Sisters of Today

Sister Veronica (Von) Witton

Profiled in September 2003 (updated March 2013)veronica_witton

Waipukurau, a rural town in Central Hawkes Bay, was my birthplace.  The youngest of a family of nine, I remember with gratitude and love the simple things we enjoyed in a friendly town.  I attended St Joseph’s Primary and Secondary School staffed by the Josephite Sisters, and for me this was a happy learning place.

A strong attraction to religious life led me to begin training at Mt St Joseph Novitiate in Wanganui on 8 December 1949.  Following this I taught in primary schools throughout the North Island and loved it.  In 1983 I was privilege to spend a year in Australia at a residential course “Towards a Spirituality in Ministry”.  We were given a choice to spend 6 weeks away from our residence experiencing a new ministry.  I chose Calvary Hospital in Kogarah west of Sydney.  I spent time with the patients each day and this confirmed for me what I felt called to do on my return.  In 1986 I trained for 3 months at Porirua Hospital while completing my Clinical Pastoral Education, and in 1989 I was appointed to Waipukurau Hospital as a Catholic chaplain.  This was a very special time and in my home town as well. Any ministry is two-way.  I give, but receive in abundance, as so many share their lives with me in trust.  I found in our area a need for grief support, so with others we set up a monthly gathering where people could feel supported knowing they were not alone.  In 1994 I received the Civic Award for Voluntary Community Service in the District.  In 2002 I retired, and the Apostolic Blessing was conferred on me by our parish priest.

I came to Whanganui after concluding my work in Waipukurau, and moved into a flat in Campbell Street where other Sisters were also living.  I took the opportunity to involve myself in music by joining the Lyric Singers, and by helping out at ‘Mainly Music’ for pre-schoolers.

In 2012 I moved into Quinlan Court, and from here I continue to be part of the local Parish and community.   In 2013 I celebrated the 60th anniversary of my Profession.

I thank God for the wonderful life I have been given, and following the changes to religious life after Vatican 2 I feel ‘fully alive’ and able to enjoy the many opportunities available to me as a member of the Sisters of St Joseph.


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