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Celebrations for Jubilarians - 21 January 2013

Six Sisters of St Joseph celebrated with family, friends and parishioners at St Mary’s Church in Whanganui on 21 January 2013.  
For Sister Justin Collins it had been 80 years of professed vowed living, for Francesca Bourke 70 years, Von Witton and Mary McKenna had completed 60 years that actual day, and for Noelene Landrigan and Catherine Shelton it had been 50 years since their profession.

Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated by friend of the Sisters, Fr Peter Healy SM, assisted by priests of the parish.   All Josephite Sisters renewed their vows together before the homily in which Fr Peter drew attention to the qualities of their patron St Joseph  - “the father who treated his son as if he were the Son of God”.

Sisters Justin, Noelene, Francesca, Catherine, Von and Mary gather to cut the Jubilee cake.

The celebrations continued for all in St Joseph’s Parish Hall after the Mass.  While sharing afternoon tea and cutting of the Jubilee cake together, all were able to enjoy a Power Point acknowledging  significant times in each Sister’s life.  Golden Jubilarians Sisters Noelene and Catherine were both teachers, -Noelene initially in the primary schools, and Catherine in secondary and tertiary institutions.  Noelene moved on to working with and for those in disadvantaged areas.  With others, she began and led Kotare Trust a Centre for Social and Educational Change.  Catherine studied overseas and worked professionally as a psychotherapist, as well as carrying on her educational role with parishes, tertiary institutions, and religious congregations.  Catherine is also the Congregational Archivist.  Noelene continues her work of practical and educational promotion of ecological justice.  Both Sisters are at present in Congregational leadership roles and Catherine has recently relinquished her role as President of the Australia New Zealand Federation of Sisters of St Joseph.

The two Diamond Jubilarians, Sisters Von Witton and Mary McKenna began in different areas of the Josephite education ministry.  Von taught for many years in primary schools, while Mary’s practical catering skills had her heading the  kitchen, cooking for large numbers of boarders and Sisters at Sacred Heart College in Whanganui.  Mary moved on to catering  for Retreats and Conferences, then at Marcellin Hall in Auckland.  Von’s work in the schools led her to further ministry as a parish worker and hospital chaplain.

Platinum Jubilarian Sister Francesca began her 70 professed years as a Sister of St Joseph teaching in primary then secondary schools.  She was chosen early to be part of the leadership of the Congregation, and for a time during that period of more than 20 years, was also President of the Australia New Zealand Federation of Sisters of St Joseph.   She ministered as a parish pastoral worker in Central Hawkes Bay, and also was involved in hospital and prison visiting.  Fran is an active member of the Quinlan Court Retirement Complex and St Mary’s Parish community.

Rarely does a Congregation celebrate an Oak Jubilee, but Sr Justin Collins at 100 years of age has now marked 80 years a religious.  Justin taught for many years in primary and secondary school, as well as being a music, speech, and drama teacher.  After a year’s ministry with the Sisters of St Joseph in Tasmania, she spent time managing the household arrangements for the Papal Nuncio in Wellington.  Justin makes the very most of each day at Nazareth Rest Home and has long been a welcoming presence to new residents.

These women took seriously the Josephite saying “Never see a need without doing something about it” - true daughters of Joseph, following in the footsteps of Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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