Sisters of Today

Sister Frances Wallace

Profiled in May 2005 (Updated March 2013)Frances_Wallace

I was born in Wanganui in 1937, the fifth child in a family of eight.  My parents were Dick and Doreen (Dolly) Wallace, and they were caring parents who wanted the best for us.  The first four children were born in Depression time at Kai Iwi just north of Wanganui.  Then my parents bought a ten acre farmlet at Westmere the year before I was born.  My primary schooling was at the school there, just over the paddocks from home.  It was a great place to grow up in.

Secondary education was at Sacred Heart College Wanganui.  My parents made many sacrifices to ensure that we received a good education.  At the end of the third year I was asked if I would be a teacher help at St Monica's School in the town.  This suited me as I always wanted to be a teacher.

I worked with the sisters there, and also enjoyed athletics, tennis, and a little skiing.  I intended to wait until I was 21 to do a teacher’s course that was then available.  However before that happened I realised I had a call to religious life, and in 1958 I entered.  In 1960 was professed.  Then I began studying for my Teacher’s Certificate by correspondence.

Over the years I taught in both primary and secondary schools.  In the 1960’s I taught mainly in three Wanganui Catholic Primary Schools.  I then moved to Otaki, Plimmerton, two primary schools in Hastings and then Hawera.  In 1971 it was back to Wanganui to St Joseph’s.

I then went to Sacred Heart College, and taught Forms 3&4.  In 1976 I went full time to Massey College to finish the degree I had started.  From 1977 to 1980 I taught at Tenison College Hastings, till it closed, when I returned to Sacred Heart, Wanganui.  In all schools I was always coaching sport netball, hockey, athletics, swimming, and as I loved the open spaces, I often went on camps as the camp cook.

After two years in Australia the first doing a renewal course, I returned to Wanganui.  A few years later I qualified as a counsellor.  I also did relief teaching in State schools and worked in voluntary organisations such as Women’s Refuge, Pregnancy Counselling, and Industrial Chaplaincy.  I also lived at Te Kainga Wairua, a house for Maori People, and with two other sisters in a house providing emergency accommodation.  This social work opened my eyes, and I am thankful I had this experience.

After 14 years of counselling it was time to close my practice.  In 2004 I was diagnosed with cancer.  I had treatment, but unfortunately other health issues arose and I needed to leave the home I shared with Marcienne and our little dog Scruffy.  I am now a resident of Nazareth Rest Home in Whanganui.

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