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Sisters of Today

Sister Noelene Landrigan

Profiled in July 2006 (updated April 2013)landrigan

I entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St Joseph on March 19th 1960 and taught for 25yrs in rural and city primary schools Levin, Manaia, Ohakune, Mahora, Waipukurau, Taihape, Mairangi Bay, Aramoho, Otaki, and St Mary’s, Whanganui. In my classroom I loved to teach Taha Maori, music, art and the big four ‘R’s reading, writing, arithmetic and religion.

During the 60’s and 70’s I studied widely and worked my way through attitudinal changes towards myself and my role in the church, the purpose of religious life, and questions of justice.

In 1986 I went to the Columban Missiology Seminary, Sydney, to study and renew my energy and commitment. Creation and liberation theologies, justice and ethical issues and biblical studies were timely.  Being amongst lay and religious men and women from around the world was an inspiration.

On return I was missioned with a community of Sisters to a neighbourhood called Onepoto, a state housing estate in Northcote, Auckland. There I took on the roles of whanau support worker, running holiday and after-school programmes, administration and fund raising for the Community House Projects. This was the time when the Network of Justice for priests and religious became an important part of my development and led to my involvement with the Josephite Network of Justice.

By 1990 my concern about the state of the environment led me to explore the principles of permaculture, join an eco-village research group, and explore the spirituality and insights of cosmologist, Brian Swimme, and geologian, Thomas Berry.
Moving in environmental and social justice groups in the community and sharing “New Visions” at the Auckland Peoples’ Centre created the opportunity for me to work in partnership with the Bradford Family and Fr Peter Healy sm at Kingfisher Farm, Wellsford, in 1994.

During the next nine years a wide range of people from the grass-roots worked together to develop and support Kotare Trust, a Research and Education Centre for Social Change. Spiritually, this was a time for me to connect deeply with the land and creation, to get to know manawhenua and to become conversant with local history. Whenever I can, I return to this small group of very committed visionaries, and I value the nourishment and challenge the Kotare community gives me.

Since 2002 I have been living at Mt St Joseph, Whanganui, where my ministry has been in the continuation of efforts in Eco/Justice and practical work establishing orchards, gardens and the wetland valley on the property, Te Punanga Ripo. My official roles have been as a member of the Sisters of St Joseph Congregation Trust Board and as one of the Coordinating Team for the Sisters.

At present, I am a member of the Josephite Ecology Group which includes representatives from most regions where Josephites work - Australia, New Zealand and Peru. With others we offer eco-justice workshops, website articles and general encouragement to our members to move deeper into an ecological conversion required of all humanity now and into the future.

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