Sisters of Today

Sister Kristine Keane

Profiled in September 2005kristine_keane

Greetings. I'm Kristine, sharing with you something of the ministries that have been an expression of my commitment as a Sister of St Joseph. First though, a little of my early life. My parents farmed for 26 years in Whangaehu then shifted into Whanganui when I was ten. I thus left the familiarity of my country school and was plunged into convent school life at Holy Infancy with the Sisters of St Joseph. Little did I know that they would become my second family. That realisation emerged slowly through four years at Sacred Heart College as a persistent ‘knowing' and a strong feeling of ‘at homeness' with the Sisters that beckoned me to join them. This I did after I finished College and was given the name Christine which I later changed to the Scandinavian Kristine a happy connection with my Danish heritage.

I must admit that the thought of teaching never crossed my mind until after entering the Novitiate I found myself embarking on study for Teachers Certificate followed by a Degree. However, I enjoyed my thirty years of teaching in a variety of places with classes ranging from primary through to secondary and with various responsibilities along the way. I am mindful of the hundreds of children I've had in my care and continue my ministry of prayer for them.

For a ten-year period from 1977, I was involved in Administration and in 1982 took up residence at Mt St Joseph where I was responsible for the secretarial work of the Congregation. Nazareth was being built at this time and for one eventful year my ministry extended as liaison person to all the workmen involved on the site. Later, when Nazareth was up and running, I spent two years helping to care for our ‘oldies'. All in all these were colourful years ministry-wise.

‘ Where to next ?' By 1987, we were encouraged to consult more about such a question. After much thought, I came, with Barbara Cowan, to live in Palmerston North and then considered ‘ What next ?' Through the Red Cross, I began an ‘accompanying' ministry to a very special man who for 35 years had been confined to a wheelchair. I learnt a lot from Bob about patience and courage. Our home became a centre for young parents who were keen to experience new forms of liturgy our kitchen became a play-school for numbers of little ones! At this time, Barbara and I established the Secretariate for the National Network of Religious for Justice and Peace. We organized over an 18-month period the Oceania Forum of Religious, enabling 45 participants from Pacific countries to gather at Hato Petera College . Two women's groups, Sophia and Athena, met regularly in our home, and in 1993 we organized the Herstory Conference which celebrated the centenary of the New Zealand Suffrage Movement.

When asked recently to describe my ministry I said, ‘Jill of all trades'. Looking back over my array of ministries past and present, I think it's a fair description. I'm aware of the words of a wise friend who said: “ I always have a ministry. I may be out of a job, but I'm never without a ministry as long as there's a person in my life.' I find that encouraging, don't you?

Gallery / Whakaahua

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