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Sisters of the Past

SISTER AGATHA - Catherine Hurley

Profiled August 2011

 17 February 1875  -  26 May 1952agatha_hurley.jpg

Wellington, New Zealand was the birthplace of Catherine, daughter of Jeremiah Hurley and his wife Annie, nee O’Sullivan, on 17 February 1875.

Jeremiah had been a teacher at Tralee Poor Law Union School in Ireland and had married Annie, also a school teacher, at the Catholic Chapel of Tralee on 5 November 1870.  Their first son Daniel was born before they set sail for NZ in June 1872.  After arrival Jeremiah became a teacher in Kaiwharawhara, and in 1879 moved to a new school at Trentham.

Catherine was born in 1875, and her sister Annie in 1877.  Their older brother Daniel died soon after arrival in NZ and their mother Annie also died while they were still young. They were cared for by Daniel and Bridget Hurley, brother and sister-in-law of Jeremiah, until he was remarried to Eva Lynch in 1880.  His son from the second marriage he also named Daniel , and he had five more daughters.  Young Daniel was born in 1883 and later became Fr Dan Hurley sm and Provincial of the Marist Order in Australasia. In his later years, Jeremiah Hurley gave the land at Kuku near Otaki for the building of a church.

Catherine and Annie were boarders at Sacred Heart Convent in Whanganui.  When she left school Catherine entered the Sisters of St Joseph on 25 April 1899, three years after her sister Annie, who became Sister Augustine.  She was professed on 4 February 1901, taking the name of Sister Agatha.

Agatha was a primary school teacher and house sister, and was a foundation member when the School and Convent were opened at Waipukurau in 1926.  She also taught at Waverley, Mangaweka and Patea.

Agatha was remembered as a very gentle woman who was very placid and accepting of life’s difficulties.

Sr Agatha died in Whanganui on 26 May 1952.  Her funeral was held at Sacred Heart Convent and she was buried at Aramoho Lawn Cemetery.

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