Sisters of the Past

Sister Margaret Mary - Sabina Jillett

11 November 1877 18 October 1959Margaret_Mary_Jillett

Profiled September 2012

Sabina Jillett was born on 11 November 1877.  Her father was a descendant of Captain Tom Jillett, who was married to a cousin of Teraiti Tonohi.  Sabina was proud of her dual heritage.
Her family was very musical, and a nephew was Fr Jillett of the Auckland Diocese, who was a gifted musician and artist.
She became a teacher and taught in Otaki.  While there she boarded with the Crompton family, whose own daughter was Sister Ita of the Sisters of St Joseph.

Sabina entered the Sisters of St Joseph on 7 July 1898 and was professed as Sister Margaret Mary on 2 July 1900.  Her profession had been delayed on account of her ill-health.

Sister Margaret Mary was a member of the Foundation community when the Sisters began in Manaia, and was also a Foundation member of the Patea community in Patea.  She also taught in Ohakune for a short time.  However the major years of her life were spent in Otaki where she ministered from 1929 till 1940.

Margaret Mary is remembered in the Otaki Jubilee booklet as “only pint-sized, but she had a quick brain, a soft heart, and great devotion to St Joseph.  In the lean years she would place whatever was needed in front of Joseph’s statue, such as a piece of wood, or a potato, and invariably have her faith rewarded by the donation of these much needed items.  She was much more likely to forgive than punish misdemeanours, described as one parishioner as ‘a sweet little thing’, not always an asset in managing the bigger boys in the school.  There was a playfulness and creativity in her interactions with the pupils that contributed to their fondness for her.”  She also ran a small ‘shop’ which pupils enjoyed browsing, and the hats from there were used on Sundays for girls who had forgotten theirs.
In her latter years Sisters remember her great love of vocal prayer and constant recitation of litanies.

Sister Margaret Mary died at Sacred Heart Convent Whanganui, on 18 October 1959.  Mass of Requiem was celebrated in the Parish Church at Otaki.  Her final resting place was on Pukekaraka, the hill behind the Parish Complex.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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