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Sisters of Today

Sister Therese Devon

Profiled in February 2003 (updated March 2013)therese_devon

I was born in Wellington, but when I was two years old my family left Wellington for Pukerua Bay. This was during the depression and my father was able to obtain work there.  Being an only child I spent some time alone, but I remember feeding hens and playing on the beach with other children.

We returned to live in Lower Hutt near Wellington when it was time for me to start school. My mother was in very poor health.  My schooling with the Sisters of the Mission was interrupted by the polio epidemic each child was given a time to go to school to have work checked and the reading programme monitored by our teacher.

At her age of sixteen I began to think about religious life as a Sister, but my father said I was far too young.  It was then I followed my dream of becoming a dressmaker.  I was lucky to gain a place with an exclusive firm in Wellington, "Marie Louise" in Manners Street.  I loved the challenge of learning to match and mix colours how to lay patterns and cut material economically sewing, finishing, and using sequin and bead work.  As I finished my apprenticeship I once more thought about religious life.

I used to visit my cousins at the Home of Compassion and it was there I felt God was really calling me.  But I knew the Sisters of Compassion were not for me.  I looked at other Orders in Wellington and continued working, visiting, and praying. I enjoyed YCW (Young Catholic Workers) and other social activities.  In 1952 we visited my aunt, Sister Bertille at Sacred Heart Convent, Wanganui.  Twelve months later I entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph.  My novitiate was at Mount Saint Joseph where we were trained for both religious life and teaching.

I have taught in many Josephite Primary Schools from Otaki to Taranaki and Hawkes Bay.  In 1981 I went back to Otaki and worked between school and parish.  It was an insight into mission when I went on the road with Father Frank Wall SM.From Otaki I went to live in Puhoi, North Auckland where another Sister and I worked in the parishes of Warkworth and Wellsford.  I enjoyed working in the rural areas visiting families in some very isolated places, preparing children and their families for sacraments, plus visiting sick and elderly parishioners.  We spent many hours on the road.  I returned to Wanganui in 1990 after my companion’s sudden death and took a pastoral position in a local parish.  1993 saw me heading for Australia to do a renewal course at Baulkham Hills, Sydney.  There I got to know better our Brown Josephite Sisters.

On my return to New Zealand in 1994, I joined Christian Social Services, working with people who have few choices.  I taught women sewing and I also helped out with the Friendship meals at local churches.  I was involved with Age Concern and was an Accredited Visitor for Rest Home visiting.  I enjoyed visiting residents at Nazareth, New Vista, and the Home of Compassion.

In August 2010 I moved into Quinlan Court.

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