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Sisters of the Past


Profiled May 2011

9 September 1877  -  5 November 1972augustine_hurley.jpg

In November 1870, Jeremiah Hurley married Annie O’Sullivan at the Catholic Chapel of Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland.  Both were schoolteachers – Jeremiah taught at the Tralee Poor Law Union School in Tralee.  A son, Daniel Joseph was born to them in 1871, and then in June 1872, with the help of a Government subsidy, they set sail for New Zealand. 

Soon after arrival Jeremiah began teaching - in Kaiwharawhara, Upper Hutt and Trentham.  Anne was born on 9 September 1877, and later another daughter, Kathleen, but the son had died soon after their arrival.  Annie’s mother died while the children were young, and they were taken in by Jeremiah’s brother Daniel and his wife Bridget.  Her father married Eva Lynch in 1880.  She gave birth to a son, also named Daniel, and five daughters.
The family moved to a farm at Kuku near Ohau.  When the Marist Fathers needed land for a church, a corner of the farm was given, and the family worshipped at St Stephen’s Church built there.

Annie and her sister Kathleen were sent to board at Sacred Heart Convent in Whanganui, and on completing her schooling Annie entered the Sisters of St Joseph on 7 March 1896.  She was professed as Sister Augustine on 21 January 1898.

Sister Augustine became a very gifted teacher, and used her talents in music and the arts to instruct many hundreds of children. 
During her 76 years as a Sister of St Joseph, Augustine held many positions of responsibility including that of Mistress of Novices.  She was the foundation Superior of Feilding (1906) Taihape (1916) Convents, and a founding member of the Mangaweka (1922) Convent also.  She spent an initial ten years as head-teacher in Feilding and then returned as principal for six years in 1938.  She also taught at Waverley, Hastings, Waipukurau, Plimmerton and Otaki.  Her last appointment was to Otaki where she endeared herself to the Maori people.

Kathleen, Augustine’s sister, also entered the Sisters and was professed as Sister Agatha in 1901, and died in 1952.  Her brother Daniel became a Marist Priest.

Augustine died in Otaki on 5 November 1972.  The respect and loyalty of her many former pupils was much in evidence at her funeral Mass held in the local parish church.  As a mark of the esteem in which they held Sister Augustine and her family, the Maori people placed a mat over the coffin, and sang several of the hymns during the Mass.  The casket was carried up the Pukekaraka Hill nearby, where Sister was buried near some of the pioneer Sisters and clergy.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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