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Sisters of the Past

Sister Leo Margaret O’Donnell

8 July 1891 2 February 1965

Profiled May 2012

Leo_ODonnellMargaret O’Donnell was born 8 July 1891 in Canterbury, in the South Island of New Zealand. Her father’s name was John and her mother’s, Sarah Ward. The family was well known in Canterbury.

Margaret entered the Sisters of St Joseph, Whanganui, on the 15 August 1915, and was professed on 21 January 1917 as Sister Leo.

Sister Leo was a primary school teacher who taught junior classes in most of the Josephite schools in the North Island St Anthony’s and Holy Infancy in Whanganui, Ohakune, Waipukurau and Hastings. She was local Superior in Manaia and Ohakune.

She was known to be a great worker, a quiet, unobtrusive person who visited the poor, sick and aged in the hospital and in their homes, not always ‘going by the book’ in her big-hearted practical service of others.

Sister Leo did not keep good health for a number of years and was admitted to hospital several times. She was eventually diagnosed with leukaemia and died on 2 February 1965 at the age of 73.

Her funeral mass was celebrated in Sacred Heart Chapel and she was buried in Aramoho Cemetery, Whanganui.

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