Sisters of the Past

Sister Carmel - Louisa Brady

Profiled in January 2003 

2 June 1908 - 31 July 2000

 Louisa Mary Brady was born in Wellington to Marcella Brady nee O’Reilly, and Matthew Brady. She was the eldest child in a family of two girls and three boys.

Louisa’s father worked as a house painter and decorator and during her school years the family moved from Wellington to Hawera. Louisa spent some time at the local High School before attending Sacred Heart College in Wanganui. There she continued her music studies and was often called on to accompany the school choir at practice.

Louisa entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St Joseph on 25 March 1927, and was professed with seven other young women as a Josephite sister on 17 January 1930. Her new religious name was to be Sister Carmel.

After spending her first year of working as a teacher at Sacred Heart Convent in Wanganui, Carmel was posted to her first branch convent at Waverley. She then had time in Levin and Manaia in Taranaki before moving to secondary teaching. This began in her posting to Hastings where she taught in the secondary department of St Joseph’s School. The following 17 years were spent between Tenison College Hastings, and Sacred Heart College Wanganui, before she again taught primary school for 10 years. She was recalled to secondary teaching, then once again her versatility and adaptability meant her last few years teaching were at primary level. In her early teaching years Carmel had attained her ATCL in music, later in speech. She studied for her Teaching Certificate during her teaching years, and sat several BA subjects.

For several of her teaching years Carmel was principal, as well as leading her home community and being involved in administration for the Sisters of St Joseph. She taught music and speech, and was also an accomplished organist. She was known as a strict but fair teacher, with a very dry wit and a flair for drama. Both in school and in community she was very generous with her time and talent. Friends remember her helping out in the laundry and any place that needed her when at Sacred Heart.

In 1982 Carmel began two years living and working with the Goulburn Sisters of St Joseph under an exchange scheme of the Federation branches. She loved that experience and formed strong friendships with the Australian sisters.

In 1992, Carmel who was feeling her advancing age, entered Nazareth Rest Home in Wanganui. She settled in easily to the community and enjoyed the activities and outings. Despite having a difficult health condition she cared for herself as long as she was able. She also took opportunities to indulge her love of painting and liquid embroidery. One of her joys at this time was to have her sister, Cecelia, also a resident of the Home.

After a short stay in hospital, Carmel died at Nazareth on 31 July 2000. Her funeral was held at St Mary’s Church, Wanganui.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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