Sisters of the Past

Sister Enda - Frances Josepha Brown

Profiled in January 2010

24 February 1897 28 March 1982

enda-browne-3.jpgFrances Josepha Brown was born in Granity on the West Coast of the South Island on 24 February 1897.  Her father, John Connell Brown, was a mine manger who came from Newcastle in England.  He married Mary O’Gorman, and they reared a family of five daughters and one son. 

Frances received her secondary education at Nelson Girls’ College and from there went on to attend Wellington Teachers’ College.  In 1919 she entered the Sisters of St Joseph in Whanganui, where she was professed on 9 March 1921 taking the name of Enda.  She was appointed to teach in Manaia that same year, then to Taihape, and on to Hastings where she remained until 1937.  In 1938 Enda was appointed Bursar of the Congregation, and lived at Sacred Heart Convent in Whanganui.  She held this position until 1953 when she was elected Superior General of the Congregation for a period of 6 years.  For a further 12 years she was a member of the General Council, and six years of that time were spent in Hastings.  In 1971 Enda transferred to Taupo where she lived until her death there on March 28 1982.

All the positions of responsibility that Enda held, she fulfilled with outstanding zeal and excellence.  Yet it is true to say that she is remembered and revered not so much for her skill in teaching or for her business acumen or even for her wisdom in authority, but for her simple understanding of everyday things in the lives of everyday people, and for the constancy and depth of her own personal spiritual life.

She was gifted with a keen and retentive memory.  Once having met people, she rarely failed to recognize them again and to remember them by name; more than that, she could unravel family connections to the outmost branch of a family tree.  She showed at all times a warm interest in people and in their concerns.  Widely read, she continued to keep herself informed on local, national and world events, and could make engaging conversation at any level.  At the same time nothing was too ordinary to be unimportant to her, whether in the life of the church or in the civic life of the community.

For Enda, people were the Christ she served; her pupils, her own family, her personal friends, her business contacts, the lonely, the deprived, the sick, the imprisoned.  For all of these to the last week of her life, she spent herself with that sincerity and directness that characterized her.  Her own life of prayer and confidence in God enveloped all with whom she associated.

Sister Enda appreciated to the full the gift of life given her.  She respected and rejoiced in the gift of life given to others.   She died in Taupo on 28 March 1982, where her Mass of Requiem was celebrated in the Parish Church.  She is buried in Taupo Cemetery.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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