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Sisters of the Past

SISTER STANISLAUS Elizabeth Tankey

Profiled November 2011

17 April 1874  -  7 September 1967Stanislaus_Tankey

Elizabeth Tankey was born in Carcoar, NSW, Australia on 17 April 1874 to Catherine and John Tankey. Her father was from China. 
In 1892 aged 18 years Elizabeth went to help the Sisters of Mercy in Mudgee and then returned to the secondary school in Carcoar.
She was invited with two other girls to go to Bathurst for the Public Service Examinations.  While there she met Sisters Clare and Joseph, Josephites from New Zealand, who were seeking new members for their Whanganui foundation.  Elizabeth knew the Links family of Carcoar very well Mary was by then Sister Evangelist in the Whanganui Convent.
These three girls, Elizabeth Tankey, Mary Holohan and Violet Clark, travelled back to NZ with Sisters Clare and Joseph.  After being warmly welcomed by Dean Kirk, they entered the Order on 18 October 1892. They were professed on 2 July 1894 as Sisters Stanislaus, Patrick and Dominic.

Sister Stanislaus taught in the majority of Josephite schools in the North Island, but was remembered particularly in Waipawa, Waipukurau, Levin and Otaki.  She also taught music and many of her pupils remained in touch with her years later.  Stanislaus was a great reader and had great knowledge and wisdom. 

Depression times brought out the strength of Stanislaus’ kindness and practicality.  She would take pupils free in gratitude for parents help around the Convent.  Her care and concern reached out to parishioners and those in need, and she was remembered as being gentle and thoughtful in community.   Sisters felt that Stanislaus was ahead of her times in many ways.  She was very humane, and would ‘over-ride’ the rules when she believed the needs of people or the community members merited it.  In later years, Sisters remember her untiring patience and devotion.Little is known of the family she left behind in Australia.  Sisters remember she had a niece who was an Ursuline Sister there, and she had a niece and nephew visit her.  However she had many contacts with former pupils and friends till the time of her death after 75 years as a Josephite Sister.Sister Stanislaus died at Sacred Heart Convent in Whanganui on 7 September 1967, and was buried at Aramoho Cemetery after Requiem Mass in the Convent Chapel.

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