Sisters of the Past

Sister Austin - Myrtle Kearns

Profiled in June 2008 

3 August 1906 10 February 1988

AustinKearns.jpgBorn in Hastings, Myrtle Kearns was the daughter of James, a labourer from Ireland,  and Ellen Kearns, nee Wells.  She had one sister Myra, and four brothers, Frank, Barney, James and John.

At the age of 18 she entered the Sisters of St Joseph in Whanganui, and took the saint’s name of Austin.  She was professed in 1926, and spent many years in the teaching profession.  Her ministry placed her at different times in Whanganui, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay, Manawatu, Horowhenua and King Country, bringing her in contact with many hundreds of people.

Austin shared her talents in music teaching, and in the extensive visiting she undertook.  In her visiting and companionship with those suffering, bereaved, or in any other need, she reflected peace and joy.  In the Sisters’ communities where she lived she was a welcome and hospitable presence.  She was a dedicated gardener, and delighted in growing vegetables for the Sisters or to give away.

She was proud of her Catholic heritage, her values and her commitment to religious life, and longed for the world to be a better place for all.  Tolerance and openness helped her to see change in the church, Religious life, society as part of God’s plan, even though she did not always understand.

Austin was very much her own person.  She held fast to her own views, but was able to respect the different opinions of others.

Austin had been part of the Feilding community and when she became ill she moved to Nazareth Rest Home in Whanganui where she died on 10 February 1988.  Requiem Mass was celebrated in St Mary’s Church, Whanganui, and she was buried at Aramoho Cemetery.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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