Sisters of the Past

Sister Casimir - Myrtle Winefred Cleghorn

Profiled in April 2010

18 September 1890  -  5 March 1980

casimir_cleghorn.jpgPahiatua, a small town in the centre of the North Island was the birthplace of Myrtle, to Miriam nee Matthews, and Arthur Cleghorn.  Miriam was born in Dublin and came to NZ as a child.  She and Arthur, a carpenter, had eight daughters, then three sons. 

On 24 June 1914, Myrtle entered the Sisters of St Joseph, and when professed on 27 January 1916, she was known as Sister Casimir.  One of her older sisters, Mary, had entered the Sisters in 1908, and became Sister Bernard.  Myrtle had found it difficult leaving her home, particularly her father of whom she was very fond, and later said she missed the enjoyment of dancing.

Sister Casimir became a primary school teacher, and thus her ministry took her to many of the Parish Schools staffed by the Sisters in the lower North Island.  She was a foundation member of the Convent and School in Waipukurau in 1926, and remained there for 10 years. She then moved to other areas until in her retirement years she moved to the Convent at Gonville, a suburb of Whanganui, where she spent her last ten years.

The Sisters’ memories of Casimir recall her blue eyes, her quiet and gentle manner, and how hard-working she and Sister Bernard were.  She had a keen sense of humour and a niece remembers her always including a joke in letters to the family.  Casimir always spoke kindly of others, was much loved by her pupils and their parents, and was a regular visitor to the sick and elderly in the various parishes.  She had a love of the garden and kept a large one at Gonville.

Sister Miriam Prior, a niece of Sisters Casimir and Bernard and daughter of their sister Bessie,  entered the Josephite community in 1949.

Sister Casimir died on 5 March 1980 at Sacred Heart Convent in Whanganui.
Her Funeral Mass was celebrated in St Anthony’s Parish Church, Gonville, Whanganui, 
and she is buried in Aramoho Cemetery.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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