SISTER XAVIER DUNPHY (Margaret) who died in 1962 aged 65years – professed 44years
Sister Xavier was born in Ballymacarberry, County Waterford on the 30th of November 1897 and entered the Congregation on the 29th of April 1916. Sister made her Final Vows on the 18th of June 1921.
Sister Xavier entered as a postulant in St Dominic’s Academy, Newcastle, Natal and it was there that she taught Commercial subjects for many years. She was then sent to St Joseph’s Convent Launceston, Cornwall, where she showed the same self-sacrificing devotedness. Sister was transferred to Rosary Priory where she acted as House Bursar and later as General Bursar and General Councillor. Sister Xavier was of a child-like disposition, a woman of many parts and wide interests. She did not spare herself where the interests of the Community or the Congregation were concerned and there are many tales told of her of her efforts to provide for the Sisters during the dark days of World War 11.
In November 1960 Sister Xavier needed surgical treatment but her health continued to fail although she carried on with her work, she faced death quietly and calmly and edified all by her heroic endurance and patience; she offered up her sufferings for the Congregation. Throughout her illness her complete trust and confidence in God’s goodness were very evident. Prayers for the Dying according to the Dominican Rite were recited and as Fr Ginns was celebrating Mass for her she breathed her last on the 29th of April 1962 and was buried in the cemetery at Rosary Priory on the 2nd of May 1962.
SISTER BEATRICE THOBE (Agnes) who died in 1954aged 81years – professed 52years
Sister Beatrice was born in Steinfeld, Germany on the 14th of March 1893 and entered the Congregation in Blerik. Holland in January 1914 and on the 27th of May 1914 she travelled to South Africa.Sister made her Final Vows on the 5th of January 1920.
On the completion of her Novitiate, Sister Beatrice was assigned to our Convent
in Dundee and later on to Lennoxton. Sister Beatrice was a gifted Religious always ready to help wherever she could. When her health began to fail she was transferred to St Elmo’s Convent. In March 1980 the doctor advised that she be transferred to St Andrew’s Hospital where she was lovingly cared for by the Sisters, she had every physical and spiritual assistance possible. Sister Beatrice never lost interest in the works undertaken by the Congregation and was always happy to have visits from our Sisters. Devotions to the Blessed Sacrament and to Our Lady were her mainstay all through her life. Sister died peacefully on the 28th of April 1980 and was buried in St Elmo’s Convent, Umzumbe.
SISTER MAURITIA ORTSWERTH (Mary) who died in 1954aged 81years – professed 52 years
Sister Mauritia was born in Berghausen, Westphalia on the 6th of March 1874 and entered the Congregation on the 21st of November 1900. Sister made her Vows on the 27th of June 1902.
Sister Mauritia’s entry on our Register is on Page 6 — an indication that she was one of our very early helpers; likewise it will be noted that there was no probationary period in Temporary Vows and so her full commitment was made after a very short initiatory period. Sister’s whole life was characterised by a great love of the Blessed Sacrament. Her last years on earth were most edifying, in spite of illness and weakness, she spent long hours daily in the chapel. After Community Mass on the morning of Holy Thursday, the 15th of April, Sister became seriously ill and fortified by the Rites of the Church she died on the 27th of April 1954. Sister is buried in the Convent Cemetery, Lennoxton.
SISTER GEMMA BERMINGHAM (Elizabeth) who died in 2005 aged84- professed 64 years
SISTER ANTONINUS CULLINANE (Catherine) who died in 1957aged 70years – professed 53years
Sister Antoninus was born in Cappaquin, County Waterford on the 29th of May 1887 and entered the Congregation on the 9th January 1902 and made her Vows on the 22nd of May 1904.
Sister Antoninus endured the hardships and privations of the early years of the Congregation and all her life she worked generously in any capacity until God called her to Himself fifty-five years later. Sister was a very successful student and teacher and helped the young Sisters with their studies. Sister was a good Religious, painstaking and exact in Regular Observance; she held the Office of Prioress in the Sacred Heart Mission for many years. On the Mission Field Sister Antoninus gave an example of devoted zeal and laboured wholeheartedly for the instruction and Christianisation of the children and their parents.
For several years before her death Sister suffered from ill health which prevented her from teaching but she acted as Bursar and busied herself about the Convent Sister died on the 26th of April 1957 as the Prayers for the Dying were being recited. Sister Antoninus was buried in the cemetery of St Thomas’ Convent, Lennoxton on the 27th of April 1957.
SISTER AGNES O’REILLY (Annie) who died in 1935 aged 45 years – professed 19 years
Sister Agnes was born in Kiltimagh, County Mayo on the 16th of August 1890 and entered the Congregation on the 2nd of November 1914. Sister made her Final Vows on the 5th of January 1920.
Sister Agnes was an exemplary Religious, always helpful, charitable, obedient and prayerful. She was appointed as Prioress of St Catherine’s Convent, Germiston. She always sought necessary permissions in anything that was outside her authority. Sister was an example to those under her care by the order and silence of her Convent, although in poor health she lived the common life and worked to the end. When told that her death was near she was quite resigned and thanked God for all He had given her. He had, she said, given the hundred-fold in this life and she would not wish to remain longer. Fortified by the Rites of the Church and during the singing of the Salve she passed away with the Holy Name of Jesus on her lips. Sister Agnes died on the 26th of April 1935 and was buried in Boksburg cemetery on the 27th of April 1935.
SISTER AMATA GLEESON (May) who died in 1982 aged 92years – professed 67 years
Sister Amata was born in Dublin on the 3d of April 1891 and entered the Congregation 27th of May 1914. Sister made her Final Vows on the 5th of January 1919.
The greater part of Sister Amata’s Religious life was spent in South Africa. She was assigned to Holy Rosary Convent, Benoni where she worked with the Boarders in their Dining Room and Dormitory; she was always most conscientious and pleasant and looked after the children’s needs with love. Sister met with an accident to her foot which caused great pain and prevented her walking except with great difficulty. In 1977 when she visited her family in Ireland it was decided that she remain in England, on her return from Ireland she spent the summer holidays in Rosary Priory, shortly afterwards she was assigned to St Mary’s Convent, Boxmoor. Later Sister returned to Rosary Priory where she was cared for with great love and kindness until further nursing was needed. She was then cared for in the Dominican Nursing Home, Stone where she died on the 25th of April 1982. Sister Amata was a simple cheerful person who loved the Holy Eucharist, her face would light up with joy when the Blessed Sacrament was brought to her. Her sight and hearing were much impaired in her last years but she had the Rosary beads in her hand nearly all the time. At age of ninety- two she was called to her eternal reward and was buried in Rosary Priory on the 28th of April 1982.
Sister Mary Ceslaus McDonnell (Catherine) who died in the 1984 aged 80years- professed 58years.
Sister was born in Valleymount, County Wicklow on December 19th 1904. Catherine McDonnell was received as a Postulant by the West Grinstead Dominican Community. When those Sisters amalgamated with our Congregation she went to Launceston where she received the Habit of St Dominic at St Joseph’s Convent on August 1st 1926. There she made her First Vows on August 2nd 1927. She made Final Profession at Rosary Priory, Bushey Heath on August 2nd 1930.
While in Temporary Vows Sister trained as a teacher with the Sacred Heart Sisters at St Charles Square, London. On completion of her training in 1931 she was assigned to St Rose’s Convent, Burnt Oak and joined the Staff of Sr Catherine Walsh at the Annunciation School which had been opened hi January 31st 1931. There she worked until she was transferred as a foundation teacher to St James’ in September 1934 where she taught until September 1945 when she returned to teach at the Annunciation School until 1947. While a member of St Rose’s Community Sister Ceslaus held the Offices of Bursar and Sub Prioress. She also attended Birkbeck College, University of London, and obtained an Honours Degree. During the War years she gave her services as a Fire Watcher and shared in the hardships and terrors of the war.
In 1947 Sister Ceslaus took up the Office of Prioress at St Dominic’s Priory, Ponsbourne Park.. From there in 1949 she was transferred to St Elmo’s Convent, Umzumbe, South Africa where she served as Prioress, Head Mistress and Bursar until 1964. Sister’s had great empathy with her pupils. During her years in Umzumbe she earned the respect and confidence of the South African Education Authorities. She quickly became fluent in the Afrikaans tongue and was engaged in learning Zulu when, much against her will, she had to return to England having been elected Prioress General of our Congregation. Sister Ceslaus insisted that the Sisters studied and were trained, further she allowed the Sisters every opportunity to gain experience in the field of Special Education to which St Elmo’s School was dedicated. Under her direction the School flourished.
From 1964 to 1975 Sister Ceslaus guided the Congregation through the crucial years of change and renewal following Vatican II She implemented adjustments in dress and mode of Religious Life as directed by the Vatican Documents with great prudence and firmness, yet with a delicacy that showed understanding of the human temperament. To a person of her shy and retiring nature the many demands of her Office was a severe strain. However, her great control and her ascetic way of life, her prayer and her deep faith were her supports. The Sisters found in her a sympathetic confidant and an understanding friend. Utterly loyal, she was brave in upholding what she saw to be right and just and yet she was tender hearted and kind when need called.
Those Sisters who were privileged to live close to Sister Ceslaus learned that her goal was to fashion herself on St Dominic. Like him, in the words of Bede Jarrett, “she had the facility of scholastic memory, readiness of speech and the rapier stroke of argument. She had a tender sympathy for the sick and the physically incapacitated. Well educated herself, she spared no effort to encourage the Sisters to prepare themselves by study and training for their work of teaching in fulfillment of their Dominican vocation. She never neglected any means of keeping herself perfect for her work and urged the Sisters to do likewise. Even during the long days of her final illness she continued her search for Truth.
A year before her second term of Office as Prioress General expired, Sr Ceslaus, because of ill health, requested permission from the Holy See to resign. This request was granted — a General Chapter was held at St Joseph’s Convent, Launceston in July 1975 at which her successor was elected. Sister was then appointed Superior of Villa Rosa, Rome, and took up Office there in November of the same year. Twice within this term as Superior she was compelled to return to England for surgical and medical treatment. At the expiration of her term in Rome she was assigned to St Joseph’s Convent, Launceston. Here she helped wherever help was required. Using her expertise in responding to children with special needs.When not occupied in School she worked in the garden. From her childhood she loved nature; her knowledge of plant and wildlife was extensive. This she shared with the children she taught and with her Sisters whom she was ever ready to help and advise.
In the last two years of her life a chronic heart condition gave cause for concern. In June 1983 Sister underwent a heart operation which was a success. However, in the course of the following months complications set in and her condition deteriorated. She died very peacefully on Easter Tuesday April the 24th 1984 having received the Last Rites from Father Paul O Leary O.P. and surrounded by her Sisters. Requiem Mass was celebrated in Rosary Priory Choir by the Dominican Provincial, Fr Edgar O.P with Father Paul O Leary O.P., Father Brendan O.P., the Bushey Parish Priest and a number of Salvatorian Fathers as Concelebrants. Also present on the Altar was Bishop Cleary of Gambia. Members of Sr Ceslaus’ family and our Sisters. Father Paul O Leary O.P. After the Mass Sister was buried tookin Rosary Priory Convent Cemetery.
SISTER PERPETUA GRIFFIN (Eileen) who died in 1984 aged 59years – professed 41years
Sister Perpetua was born in Friars Walk, Cork City on the 23rd of December 1932 and entered the Congregation on the 11th of January 1951. Sister made her Final Vows on the 1st of August 1955.
When Sister had finished her Teacher Training in Maria Assumpta College, London, she was sent to South Africa where she worked for some years. On her return to England Sister taught in Rosary Priory High School and is remembered as an efficient and cheerful teacher. She was Prioress in Rosary Priory from 1979 to 1982 and during her last year in Office the illness from which she later died manifested itself. However, she always kept herself busy, cheerfully doing each day’s duties as if she enjoyed robust health. Sister was assigned to Oxford in 1988 where she continued her work for St Cecilia’s Guild for the Blind, she was also House Bursar and taught Catechetics to a few local children. During her last illness the Parish Priest visited her regularly bringing her Holy Communion. The Dominican Brethren frequently celebrated Mass in the house for her. Sister Perpetua died in the Michael Sobel Hospice on the 24th of April 1992 and was buried in Rosary Priory cemetery on the 27th of April 1992.
SISTER SIENA CLAVIN (Anne) who died in 1950 aged 54years – professed 31years
Sister Siena was born in Ballymore, County Westmeath on the 29th of March 1897 and entered the Congregation on the 24th of October 1917; she made her Final Vows on the 20th of July 1922.
Sister Siena had a truly Dominican spirit loving the Dominican devotions and the Holy Mass. Sister was a very able student and teacher and her influence for good on the pupils whom she taught was very marked both in South Africa and in England; she was very zealous for the salvation of souls. Although in very poor health, because of a serious heart condition, Sister continued working to the last day of her life. Before retiring on the evening before her death she made the Stations of the Cross. On the morning of April 22nd Sister died in her sleep in Rosary Priory while the Sisters were at Mass. Sister was buried in the Convent Cemetery at Rosary Priory on April 24th 1950.
SISTER LOUIS TURNER (Honoria) who died in 1962 aged 52years – professed 28years
Sister Louis was born at Emmets Terrace, Killarney, on the 17th of April 1911 and entered the Congregation on the 3rd of March 1933. Sister made her Final Vows on the 21st of October 1937.
The greater part of Sr Louis’ life was spent in Rosary Priory where she fulfilled many duties including Sacristan, Portress and Guest Mistress; those duties were carried out conscientiously and Sister edified all those with whom she came in contact. Sister was of a gentle kindly disposition always ready to help others, she set an example of obedience and loyalty to Superiors and no one remembers hearing her say an uncharitable or critical remark.
Sister underwent major surgery for a brain tumour in 1952 and suffered much in subsequent years. At her own request she spent her last years in the convent where she had entered as a postulant and undertook light duties in the Boarding School. Two years before her death she again underwent major surgery and after many months of convalescence returned to St Dominic’s, Ponsbourne Park, where she died on Holy Saturday 21st of April 1962 and was laid to rest in the convent cemetery on the 25th of April 1962.
SISTER DOMINIC LYNCH (Ellen) who died in 1938 aged 92years – professed 58 years
Sister Dominic was born in Middleton, County Cork, Ireland in January 1847 and entered the West Grinstead Congregation in Sussex on the 10th of February 1878 and made Profession on the 5th of May 1880.
Sister Dominic had been one of the earliest members of the West Grinstead Community and was a great help and support to Mother Mary Thomas Colette in the struggles and trials of the young foundation. As a Dominican she was a model of every virtue. She possessed the joyous spirit of St Dominic, and like him, she was always bright and cheerful. Sr Dominic was called to fill many important Offices in the community being entrusted with the training of the Novices to whom she taught the strict practice of regular observance, a love of work and zeal for souls. She was also Superior for many years and ruled wisely and well endearing herself to her community by her patient charity and kindly motherly solicitude for their spiritual and temporal happiness.
After the Amalgamation in 1927 Sister Dominic entered generously into the spirit of our Congregation and was wholehearted in her devotion to our Mother General. The last six years of her life were spent in St Dominic’s Convent. Ponsbourne Park where she edified all by her heroic patience under long illness and her loving charity and consideration for all those who came into contact with her. Her death, like her life, was calm, peaceful and happy. Sister Dominic died on the 20th ofApril 1938 and was buried in the convent cemetery on the 22nd of April 1938.
SISTER PAUL CARNEY (Elizabeth)who died in 2000aged 91years – professed 71years
Sister Paul was born in Thomhill, Kiltimagh, County Mayo on the llth of August 1908 and entered the Congregation on the 19th of July 1927. Sister made her Final Vows on the 2nd of August 1932.
Sister Paul was educated at our school St Joseph’s, Launceston where she first came into contact with the Dominican Charism something which she cherished throughout her life. Sister Paul had a long and fruitful teaching career beginning at the Annunciation School Burnt Oak in 1931 and then at St Rose’s and moving to St James’ at its inception as a Secondary School in 1934. Sister Paul was one of the pioneer Sisters, who with Sister Catherine, walked the new Watling Housing Estate inviting the Catholics to come to the new Catholic School being erected in the Convent grounds. The War years saw her Fire Watching and taking a Red Cross “first Aid to the injured” Course. On retirement from teaching Sister was assigned to St Michael’s Harpenden where she became involved in doing some pastoral work. Finally, in her Eighties Sister came to Rosary Priory where aged ninety-two she died peacefully on the 20th of April 2000, her funeral took place on Friday 28thAprilwhen she was laid to rest in the Convent Cemetery.
SISTER BENIGNA MULDOWNEY (Mary) who died in 1997aged 94years –professed 63 years
Sister Benigna was born in Harristown, Monstereven, County Kildare on the 6th of June 1902 and entered the Congregation on the 25th of March 1933. Sister made her Final Vows on the 2nd of April 1938.
As a young woman Sister Benigna came into contact with one of our Sisters who was visiting Dublin and thus began her introduction to our Congregation. Sister Benigna was assigned to several of our convents where she worked either in the kitchen or the laundry; food was always well prepared and appetising and laundry work was done to a high standard. Sister was very kind to children in need. Sister Benigna died in Rosary Priory on the 15th of April 1997 aged ninety-four years and after Requiem Mass was buried in the Convent Cemetery on the 18th of April 1997.
SISTER OSSANNA PONSGRATZ (Theresa) who died in 1920aged 34years –professed 12years
Sister Ossanna was born in Kirchdorf Germany on the 19th of April 1886 and entered the Congregation on the 6th of November 1906. Sister made her Final Vows on the 21st of April 1911.
Sister Ossanna died at St Elmo’s, Umzumbe on the 17th of April 1920 and was buried the same day in the newly consecrated cemetery at St Elmo’s. Sister Ossanna was the first person to be laid to rest in that cemetery.
SISTER BRIDE O’ DRISCOLL (Eileen) who died in 2012 aged 82 years – professed 64 years
Sister Bride was born in Bandon, Co. Cork Ireland on December 3, 1929. She entered our Congregation on 10th September 1945 and received the Dominican Habit in July 1946. Sister made her profession on 27th July 1946.
The rest of her life was a deep living out of that commitment. She was assigned to South Africa. She travelled by boat with a fairly large group of companions. It took them three weeks to reach their destination. Sister Bride grew to love South Africa and identify fully with it.
Her commitment as a Dominican was lived out in her prayer and community life and in her ministry. She was a very dedicated and excellent teacher and Boarders Mother. Sister Bride taught mainly in St Rose’s La Rochelle; St Pius’ Convent Pietersburg and St. Dominic’s convent Boksburg. She believed in the saying that “a good teacher is like a candle; it consumes itself to light the way for others’’ Having retired from teaching she lived in the community in Benoni for some time. Prayer became more and more important to her in those years and she greatly valued this.
When it was time for her to retire to Marian House she again experienced a period of growth. She enjoyed even more time for prayer and liturgy. During her last illness Sister was lovingly cared for in Marian House by the Community Staff and nurses. Sister Bride died on April 16 in Marian House, Boksburg aged 82years.
On Friday April 20th Sister Bride’s Requiem Mass was celebrated in Marian House Chapel. The chief celebrant was Fr. Michael Morrissey OMI. Frs. Terry Nash and Keith Gordon-Davies concelebrated with him. The Sisters, staff of Marian Houses, nurses and several past pupils were present. After the celebration of Mass Sister Bride was laid to rest in Marian House Cemetery.
SISTER DAMIAN WIRGES (Josepha) who died in 1960aged 86years –professed 44 years
Sister Damian was born in Herchen, Germany on the 27th of May 1874 and entered the Congregation on the 27th of May 1914. Sister made her Final Vows on the 19th July 1920.
Sister Damian was an exemplary Religious, prayerful, obedient and devoted to duty. All those who knew her loved her. Sister was at her post in the workroom on the Wednesday before she died but complained of pain. The doctor was summoned and decided that an operation was necessary. Sister seemed to have been doing quitewell but suddenly her condition worsened and she died on Holy Saturday while theSisters were singing the Salve. Her death, like her life, was peaceful and happy;she was prepared to die and was quite resigned to God’s Holy Will. Sister Damian diedon the 16th of April 1960 at St Dominic’s Academy, Newcastle and was buried in Lennoxton cemetery on the 18th of April 1960.
SISTER IRENE BROWN (VERONICA who died in 1984 aged 62years – professed -34 years)
Sister Irene was born in 87 Blarney Street, Cork, Ireland on the 21st of November 1911 and entered the Congregation on the 1st of October 1948. Sister made her Final Vows on the 26th of July 1953.
Sister Irene spent practically all her Religious Life in Rosary Priory except for a short time in St Joseph’s Launceston. When arthritis set in Sister came back to Rosary Priory where she suffered intensely from the arthritis which progressed to every joint; surgery was carried out many times in an attempt to alleviate her sufferings but the illness was progressive. Sister lived her Religious Life perfectly in spite of her acute suffering and was always present in Choir, or when confined to her room, she followed the Liturgy at the times it was celebrated in Choir. Sister’s prayer life was her first priority but she was able to take her place in school where she taught Music, all her students received Distinction in their examinations; Sister was House Bursar and School Bursar and her work was neatly and accurately done. Sister Irene was always cheerful and approachable and a wonderful example in community life, her kindness and her interest in her Sisters was such that it was always a pleasure to meet her. Sister died in the Peace Memorial Hospital Watford on the 15th of April 1984 and was buried in the cemetery in Rosary Priory.
SISTER CLOTHILDA RINKE (Florentine) who died in 1982aged 84years – professed 58years
Sister Clothilda was born in Kempa, Old Silesia on the 13th of June 1898 and entered the Congregation on the 7th of August 1921. Sister made her Final Vows on the 1st of May 1927.
Sister Clothilda entered the Congregation from Katowice, South Poland. During the sixty-one years as an exemplary and prayerful Religious she was in charge of the kitchen and worked most zealously and untiringly as cook in different communities; fifty-one years in South Africa and ten in England. Sister was a quiet, prayerful, observant and devoted Religious. She always had the welfare of the different communities at heart and gave a very warm welcome to visiting Sisters and their relatives. Sister’s death was unexpected, she was operated on for a perforated duodenal ulcer in Eastbourne General Hospital and after eight days in the Intensive Care Unit she passed peacefully away on April 13th 1982.
SISTER PAULA HANRAHAN (Maisie) who died in 1992aged 81years – professed 59 years
Sister Paula was born in Limerick, Ireland on the 22nd of January 1911 and entered the Congregation on the 8th of September 1931. Sister made her Final Vows on the 4th of August 1935.
When Sister Paula entered the Congregation she was sent to the Novitiate in Rome and it was there that she spent all of her Religious Life. When at the beginning of World War II the Novitiate was transferred to England, Sister and a few others stayed on to look after the house for the duration of the war while enduring the fear and deprivation of foreigners in an occupied city. In the post war years Sister helped to establish Villa Rosa as a Pensione for pilgrims and visitors to Rome. She was very conversant with Italian business methods and as Bursar did all the shopping and other business quietly and efficiently. Sister was also Chantress for many years. When Sister Paula came to England to have a cataract removed it was discovered that she had lung cancer and very serenely she accepted her approaching death and her absence from Rome. Sister was lovingly cared for in the newly renovated Rosary Priory and on Monday of Holy Week the 13th of April 1992 she died and was buried in the Convent Cemetery on Holy Thursday the 16th of April 1992.
SISTER REGINALD O’LEARY (SHEILA) who died in 1996aged 86years – professed 60years
Sister Reginald was born in Friars Walk, Cork, Ireland on the 10th of March 1910. She entered the Congregation on the 29th of December 1919. Sister made her Final Vows on the 14th of January 1942.
Sister Reginald taught in many of our schools throughout South Africa and proved to be a zealous, dedicated and most committed teacher. As a Religious Sister Reginald was a woman of deep faith and prayerfulness, she liked to keep in touch with new forms of piety and had a wide apostolate among friends and past pupils. Sister was in poor health for a few years as she suffered from a stroke in 1993 from which she never fully recovered. Again a week before her death she had another slight attack and was taken to hospital where she died peacefully on April 13th 1996 as a group of Sisters from her community prayed at her bedside. After Requiem Mass in Marian House on the 16th of April Sister was laid to rest in St Dominic’s cemetery-Boksburg.
SISTER ASSISI HENNESSY (Eily)who died in 1961 aged 88years – professed 65 years
Sr Assisi born in Cork, Ireland on the 16th of July 1893 and entered theCongregation on the 27th of May 1914. Sister made her Final Vows on the 3rd of January 1920.
Sister Assisi was one of the famous “thirty postulants” whom Mother Albert took out to South Africa in 1914. When Sister made her Profession she was assigned to Holy Rosary Convent where she took on the responsibility of Boarders’ Mother. Later Sister taught at Pietersburg, Benoni, Newcastle and La Rochelle and was reckoned an excellent teacher. When La Rochelle closed Sister was assigned to St Elmo’s where she endeared herself to all by her wit and good spirits. When her health deteriorated she was admitted to Harding Hospital where she died peacefully on April 13th 1981. Sister had a great devotion to the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacred Passion.
SISTER ALEXIUS O’GORMAN (Hannah)who died in 1961 aged 57years – professed 35 years
Sister Alexius was born in Cappaquin, Co Waterford, Ireland on the 15th of April 1904and entered the Congregation in Launceston, Cornwall in 1920, but because of ill health was obliged to return home for a few years. Four years later, her health restored, she returned to the Novitiate where she was clothed in the Habit on the 21st of July 1925 and pronounced her First Vows on the 25th of January 1917. Sister made her Final Vows on the 2nd of August 1930.
Sister Alexius spent the early years of her Religious Life in St Catherine’s Convent Germiston where she trained to take part in the apostolic work of the Congregation Sister taught in St Dominic’s Boksburg and in St Rose’s La Rochelle where she prepared hundreds of children to receive the Sacraments.
Sister Alexius was of a kindly disposition who endeared herself to all with whom she came in contact. She was an exemplary Religious, prayerful and childlike, self sacrificing and obedient, and her interest in the welfare of the Congregation, and the community to which she was assigned, was edifying and inspiring. Early in 1961her health began to fail and despite excellent medical care Sister died on April 12th 1961. Solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated at St Rose’s Convent, La Rochelle,Sister was buried in the Convent Cemetery at Boksburg on the 14th of April 1961.
SISTER AGNES SOLAN (Dympna)who died in 1990 aged 74years – professed 47 years
Sister Agnes was born in Kiltimagh, Co Mayo, Ireland on the 15th of September 1915 and entered the Congregation on the llth of October 1941. Sister made her Final Vows on the 3rd of August 1946.
Sister Agnes was educated at our school at St Joseph’s Launceston; she subsequently trained as a nurse and later as a teacher. Sister spent many years teaching Business Studies; her typing skills were used in doing some Congregation letters, special Liturgies for anniversaries, commentaries on the Sunday Readings etc. Sister was also Clerk to the Governors.
Serenity was a marked feature of Sister’s community life – even during her last days on earth. Sister was silent, shy and reserved, rather a private person, but those who lived with her will remember her as a Sister who had the gift of Peace. Sister got a severe stroke and died ten days later on the April llth 1990 in West Herts Hospital, Hemel Hempstead. Her funeral Mass was in Boxmoor Convent followed by burial at Rosary Priory on the 18th of April 1990.
SISTER ALPHONSUS Mc MAHON (Mary) who died in 1933aged 63years – professed 43 years
Sister Alphonsus was born in Kilrush, Co Clare, Ireland on the 4th of February 1871 and entered the West Grinstead Community on the 6th of March 1889. Sister made her Final Vows in January 1896.
Sister Alphonsus came to our Congregation when the West Grinstead Sisters amalgamated with us in 1927 and was a true Religious in every sense of the word. Sister was noted for her spirit of prayer and resignation to God’s Holy Will as well as her loyalty to her Superiors and her fidelity to her Rule. Sister’s prompt obedience was a striking characteristic during the whole of her Religious Life, she died in Hertford Hospital on the April llth 1933 and the following day was buried in the cemetery at Rosary Priory.
SISTER CATHERINE WALSH (Teresa) who died in 1984 aged 90 years – professed 43 years
Sister Catherine was bom in Bohola, Co Mayo, Ireland on the 1st of November 1894 and entered the West Grinstead Community on the 30th of August 1913. Sister made her Final Vows on the 30th of April 1921.
Sister Catherine did her teacher training at La Sainte Union College, Southampton. When we opened St James School, an all age Voluntary Aided School, in Burnt Oak in 1931, Sister Catherine was appointed as Head Teacher and remained associated with the school until her retirement in 1961 at which time the School had expanded to a Roll of over one thousand students. The education provided opened up opportunity for students to enter the professions and follow higher studies in many fields; many of the boys became priests and Sister Catherine always showed them a caring supportive role. Cardinal Heenan presented Sisterr Catherine with the Papal Award Pro Pontifice et Ecclesia when he celebrated her retirement Mass at the School.
Sister Catherine had a warm personality combined with a strong Faith, great courage and clear vision. Sister’s retirement years were spent in St Thomas’s Stanmore and later at Rosary Priory. She died in Bushey Hospital on the April llth 1984 and was buried in Rosary Priory cemetery on the 13th of April.
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SISTER ANGELA DALY (Susan) who died in 1958 aged 85years – professed 63 years
Sister Angela was born in Killmihill, Knockmore, Co Clare, Ireland on the 28th of February 1874 and entered the West Grinstead Community on the 17th of March 1893. Sister made her Final Vows on the 24th of June 1900.
As a member of the West Grinstead Community Sister Angela held the Offices of Sub-Prioress and Novice Mistress. When in 1927 the Community petitioned for amalgamation with us Sr Angela became a member of our Congregation and spent some years at St Joseph’s Convent, Launceston where she held the Offices of Mistress of Boarders and Sub-Prioress. The last years of her life were spent at St Dominic’s Priory, Ponsbourne Park.
Sister Angela was a holy and prayerful Religious of a gentle and amiable disposition. She was devoted to duty and was much loved by the Sisters with whom she worked and the children whom she taught. She was in failing health for some time and during the last months of her life she suffered frequent heart attacks. Sister died on April 10th 1958 as the Sisters were singing the Salve Regina. After Requiem Mass on the 12th of April, Sister Angela was laid to rest in the Convent Cemetery at Ponsbourne Park.
SISTER CATHERINE JOHNSTON(Rosaleen) who died in 2006 aged 96 years – professed 76 years
Sister Catherine was born in Belfast on the 27th of January 1910 she entered on the 17th of October 1928.The name Catherine was given to Rosaleen when she received the Habit on the 1st of August 1929 and on the 19th of December 1930 Sister pronounced her first vows.
At various times Sister Catherine was assigned to Ponsbourne, Burnt Oak, Stanmore and Storrington. She carried out her teaching work as a vocation to which she gave her skill in erudition compassion and encouragement in her contact with all her students. She was respected as a very high principled person, very well read and when asked was generous with her advice and time; she saw where there was a need and helped many Sisters by granting them a listening ear.
On retirement from teaching in the classroom Sister went to Villa Rosa in Rome where she took on responsibility for meticulously carrying out tasks in the Pensione but it was in her knowledge of the sights to be seen and directions of how to get there that she was a mine of information. It meant so much to tourists to have an understanding “safe” helper to whom they could chat; it was her mission to enlighten just as it had been in the classroom. In community Sister contributed a placidity of ease and approachability, in Choir she had a true singing voice and was faithfully present at the recitation of the Divine Office, always, even in her 96th year when daily the Carers brought her to the Chapel in her wheel chair. Sister Catherine was always kind and caring and even though she had been very frail for some years she bore that limitation with equanimity. Placidity was the keynote of her life. Sister was called home on the 8th of April 2006 and her funeral took place on the 19th of April, when, after Requiem Mass she was laid to rest in the cemetery at Rosary Priory. May she rest in peace.
SISTER LIMA CROOK (Marie Louise) who died in 1943 aged 49 years – professed 25 years
Sister Lima was born in the parish of Westminster, London on the 11th of January 1894 and entered the Congregation on the 29th of November 1916. Sister made her Final Vows on the 18th of June 1921.
Sister Lima had been twenty-five years professed and during the last nine years of her life had been in poor health owing to a nervous breakdown; she died in Pietermarizburg hospital on the April 8th 1943 and was buried in Umzumbe cemetery on the 10th of April 1943.
SISTER ALACOQUE RYAN (Mary Esther) who died in 1985 aged 49 years – professed 64 years
Sister Alacoque was born in Dublin, Ireland on the 26th of April 1900 and entered the Congregation in Launceston on the 24th of October 1917. Sister made her Final Vows on the 24th of September 1923.
Sister Alacoque went to South Africa in 1921 and first taught in Lennoxton, Newcastle from where she was transferred to Benoni and later to La Rochelle. It was in Port Shepstone that she spent the remainder of her active life, teaching, working and praying. Her life was one of total dedication to God, to her Sisters and to all with whom she came in contact. She was a very caring person who made people feel at home by her courteous words and generous hospitality. It could be said that no one went away from her without having been touched spiritually by her graciousness.
Sister Alacoque retired from St Elmo’s at the end of 1972. During her last years she patiently and cheerfully accepted the crippling infirmity of arthritis without complaint until her very peaceful death on the April 8th 1985.
SISTER SCHOLASTICA DOYLE (Kathleen) who died in 1987aged 101years – professed 79 years
Sister Scholastica was born in Regent Street, Bagnalstown, Co Carlow, Ireland on the 10th of March 1886 and entered the Congregation on the 16th of September 1906. Sister made her Final Vows on the 21st of April 1908.
Sister Scholastica spent the greater part of her Religious Life in the Academy Newcastle where she taught Chemistry, French and Art. During the War years (1939-1945) she was Vicaress of the South Africa Region. She performed her duties in this capacity wisely and serenely in those difficult times when communication with the Superior General, Mother Rose, was well nigh impossible.
When Sister Scholastica was assigned to England in the 1950s she was Prioress in several Convents even though she was in indifferent health. Sister spent the last years of her long life in Rosary Priory and for many of those years she was a helpless invalid, and even though she was blind and deaf she lived in the presence of God. The Sisters who nursed her testify to her patience, courtesy and gratitude and her sense of humour. Sister died in Rosary Priory on the 7th of April 1987 aged 101 years, she was buried in the Convent Cemetery.
SISTER ELEANORA PRILLER (Marie) who died in 1997 aged 95 years – professed 73years
Sister Eleanora was born in Landshut in the diocese of Regensburg, Bavaria on the 7th September 1902 and entered the Congregation in Slerik, Holland on the 23rd of July 1922. Sister made her Final Vows on the 16th of July 1928.
Sister was educated by the Benedictine Nuns in Germany; from her father she imbibed a great love of nature and she never lost her keen interest in the wonders of God’s creation. Her quiet sense of humour endeared her to all. During her sixty-four years at the Academy she lived a life of prayer and willing service to others be they other Sisters in her Community, pupils in the large Boarding School, local missionary priests or domestic staff. Sister had a gift for artistic work and mechanics. The Historic Tower of the Academy had a special chiming clock made in Bavaria which Sister attended daily, winding the huge weights and oiling the mechanism. In later years she was responsible for the running of the large laundry with its steam pressure boiler and pressers. In spite of her many tasks Sister was always friendly and approachable. She had a great spirit of prayer and was always concerned about the welfare of others. The last seven years of her life were spent at the retirement Convent of Marian House where she was glad of the opportunity for more time for prayer and spiritual reading. Sister died on the 7th of April 1997 and after Requiem Mass on the 11th of April was laid to rest in the Convent Cemetery in Boksburg.
SISTER THOMAS MAGIN (Anna) who died in 2001 aged 91years – professed 61 years
Sisterr Thomas was born in Forst, East Germany on the 6th of January 1885 and entered the Congregation on the 27th of July 1912. Sister made her Final Vows on the 14th of April 1917.
Sister Thomas’s family were wine growers in Forst, Rheinphalz, Germany and were very generous benefactors to the Congregation. Sr Thomas was a great missionary doing pioneer work at our African Mission at Umsinsini on the South Coast of Natal. She often went out on horseback to the Out Station only returning to the small Convent at Umsinsini at the weekend. Sister visited the kraals, helping the sick and dying and at times baptising if there was no time to bring a priest. Sister spoke Zulu fluently and taught in the Sacred Heart Mission School we developed there.
Later Sister Thomas was transferred to Lennoxton when it became St Louis Bertrand African School. Sister was appointed Novice Mistress to the African girls who entered with us in Lennoxton and who hoped to become members of our Congregation. Afterwards, when those girls were sent to an African Congregation, Sisterr Thomas was appointed Boarders’ Mother to the African schoolgirls; those girls loved and remembered her with affection. When, owing to the Group Areas Act, Lennoxton had to be closed Sister was assigned to St Dominic’s Academy and although she was nearly eighty years of age she made herself useful in the house. Much of her time was occupied in writing out references and certificates for numerous past pupils of St Louis Bertrand’s who wanted to improve their positions and were delighted to chat in Zulu with a Sister they had known so well. The Africans affectionately called her “Ma Thorn”.
Sister Thomas was a very grateful, cheerful Sister with a delightful sense of humour. She had a great spirit of prayer and was especially devoted to the Blessed Sacrament and to Our Lady. Towards the end of her very long life of ninety years she became more and more feeble but used to laughingly say: “These old legs won’t go any more.” Some months before her death, she fell and broke her hip. She died in the hospital at Harding on the 6th of April 1975. Sister was buried in Umzumbe on the 8th of April 1975.
SISTER COLUMBA BURKE (Julia)who died in 2001 aged 56 years- professed 25years
Sister Columba was born in Castletown, Co Mayo, Ireland on the 10th of March 1886 and entered the Congregation on the 27th of May 1914. Sister made her Final Vows on the 24th of December 1920.
Sister Columba’s name in religion was originally Columcille. Sr Columba had a great spirit of prayer. For some years she had been in indifferent health; she died a very peaceful death in the Sanatorium, Johannesburg, on Easter Sunday morning the 5th of April 1942. Sister was buried in the Convent Cemetery, Boksburg.
SISTER JOAN DAVIS (Ellen) who died in 1969 aged 74years- professed 48years
Sister Joan was born in Drimdoolan, Castlerea, Co Roscommon, Ireland on the 26th of June 1895 and entered the Congregation in Launceston on the 9th of March 1920. Sister made her Final Vows on the 23rd of February 1925.
Sister Joan spent the greater part of her life in Rosary Convent, Dundee where she cared most lovingly for the Junior Boarders. Sister had a gentle refined disposition and passed her time in silent prayer as she carried out her duties. The last few years of Sister Joan’s life were years of great pain. Sister died on Holy Saturday 5th of April 1969 having been fortified by the Rites of Holy Church, she was buried in Lennoxton on the 7th of April 1969.
SISTER SABINA COADY (Mary) who died in 2001 aged 87 years – professed 69 years
Sister Sabina was born in Bagnalstown, Co Carlow, Ireland on the 29th of January 1914 and entered the Congregation on the 30th of January 1931. Sister made her Final Vows on the 13th of November 1936.
Sister Sabina entered the Novitiate in Rosary Priory but was soon sent to the newly opened Novitiate in Villa Rosa Rome, and in 1933 she sailed via the East Coast for South Africa where she spent the rest of her Religious Life. Sister’s first assignment was to St Dominic’s Newcastle, followed later by Lennoxton, Umzumbe, Benoni, La Rochelle and Germiston. Sister was a dedicated teacher loved by all, involved in outdoor sport and soccer coaching. She was always a woman of prayer with a love for the Eucharist, she read intelligently and was interested in every department of the house and grounds. Sister spent the last eleven years of her life in Marian House and despite increasing ill health was at Mass daily until the week before she died on the 3rd of April 2001. Following the concelebrated Mass for her and for Sr Salvatore she was interred in the Convent Cemetery in Boksburg.
SISTER BARBARA NOLAN (Nancy) who died in 2009 aged 72years – professed 53 years
Sister Barbara Nolan was born in Ballinaskill County Galway Ireland on 20th April 1937. She entered the Novitiate in July 1954 received the Habit on 2nd February 1955 and made Profession on 3rd February 1956.
Sister taught in our schools at Eastbourne, Rosary Priory and Burnt Oak. Her subjects were Religious Studies, English and Art. She was a conscientious teacher who took an active interest in the spiritual and temporal needs of her pupils. This was much appreciated by staff, pupils and parents. She particularly liked taking part in educational visits abroad which she and her pupils thoroughly enjoyed. Her love of Art permeated every aspect of her life. When Sister Barbara retired from teaching she was assigned to St. Anthony’s Parish Edgware where she worked as Catechetical Co-ordinator. Her deep faith and trust in God were an inspiration to all who came into contact with her. She was faithful in visiting the sick and housebound who appreciated her time with them.
Sister celebrated her Golden Jubilee of Profession in April 2006. This was a source of great joy for her. During her long illness she was lovingly cared for by the Edgware Community and latterly by the Rosary Priory Community assisted by Carers. She retained her mental faculties’ right to the end of her life and was present at Mass and Community exercises daily until shortly before her death. A week before her death Sister was admitted to the Peace Memorial Hospice in Watford where the Sisters were constantly at her bedside, there, fortified by the Rites of the Church she died peacefully on 2nd April 2009 and returned to her Lord whom she had served so faithfully. Sisters Requiem Mass was celebrated at Rosary Priory on 15th April 2009. Sister was laid to rest in Rosary Priory Cemetery.
SISTER SALVATORE BYRNE (Mary)who died in 1950 aged 77 years- professed 55 years
Sister Salvatore was born in Rosettenville, Johannesburg, on the 6th of September 1923 and entered the Congregation in Newcastle on the 3rd of January 1945. Sister made her Final Vows on the 4th of January 1946.
Sister Salvatore was a very dedicated teacher loved by pupils, parents and staff; she held the post of Principal in various schools: Primrose; La Rochelle; Germiston; Durban North and the Academy, Newcastle. As Principal, Sister Salvatore worked enthusiastically to preserve the Catholic ethos of the school. Religious Education and Liturgy were central to the curriculum; she was gifted musically and trained the pupils to participate in Drama and School Choirs.
Sister Salvatore was the driving force behind the establishing of Holy Rosary Clinic in Blaauwbosch, she also organised the “Feeding Scheme” at St Dominic’s Academy. In spite of ill health and disabilities Sister accomplished much. She was a woman of prayer who internalised the Dominican motto: “To contemplate and pass on to others the fruit of one’s contemplation.” Sister Salvatore passed away quietly on the 1st of April 2001 after a knee operation in Clinton Clinic. There was a concelebrated Requiem Mass in Marian House for Sisterr Sabina and Sister Salvatore and they were buried in the convent cemetery in Boksburg.