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Sisters of the Past


Profiled December 2010

9 June 1894  -  28 May 1975 loyola_ahern.jpg

On 9 June 1894, Mary Ahern was born in Otaki, to Edmund, a contractor from Ireland and his wife Maria, nee Bourke, also from Ireland.  Mary had three sisters and a brother Pat, who later lived in Otaki.  One sister later became Mrs Bevan and lived in Inglewood, Margaret lived in Wellington, and Beattie lived in Palmerston North.

Mary boarded at Sacred heart Convent and then trained as a school teacher.  She entered the Sisters of St Joseph in October 1918.   At her profession on 29 March 1921, she took the name of Sister Loyola.  By 1929 Loyola was teaching primary school children in Levin, beginning more than 40 years in this ministry.  At the same time she was doing some university papers. She taught in almost all the Josephite schools around the lower North Island, particularly in the smaller rural areas.

Sister Loyola was a tall and imposing woman, highly intelligent and a good teacher.  Her pupils
were fond of her and she produced great displays of their work.  She is remembered also for teaching the boys football.

Probably the outstanding quality that Loyola was known for was her love of the poor, and she was particularly sensitive to the needs of families.  Though rather independent and sometimes difficult to relate to, Loyola had a great sense of humour.

Sister Loyola died at Sacred Heart Convent on 28 May 1975.  Requiem Mass was celebrated in the Chapel at Sacred Heart Convent and she is buried at Aramoho Cemetery.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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