areas, both at home as a habit mistress in the workroom. Her Apostolic spirit, led her to spend her free time in making pictures for the missions. Sister was more or less active to within a couple of months of her death. She received the last Sacraments and died peacefully on the 23rd December 1968. Sister Edmund was laid to rest in Lennoxton Cemetery on the 24th December 1968 after Requiem Mass.
SISTER ROSARIA NUGENT (Margaret) who died 1978 aged 94 years professed 67years
Sister Rosaria was born in Limerick, Ireland on the 27th November 1886. She entered the Novitiate in Lennoxton, Newcastle, Natal on the 22nd October 1909 and made Final Profession on the 17th July 1914.
During the First World War when all civilian travel between South Africa and Europe was cut off, St Joseph’s Convent, Launceston in Cornwall was opened in 1914, for the reception of candidates aspiring to enter our Congregation. Sister Rosaria was assigned to St Joseph’s Convent and given charge of the Novitiate. After her return to South Africa in 1919, she gave generous and devoted service in various offices. Besides her work as a teacher, she was local bursar in different Convents, showing love and concern for all. For many years she kept up the Sodality of the Children of Mary, inspiring the members with her own zeal and devotion to Our Lady. Thus, under her leadership, the group in St Catherine’s Germiston, donated a beautiful statue of Our Lady to the Convent Chapel. In Holy Child Convent Benoni, she had a plain glass window behind the main altar replaced by a richly coloured stained glass window of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Sister Rosaria’s deep faith and unflinching confidence in God were an inspiration to the converts whom she instructed before their reception into the Church. She took a lively interest in them and remained in constant contact for several years afterwards.
In 1964 she came to England as a delegate to the General Chapter after which she was assigned to St Thomas’ Convent Stanmore. There she helped where she could by taking small groups of children to gain fluency in their reading. In 1969 she became Sub-Prioress at St Michael’s Convent Garston. In 1971 she became incapacitated as a result of a severe fall. Although physically handicapped, her interest in people and her capacity for friendship which had always characterised her, became an outstanding feature during these years of inactivity. She listened to, advised, and above all, prayed for the many people who visited her or sought her advice. These qualities endeared her to the Community who gave her every help, care and attention. For this she expressed her deepest gratitude and prayed many a Rosary for the Sisters.
Sister Rosaria died peacefully on the 23rd December 1978 and was laid to rest in our Cemetery at Rosary Priory on the 29th December 1978.
CATHERINE AHERNE (Henrietta) who died 1971 aged 56years professed 39 years
Sister Catherine was born in Bagnalstown, Co. Carlow, Ireland on the 26th November 1914. She entered the Novitiate at Rosary Priory on the 30th January 1931. From there she was transferred to the Novitiate at Villa Rosa, Rome in May of that same year. After her Profession on the 27th November 1933, Sister was sent to St Dominic’s Academy South Africa where she made Final Profession on the 27th November 1935.
She taught in the school at the Academy and later acted as Principal of the Junior School for some years. In 1950 she was appointed Prioress of Holy Rosary Convent Dundee and also Principal of the school where she devoted herself wholeheartedly to the work. Sister Catherine used her versatile gifts of mind and heart for the welfare of the Congregation and the Church. She was an active member of the Religious Teachers’ Committee, the Natal Teachers Societies and the English Teachers’ Association. She also had a keen interest in the local Missions where she spent much of her time.
Sister Catherine’s health was never robust; and up to the time of her death she was assigned to various Convents in the hope of regaining her strength. She also spent long periods in and out of hospital. Her unexpected death on Christmas Day 1971, at Villa Aquinas, Pietermaritzburg, came as a great shock. On the 28th December 1971, her body was taken to St Elmo’s Chapel, Umzumbe. After a concelebrated Mass, Sister Catherine was laid to rest in the Convent Cemetery.
SISTER SACRED HEART CLAVIN (Teresa) who died 1984 aged 85 years professed 55 years
Sister Sacred Heart was born in Westmeath, Ireland on the 18th April 1899. She entered the Congregation on the 25th June 1927 and made Final Profession on the 2nd August 1932. She was the second member of her family to join our Congregation; her sister, Sister Siena having predeceased her in 1950.
For years Sister lived in St Albert’s, Cork, a house for receiving Postulants and later for students attending the University. A number of our own Sisters attended Cork University and lived there as students. Here she endeared herself to all with whom she came in contact by her Dominican spirit of prayer and kindness towards the young students. She was very conscientious, with a strong sense of duty, but never at the expense of peoples’ needs. Sister Sacred Heart was also assigned to Ponsbourne Park for a number of years after the Amalgamation where she helped the West Grinstead Sisters to become “at home” in our Congregation.
The last seven years of her life were spent in St Dominic’s Harpenden, where her Apostolate with the people of the Parish was outstanding. Her great devotions were to the ‘Sacred Passion”, the “Sacred Heart”, Our Lady and the Rosary.
After undergoing a major operation, Sister went to Rosary Priory where she was lovingly cared for by the Sisters. Sister Sacred Heart died on Christmas Day 1984. A big number of Sisters from the local Convents, members of her family and many friends attended Requiem Mass and burial in the Convent Cemetery on the 28th December 1984
SISTER AGNES DAY (Jane) who died 1977 aged 64years professed 45years
Sister Agnes was born in Clara, Co. Westmeath on the 9th July 1914 and entered the Novitiate in Rome on the 8th September 1931. Sister took Final Vows on the 4th August 1936.
Sister Agnes spent short periods in St Dominic’s Convent Ponsbourne Park, St Roses’ Convent Burnt Oak, St Thomas’ Convent Stanmore, but most of her teaching years were spent at St Joseph’s Convent, Launceston. Sister was a strict, but loving teacher, a combination that brought out the best in her pupils. Sister also taught “Catechism” in the parishes of Bude and Holsworthy.
Sister Agnes was elected Prioress of St Joseph’s in 1975, but early in 1977 she was obliged to resign from office having been diagnosed with cancer. In December 1977 she was admitted to Launceston Hospital with pneumonia. She died on Christmas Day, fortified by the Rites of the Church. On the 29th December 1977, her body was removed to the Parish Church of St Cuthbert Mayne for the Requiem Mass, which was concelebrated by six Priests. A number of our Sisters from London and a large crowd of parishioners, pupils and past pupils, together with the Sisters of St Joseph’s were present at the Mass and the interment in the Convent Cemetery.
SISTER LIBORUS LANDWEHR (Bertha) who died 1950 aged 62years professed 35 years
Sister Liborus was born in Oldenburg, Germany on the 24th June 1888. She entered the Novitiate in South Africa on the 10th December 1913 in the twenty-fifth year of her age and made Final Profession on the 11th August 1918.
Sister Liborus was one of those early Sisters who devoted her whole life to building up the young Congregation “at home” and on the Missions, always giving and “not counting the cost”. Even though she suffered from a severe form of diabetes, she worked for as long as she was able for the common good of the Congregation. On the 4th December 1950 she was taken to hospital and on the 27th December 1950, as she was preparing for Holy Communion, she had a heart attack and died. Sister Liborus was laid to rest in the Cemetery at Umzumbe.
SISTER GUZMAN THOMAS (Christina) who died 1979 aged 73years professed 53years
Sister Guzman was born in Dublin on the 22nd February 1906. She entered the West Grinstead Community as a Postulant on the 2nd March 1926, but came to us at the transfer. She finished her Religious Training in Launceston and Rosary Priory and made Final Profession on the 2nd August 1930.As a young Religious she was sent to Villa Rosa, Rome then recently opened and later to Rosary Priory and Ponsbourne Park. In August 1947, Mother Bruno O’Grady (first Prioress General after Mother Foundress) set sail for South Africa with a large number of Sisters. Sister Guzman was one of the group and she remained in South Africa until 1976 where she taught music in many of our schools for several years. Sister remained in Launceston until September 1977 when she was assigned to Rosary Priory.
Sister Guzman had a high idea of the Religious life and was most exact in her work. She suffered from poor health and weak eyesight for many years. Her death came on the 27th December 1979, at 9.30 a.m. as a result of a severe heart attack. Sister was buried after Requiem Mass in the Cemetery at Rosary Priory.
SISTER DE LOURDES WALSH (Katie) who died 1968 aged 82years professed 45 years
Sister de Lourdes was born in Co. Kerry, Ireland and entered the Congregation on the 2nd July 1922, having spent some years in the USA. Sister made Final Profession on the 1st May 1927.
Sister was a very successful commercial teacher; she also spent much of her time preparing young children for First Communion. During the latter years of her life, Sister worked as Sacristan in a number of Convents. During her final illness, in spite of keen suffering, Sister was calm and resigned, being a person of deep faith all her life.
Sister de Lourdes died at St Catherine’s Convent Germiston on the 28th December 1968. Many of the Priests in whose Churches Sister had given devoted service were present at the Mass in St Catherine’s, besides the Sisters and many friends. Her burial took place at St Dominic’s Cemetery Boksburg on the 30th December 1968.
SISTER EUPHEMIA LAYERS (Edith) who died 1980 aged 80 years professed 56 years
Sister Euphemia was born in Heidelberg, Transvaal on the 8th July 1900. Both she and her sister Bertha (Sister Carmel) attended our Convent School at Newcastle and then after working for a while, both girls entered the Novitiate there on the 18th April 1922. Sister Euphemia made Final Profession on the 16th July 1928.
Sister Euphemia remained at Newcastle for twenty years and helped Mother Rose with clerical work and attended to the phone and doorbell. She was known by all the Boarders as “Sister Good News”. When Sister was transferred to La Rochelle she taught in the Primary school for a further twenty-five years with wholehearted enthusiasm. After her beloved sister, Sister Camel’s death, Sister Euphemia was transferred to Durban North where she valiantly carried on serving the Community in many ways.
It was while on holiday with her nephew and niece that Sister suffered a fatal heart attack on the 29th December 1980. Sister Euphemia was buried in Umzumbe near her sister, Sister Carmel, after Requiem Mass attended by the Sisters on the Rand and many of her relatives
SISTER JOAN (Albina) COLLINS (Johanna) who died 1992 aged 62years professed 44years
Sister Joan was born in Kanturk, Cork on the 4th February 1930. She entered the Congregation at Rosary Priory on the 8th September 1946 and made Final Profession on the 1st August 1951.
Sister Joan went to South Africa the same year and was assigned to St Rose’s La Rochelle where she taught very successfully in the school. Sister Joan (then Albina) became Prioress of Benoni Convent, after which she was Principal in Durban North and Mistress of Boarders in Newcastle. When our Sisters withdrew from Port Shepstone, Archbishop Hurley asked for a Sister as Pastoral Assistant and Sister Joan responded to the call to do parish work there. She was a powerful source of strength to the clergy especially in the field of education.
In 1981, the Congregation opened St Lewis Bertrand School on its new site in Blaauwbosh. Sister Joan was asked to teach there and when she went to the local inspector’s office to fill in her application form, the inspectors appointed her Principal. This post Sister Joan occupied officially until a month before her death.
As we reflect on Sister Joan’s life and death we remember her as a person who loved and lived St Paul’s instruction to the Galatians, “When Christ freed us He meant us to remain free…. Serve one another in works of love since the whole of the law is summarised in a single commandment — “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Sister Joan worked with and enabled others to evangelise, this was and is especially evident in the Port Shepstone area and in St Lewis Bertrand School.
Sister Joan was truly a Dominican committed to live and preach the Truth as she reflected on and lived out Gospel values in each place where she was Missioned, but this was especially evident during her years in Blauuwbosh. Her Community, her teachers, her pupils and the people from the rural districts for hundreds of kilometres around knew of her compassion and of her deep concern for justice, peace and the upliftment of people through education.
Sister Joan’s health began to visibly deteriorate in 1991, but her doctor stated that this illness may have begun as far back as 1980. Sister was a remarkable patient, but until two weeks before her death one tended to forget that she suffered a terminal illness.
Sister Joan died on the 29th December 1992. The Church in Blauuwbosh was filled to capacity for her Requiem Mass concelebrated by the Bishop of the diocese, Michael Paschal Rowland O.F.M. Franciscans, Oblates and Consolata Fathers, Sisters from several congregations, teachers, parishioners and friends travelled long distances to pay their last respects to Sister Joan. Afterwards the funeral cortege set out for the Convent Cemetery in Boksburg where Sister Joan was laid to rest on the last day of the year 1992.