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Sisters of the Past

SISTER THEODORE - Dora Helena Edney

Profiled July 2010

26 July 1906  -  7 June 1980theodore_edney.jpg

Dora Helena Edney was born in Auckland on 26 July 1906 to Kenneth Oscar, and his wife Minnie, nee Marsh.  Dora had two brothers, John and Eric, and one sister.   Her sister died in Whanganui Hospital at a fairly young age.    Dora was always very proud of her brothers both of whom married, and one lived in Aramoho, Whanganui. 

Dora grew up in Whanganui, and eventually worked at Dustins, a well-known bakery in the city.  She was an avid reader and when she became a Catholic, it was said that she had read herself into the Catholic Church.  When she desired to become a religious Sister, she sent a brief note to the Sacred Heart Convent to ask if she could enter and work in the kitchen.

Entry to the Sisters’ Community for Dora was on 30 January 1935, and she made her Profession as a Sister of St Joseph on 23 January 1938, taking the name of Sister Theodore. Theodore worked in and around the kitchen in various branch houses for some years, but eventually she began to teach primary classes.  She was remembered as having a very good rapport with the children. 

Sisters’ memories of Theodore all recall her love of reading, as she spent much of her free time with books.  She was at ease with people from different backgrounds, and particularly liked to converse with people from other church backgrounds.   She was a broadminded woman with a direct, no-nonsense, open manner.  Those who lived with her found her a good companion.   She loved vegetable gardening and used to make little newspaper hats to cover the plants from the Taihape frost.  She was also an excellent knitter, sometimes using home-spun wool for the garments she created.

In later years Theodore spent several years in Taihape where she was very well known and an active member of the local town community.   When she became ill and was in the local hospital, many of her friends were concerned for her and felt she should be in Whanganui.  However Theodore had wanted to remain in Taihape, and she died in the hospital there on 7 June 1980.  

The Mass of Requiem for Sister Theodore was very well attended by the local community, and her nephew, a nurse at Lake Alice Hospital, read the Scriptures.  Theodore was buried at Taihape Lawn Cemetery.




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