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Sisters of the Past

Sister Ephrem Mary Bridgeman

Profiled February 2012Ephrem_Bridgeman

20 May 1892 14 January 1967

On 20 May 1892, in County Mayo, Ireland, Mary Bridgeman was born to Bridget, nee Corbett, and her husband John.  She was known to have had at least two sisters and two brothers.

At some stage Mary, her sister Margaret and brothers emigrated to New Zealand, and on 14 July 1917, Mary entered the Sisters of St Joseph in Whanganui. 

Her sister Margaret was already a member of the Congregation, having entered the previous year.  She was professed as Sister Benedict on 23 January 1918, the day that Mary received the habit of the Sisters.
Mary was professed on 23 January 1919, taking the name of Sister Ephrem.

Sister Ephrem became a community sister, cooking the meals and looking after the community in most of the Josephite Convents around the lower North Island.  She was a foundation member of the Levin Community in 1920, spending 14 years there.  From there she ministered in Patea twice, Taihape at five different times, Hastings, Waipukurau, and Ohakune.

Ephrem is remembered as being very quick and efficient in everything she did.  She was a good cook, and the kitchen was her domain, where she was often busy baking and preparing meals.
She was a big-hearted woman, with a pleasant and well intentioned manner.  As was the case in her times she did not have any opportunities outside of her ministry, and so often appeared to lack confidence.

Her brother Charlie was a builder in Hastings, and was always very supportive of his two sisters.   The second brother farmed at Colyton, near Feilding.  Her married sister, Mrs Percival, also lived in Hastings.

Sister Ephrem died suddenly on 14 January 1967, while the Sisters were in Whanganui for their annual time together.  Requiem Mass was celebrated in the Sacred Heart Chapel, and she was buried at Aramoho Cemetery.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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