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Sisters of the Past

Sister Rosalie - Honora Mary Roche

Profiled in December 2009

30 April 1891 20 February 1982

Rosalie-Roche.jpgHonora Mary was born into the well-known Taranaki Roche family on the 30 April 1891, to Annie nee Sheahan, and Michael.  Annie, and Michael a policeman, had both been born in Limerick, Ireland.  Honora was born in New Plymouth, and had three sisters, and at least one brother, Michael who became a policeman.   Catherine became Josephite Sister Anthony, Nellie became Mrs Comber, and May became Mrs Keegan.

Honora became a teacher, and while living in Hawera she used to cycle out to Normanby to teach in the Primary School there.  On wet days the train would stop and both Honora and her bicycle would be given a lift to school.

On 23 September 1914, Honora entered the Sisters of St Joseph in Whanganui, and she was professed on 27 January 1916.  From then on she was known by her religious name of Sister Rosalie.  As an already practicing teacher she moved easily into the Catholic Primary School system and she became known as an excellent teacher.  Her ministry took her to many of the Josephite Primary schools in the lower North Island, and endeared her to her thousands of pupils.  As well as her classroom teaching, she also taught singing and piano, and was well remembered in Whanganui, Hastings, Waipukurau, Hawera and Ohakune.

Rosalie was a woman of great personality and integrity, and highly gifted.  She had deep faith with a fine sense of priorities.  Her love was all-embracing, she was dedicated to her pupils and friends, and she had a keen sense of humour.  Many of her pupils kept in touch with her throughout her long life, remembering her gentleness, her patience, and the genuine love and understanding she had for each child.  As another Sister remembers, “There was a bigness about Rosalie she couldn’t be concerned with anything petty.”

Rosalie’s younger sister Catherine also entered the Josephite community and became Sr Anthony.  She had three nieces in the Josephites Sisters Rose, Tarcisius and Anne Keegan, and her two Keegan nephews were priests Fr Peter a Redemptorist, and Fr Bernard a Diocesan priest.

Sr Rosalie died on 20 February 1982 at Sacred Heart Convent after a short illness.
Her nephew, Fr Bernard Keegan, celebrated her Requiem Mass in St Mary’s Church and she was buried at Aramoho Cemetery.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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