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Sisters of Today

Sister Anne Burke

Profiled in August 2005 (updated March 2013)Anne Burke

My early life was spent on a farm just out of Feilding in the Manawatu region, the eldest of eight.  We had a great life the usual fun and hard work of a large family.  I attended the Sisters of St Joseph Primary School, then went on to a small Mercy Sisters' Secondary School in Palmerston North.  After three years there I had a year at home, and the following year I began work at the Department of Agriculture Seed Testing Station in Palmerston North.  I really enjoyed the work and company there, as it tied in with my love of plants.

After about 18 months there, I chose to enter the Sisters of St Joseph Novitiate in Wanganui.  Even then teaching was beckoning possibly a result of being surrounded by younger children most of my life!  Part of our new beginning in religious life was taking a new name, and I chose Marie Therese.  I kept that name until in 1974 I reverted to my Baptismal name, much to my parents' delight.  I gained my Teaching Certificate and began my teaching ministry in the local Wanganui schools.

From the outset I loved teaching and being with primary aged children.  I moved to schools all round the lower North Island, and was principal of several.  Many of the schools were small, and there was a strong connection between parish and school life, which led to a strong community base.  They were times of growth in our schools more lay staff members, new religious curricula, and the move towards integration with the state system.  There were the challenges and fun of extra-curricular activities, such as camps, gymnastics, music festivals, calf days, fancy dress balls.  But central to all was the joy that came with helping to open up a new world for a child, or seeing a pupil discover and develop a strength or talent.

In the late 80's I was asked to be part of the administration work of the Sisters and moved back to Wanganui where I have remained since.  As well as this new ministry within the Sisters' community, I was able to do some counsellor training, and be involved with local Budget Advice and Christian Social Services.  I became involved in the early stages of our work for the aged in Nazareth Rest Home, and was on the staff there in Pastoral Care for several years.  In that time I was blessed in coming into contact with many gracious and wise elderly people, and their families.

I am now coming to the end of another term of Co-ordinated leadership of our Congregation, and I am a mentor for a woman discerning her pathway to Josephite life.  I continue my involvement with our ecological projects and our care of the grounds at Mt St Joseph Whanganui.
Looking back on my life so far, I can only be grateful for the many people who have crossed my path or walked part of the journey with me.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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