Final farewell to Sister Paula Brettkelly (MNZM) - September 08

paula-brettkelly.jpgThe death of Paula Brettkelly on 31 August brought to an end a long period of living courageously with cancer for the past several years.  Paula died in the Aubert Home of Compassion, Whanganui, having left her home in Pukerua Bay some weeks previously.  She had spent time in Hospice and at Nazareth Rest Home.

A Vigil Service was held at Mt St Joseph, Whanganui on the evening of 2 September, and there family and friends shared their memories of Paula.  The Funeral Mass was held at St Mary’s Church, Whanganui, on 3 September, with a large congregation, many of whom had traveled from afar to attend.

In leading the eulogy at her funeral Mass, Sr Catherine Shelton passed on Paula’s wish to thank the members of her four ‘families’ – her blood family, her religious family, the Gay family including the NZ Aids Foundation, and her family of friends.  Speakers from each ‘family’ shared how Paula had gifted them in so many ways, and offered their own poroporoaki.  Bishop Peter Cullinane spoke of Jesus message of unconditional love – a message that Paula had lived out in her life and ministry.

 Paula’s death brought forth a number of press items speaking of her involvement with the wider community in the field of HIV/Aids and Human Rights, as well as being an ardent advocate for justice and care of the earth. 
NZAF executive director Rachael Le Mesurier said Sister Paula fought discrimination and stigma faced by those with HIV and Aids.  “She was the one who stood beside them and held their hands.  A truly remarkable New Zealander.  She worked with extraordinary humility.”
“She showed great warmth, courage and wisdom throughout long years of illness,” said her friend Chief Human Rights Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan.  “I would put her down as one of New Zealand’s great human rights campaigners.”
“Her love was driven by a powerful faith – she had no tolerance for discrimination, for injustice, for inequalities,” said Hon Mrs Tariana Turia MP, Co-Leader of the Maori Party.


Paula’s eco-friendly casket is shown being carried to her final resting place in Aramoho Cemetery by her sister, nieces and nephews.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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