Sisters of the Past

Sister Vincent - Frances Cullinane

Profiled September 2011

23 March 1877  -  26 January 1970vincent_cullinane.jpg

23 March 1877 was the birth date of Frances, daughter of Ellen, nee Barry, and John Cullinane.  John, a farmer, and Ellen had emigrated from Ireland.  Frances is known to have had at least two sisters and two brothers. One sister Katie and a brother Tim, both unmarried, lived on St John’s Hill near Sacred Heart Convent later in their lives.  Some part of Frances’ school days were spent at Upokongaro, a small country school near Whanganui, but most of her schooling was as one of the earliest pupils of the Sisters of St Joseph.
On 2 January 1895, she entered the Sisters of St Joseph, and was professed on 18 January 1897, taking the name of Sister Vincent.  In those early days of the Sisters, Vincent was associated with some of the foundation members of the newly formed order in Whanganui.

Vincent was a gifted and talented woman, and she spent most of her years as a religious in Whanganui, with one year in Waipawa.   At Sacred Heart Convent for most of her life, she taught art and produced many artworks herself.   She was sacristan, caring for the Chapel and preparing for Masses and other celebrations, and here her floral decorations were legendary.
Boarders’ duties for her included the dispensing of pocket money, and running stalls to raise money.  Often her artworks were sold, but more often they were generously given away.

With a warm outgoing personality and indefatigable energy, Vincent took a ready interest in people from all walks of life.  Hundreds of past pupils kept in touch with her throughout her long life.  She was very versatile and ‘go to Vincent’ was often the response to a problem or difficulty that someone had.   Her ready sympathy and listening ear made her a ready confidante of Sisters, pupils and friends. 
In her latter years she would sit outside near the grotto where she could see and speak to all those who passed by.  A fall earlier in life had necessitated her use of a built up shoe and a walking stick.

Sister Vincent died at Sacred Heart Convent on 26 January 1970 aged 93.  Her Requiem Mass in the Chapel, celebrated by the Parish Priest Fr Jesse Kingan SM, was attended by a large crowd which included past pupils and friends.  She was buried at Aramoho Lawn Cemetery.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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