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Sisters of the Past

Sister Stephen Anabelle Henderson

Profiled February 2012

3 December 1896  -  9 June 1967

Anabelle Henderson, born 3 December 1896, was the daughter of Elizabeth, nee Moonlight, and William John Henderson.  She was born in Reefton.

Little is known of her early life apart from the fact that she did her nursing training and eventually was Matron of Belverdale Hospital in Whanganui.
She became friendly with Sister Agnes Dalziell and through her came to know the Sisters of St Joseph. 

She became a Catholic, and entered the Sisters’ Community a year later on   21 February 1930.  She was professed on 23 January 1933, but was dispensed from her vows and left in 1940.

She applied several times to return to the Sisters, and was finally accepted in March 1941, making her profession on 23 March 1943 as Sister Stephen.

Her ministry from then on was to carry on her nursing in the Sacred Heart Infirmary for a period of eight years.  It was probably during this time that the Infirmary was set up at Sacred Heart.  Here sisters were nursed, and a small theatre dealt with minor operations. Stephen went from there to nurse Sister Dympna O’Donnell in Waipukurau.  She spent nine years in Hastings, and it was during this time that her sight began to deteriorate.  She returned to Whanganui in 1966.

Sisters remember Stephen as the professional woman she was and a tall commanding presence.  She had a total commitment to those in her care, and as would be expected, mixed easily and happily with the local medical fraternity, mainly the Doctors Christie.  She had a beautiful alto singing voice.

Sister Stephen died on 9 June 1967.  Her Requiem Mass was celebrated in Sacred Heart Chapel and she was buried in Aramoho Cemetery.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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