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Sisters of the Past

Sister Damian - Zita White

Profiled in February 2003

5 June 1905 - 26 April 2000

 Zita Marion White was born in Geraldine, South Canterbury into a family of two boys and two girls. Her parents were Bessie Octon and William Henry White. When she was 11 years old the family moved to Wanganui where she attended St Joseph’s School.

After leaving school, she worked as a dressmaker for George and Kersley (later DIC) until 1922 when she entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph.

She took the religious name of Damian. After training as a teacher, she was able to extend her musical and artistic talents with further studies in singing and speech. For many years she taught with considerable success in Catholic Primary Schools in Hawkes Bay, Feilding, Wanganui, Otaki and Levin.

Her great love of music, drama, water-colour painting, gardening and natural beauty were shared with her pupils, relatives and friends. Even up to a week or two before her death she was still hand-painting greeting cards and bookmarks.

The last nine years of Sister Damian’s life were spent at Nazareth Rest Home where her gracious manner impressed all who met her. She was a woman of deep faith, and of great neighbourly concern for other residents.

Sister Damian died peacefully in the 75th year of her religious profession. Her funeral was held at St Mary’s Church, Wanganui, and attended by her large and loving family as well as many Sisters, past pupils and friends.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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