Sisters of the Past


Profiled November 2010gonzaga_coles.jpg

16 March 1898  -  14 June 1975

On 16 March 1898, Gladys Coles was born to William Edward Cole and his wife Minnie Frances, nee O’Neill.  William was an Englishman and Minnie from Ireland, and they lived at Onga Onga in Hawkes Bay.  Gladys was sister to Dorothy, Edward, Lavinia, Vernon, Ruth, Meta, and Audrey.
Her father William was a builder and rebuilt the Waipawa Catholic Church after the original church burnt down.

Gladys entered the Sisters of St Joseph in Whanganui on 4 April 1923 and was professed on 19 January 1925, taking the religious name of Gonzaga.

Sister Gonzaga’s ministry was in music teaching and her first years were spent in Hawera.  After 15 years she moved to Hastings, briefly to Waverley, and then to Waipukurau before her last 15 years at Waipawa.

Gonzaga was an excellent piano teacher, having been taught herself by Sister Fidelis.  Her dedication meant that she usually obtained first class results with her pupils.
She was warm and compassionate in community, and had a good sense of humour.  As well as her music teaching she usually did the housework and cooked for the communities she lived in.

Her sister Dorothy became Sister Camillus in the Dominican Order, Edward lived at Tutira, Lavinia was Mrs McLaughlin of Napier, and Vernon lived at Springhill.  Ruth, Meta, and Audrey, Mrs Keehan, predeceased her.

On 14 June 1975 Sister Gonzaga died at Waipukurau.  Her funeral Mass was held in St Patrick’s Church, Waipawa, and she is buried in the Waipawa Cemetery.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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