Sisters of the Past

Sister Veronica - Florence Kathleen Rogers

Profiled in October 2009

14 March 1920 – 28 September 2009

veronica.jpgWhanganui was the birthplace for Florence Kathleen, daughter of Arthur Henry Rogers and his wife Margaret Mary nee Cooper, on 14 March 1920.  She had an older half sister, Helen, later Carter-Grahame, and a younger sister Elsie, later Carruthers.  Her father was Deputy Mayor of Whanganui for a time and later the family owned an hotel in the city.  Later again they moved to Aramoho.

Florence, known as Biddy, attended the ‘Villa Maria’ School, then St Mary’s at Hurworth, and later on to Sacred Heart Secondary School.  Her favourite subjects there were History and Geography.

She came to know the Sisters of St Joseph at an early age, as her aunt, her mother’s sister, had entered the convent in Whanganui years before she was born. The family visited Sr Benigna once a month on visiting day and so many of the Sisters were known to her.  After school she worked in a department store and as a dental assistant for some years.  She was accepted in to the Sisters of St Joseph just as World War 2 was starting – on 21 April 1941 – and was professed on 21 January 1944.
Now Sister Veronica, she was appointed boarder mistress at Sacred Heart College Whanganui very soon after she was professed, and remained at Sacred Heart for some years. In holiday times she worked in the Infirmary.  Taihape was the first branch house Veronica was appointed to, and then she moved on to a number of schools in various places until 1970. Again for a short period she was back with the boarders in Whanganui. From there she took on the catering and cooking at Sacred Heart Convent.  She served as superior for the community in Gonville and Ohakune.
In 1980 Veronica became assistant chaplain at Wellington Hospital for a period. She was then appointed housekeeper at Cardinal Williams’ residence, Viard.  Six years later she retired, and spent her time in voluntary work with ARLA, Citizen’s Advice, Age Concern, visitation and telephone ministry for shut-ins and other elderly.
Veronica was a quiet, steadfast woman known for her commonsense and practical skills.  She acknowledged that she did not feel her talents were in teaching but perhaps in another era she would have trained as a nurse.  She enjoyed handwork, and was an expert in sewing which she taught at Sacred Heart.
In 2001, she realized a life-long dream in being gifted a trip to London where she visited the site of her grandfather’s coach building business in Oxford Street, and the Guildhall where as a master craftsman he would have had membership.
Veronica became unwell early in 2009, and after a time in Wellington Hospital, came to Nazareth Rest Home in Whanganui.  She died peacefully on 28 September 2009.  After an evening Vigil in the Nazareth Chapel, Mass of Requiem was celebrated the next day by her friend Monsignor Charles Cooper in Sacred Heart Chapel on 2 October 2009.  Veronica is buried in Aramoho Cemetery.
In Veronica’s words:
“My gratitude to the Congregation for accepting me is very great and deep. To live with others striving to live out the vision of Julian and Mary, and to be supported by the love and fellowship of my Sisters taking up the challenge daily is all part of the hundredfold. I find gratitude a small response.”

Gallery / Whakaahua

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