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Sisters of the Past

Sister Malachy - Rosanna McLaughlin

Profiled in Aug 2009

13 May 1890 – 20 September 1982


Rosanna McLaughlin was born on the West Coast of the South Island on 13 May 1890 to John Ireland, a labourer, and his wife Mary Jane, nee Diamond.  Sisters remember her tell of the shock of the Murchison earthquake which occurred in 1929 near her home.

Rosanna entered the Sisters of St Joseph in Whanganui on 6 August 1924 and was professed two years later on 20 January 1926, taking the religious name of Malachy.
In 1932 Sister Malachy was missioned to Waverley and remained there as a community sister for five years.   She then spent three years in Feilding and eight years in Ohakune, after which she returned to the Sacred Heart Community in Whanganui, where she was to minister to sisters, boarders and visitors for the next 32 years.

Sister Malachy had begun, and returned to, her life long ministry of providing the home and community care for the sisters and boarders at Sacred Heart Convent in Whanganui.  She became known and loved by all for her hospitality and care for those she lived and worked with and for those visiting.  Her management of the large refectory for sisters, and dining room for boarders was carried out methodically and unobtrusively.  She was always happy to be interrupted in her chores by others, and a cup of tea would be quickly provided.  When all the sisters came back to Sacred Heart in Whanganui at Christmas time, Malachy would lead a team of younger sisters to help her bring in loads of extra crockery and cutlery.  She supervised the whole operation with military precision.

Malachy managed the heavy tasks of carrying large containers of milk and food, despite being rather delicate in health.  She was also an expert seamstress and tailoress, and made many of the habits and veils for the sisters.  Her kindness was a mark of her community life, and she was also remembered for her love of playing cards.

Malachy died on 20 September 1982 at Sacred Heart Convent in Whanganui.
Requiem Mass was celebrated for her in St Mary’s parish Church, and she is buried in the Aramoho Cemetery.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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