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Sisters of the Past

Sister Baptist Cecelia Whiteford

30 April 1888 23 September 1960 Baptist_Whiteford_001

Profiled September 2012

30 April 1888 was the day of birth for Cecelia Whiteford, daughter of Michael Augustus Whiteford and Mary Anne, nee Collins, in Forbes, NSW Australia.
Cecelia is known to have had at least one sister, Mrs H McLaughlin of Matamata.

Cecelia entered the Sisters of St Joseph in Whanganui on 15 August 1914, and was professed as Sister Baptist on 27 January 1916.
Sister Baptist taught for some years in Josephite Primary Schools, but most of her religious life was spent at Sacred Heart Convent.  She taught Commercial subjects at the College where her students came to know her worth and appreciate her sense of humour.

For 30 years of her life Baptist was in administration and leadership roles in the Congregation.  She was elected Congregational Secretary in 1929, Councillor as well in 1932, again in 1938, and in 1947 she was elected Mother General.
She was re-elected in 1950, and from 1953 until her death she continued to be re-elected to the Council.
In 1932 she spent time as Mistress of Novices.

Though for all these years Baptist was in positions of authority in the Congregation, she was naturally drawn to a hidden and unobtrusive life.  However she was gifted with many talents and used them all to the betterment of others. Sisters recall her great trust in the Providence of God, her deep humility, and simple wisdom a wisdom that was called on in difficult circumstances in her life.  She had a great love of the garden and outdoors, and created several areas of native bush in the Convent grounds.

Sister Baptist died on 23 September 1960 in Belverdale Hospital Whanganui.  Requiem Mass was celebrated in the Sacred Heart Chapel by Father A Ward sm, and Archbishop McKeefry delivered the homily.  She was buried at Aramoho Cemetery.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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