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Sisters of the Past

SISTER BEDE - NOELINE LESLIE MOFFAT

Profiled in February 2010

2 January 1923 - 24 January 1981

bede_moffat.jpgNoeline Moffat (known as Pat) was born on 2 January 1923 to Otto Cyril Cuthbert Moffat and his wife Agnes, nee Gunn.  They lived in Rangiora South Canterbury.

Pat worked in Feilding, having taken over from her mother as housekeeper for the Parish Priest Fr Michael Broughton.   She was remembered for her love of animals and was often seen out riding horses.   It was there in Feilding that she came into contact with the Sisters, and she was fully supported by Fr Broughton in choosing to enter the Sisters’ community.  When visiting Whanganui, she was advised to have a good holiday first.  This she did in Taranaki with the Bourkes, family of Sr Francesca.

Pat entered the community at Sacred Heart Convent in Whanganui on 31 May 1953, and was one of the initial group of novices to train at Mt St Joseph in Hillside Terrace away from the main convent.  She was professed on 23 January 1956, and took the religious name of Bede.  She remained in Whanganui as a community sister doing much heavy work in kitchen and laundry until 1964 when she spent a year in Levin.  The following year she began primary teaching in Hastings.  From there she moved to Whanganui, Mairangi Bay in Auckland, Feilding, back to Hastings and to Auckland. 

During this time she developed her talent for oil painting and she continued to paint even when her health failed her.  Her paintings now grace many homes, as well as the large number in the possession of the Sisters.   At one time she had a painting accepted for the national Kelliher Art Competition.

In 1979 Bede, following a great desire for contemplation, received permission to transfer to the Carmelite Sisters in Auckland.  She entered on 12 February 1980, and was received as a Carmelite Sister on 19 March 1980. However during surgery in May of that year cancer was discovered, and she returned to Sacred Heart in Whanganui where she was cared for until her death 8 months later.  Later, the Carmelite Sisters had Bede’s Carmelite habit made into a vestment and, in her memory, presented it to the Sisters for the Chapel.

Bede was a quiet and industrious woman who remained humble and simple under the most trying of circumstances.  She had an innate joyfulness about her, and though often misunderstood, she was always most forgiving and generous.

On 24 January 1981, Sister Bede died at Sacred Heart Convent.  Her funeral was held in St Mary’s Church and she is buried at Aramoho Cemetery

Gallery / Whakaahua

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