Sisters of the Past

Sister Therese - Nellie McWilliam

Profiled in February 2008

5 May 1902 3 March 1987

 Although she was born in Palmerston North, Nellie and her family were living in Whanganui when she entered the Sisters of St Joseph on 14 June 1923. She had one brother, Laurie.

Taking the name of Therese at her profession on 25 January 1925, she began her ministry mainly in music teaching. Over the years Sister Therese spent time in many of the Josephite Schools in the rural areas of the North Island, and in a number of those communities she was the superior. She also served the community as Mistress of Novices in the 1950’s, leading the young women aspirants towards profession.

Sisters remember Therese as a quiet yet very determined woman ‘gentle but firm’ some would say. She was kind and thoughtful; some saw her as reticent. One sister recalls her thoughfulness in going out and buying her a warm new cardigan to replace an old one she felt was not good enough. In her time in Patea, her elderly father became a great concern to her as he lived alone and was not coping. She had a spare room in the school made into living quarters for him, and cared for him there for some months. This was in addition to her responsibilities as superior and music teacher.

In her latter years she became a resident of Nazareth in Whanganui, and died there on 3 March 1987. Requiem Mass was celebrated for her in St Mary’s Parish Church, Whanganui, before burial in Aramoho Cemetery.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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