Sisters of Today

Sister Liz Hickey

Profiled in January 2003 (updated April 2013)liz_hickey

My childhood years were spent on my family’s dairy and sheep farm. One of a family of seven children, my primary schooling was at the small country school at Kohi. Later, I boarded at Sacred Heart College, in Wanganui. The influence of my teachers stands out for me. Being rather ‘slap dash’ with my work, my teachers challenged me to become more careful and diligent.

The first thought of a call to religious life, came to me at the age of 14 years. I was interested in the Sisters’ concern for children and their families. However, I was to train as a teacher and teach for three years in Taranaki, before joining the Sisters of St Joseph at the age of 22. I came to a community of Sisters of St Joseph in Wellington, where I began my ‘formation’. I was the only one of the Sisters to have her Novitiate in Wellington where I attended lectures with novices from other religious orders.

I have taught children in schools from Wellington to Auckland.  In the late 1980’s I trained for community work and joined a number of voluntary agencies. With Sisters Margaret Hurley and Frances Wallace, I established and operated an emergency house for families in Wanganui.  This work helped me develop a special feeling for those at the margins of our society.  A social work placement at Felix Donnelly College Tuakau in 1998, gave me first-hand experience of young people with severe emotional and behavioural difficulties.

I am now able to combine teaching and social work, working as a Resource Teacher of Learning and Behaviour (RTLB). I have worked in schools in Manurewa in South Auckland,  and currently  I do the same work in Palmerston North.   This position involves working with referred students, their families, teachers and other agencies, to find the best outcomes.  It also involves school and city wide systems work including providing professional development, mentoring schemes, operating Special Needs Coordinators’ networks, special projects such with schools and early childhood centres around transition to school.

Celia Lashlie, former Manager of Christchurch Women’s Prison, in speaking of working with children at risk, advises teachers:
“Your job is about going in and finding the magic that sits inside these kids. Your job is about bringing it out and letting it flourish”.

I see this very much as a Josephite ministry in companioning others in our shared journey towards wholeness and fullness of life. My chosen whakatauki or proverb for my RTLB practice is:
‘Poipoi te kakano kia puawai’ meaning ‘Nurture the seed and it will flourish’

I work collaboratively with teachers, parents and others. I am supported by my dedicated and talented RTLB colleagues.  In my life journey, I am learning to understand  and to appreciate more fully, the connectedness and strength of being part of our community of Josephite Sisters.

Another whakatauki that guides my way is

‘Ehara taku toa I te takitahi, engari ko taku toa ko te takikotahi’

‘My strength does not lie in working alone. Rather my strength lies in working with others’

Gallery / Whakaahua

Members Login