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Sisters of the Past

Sister Elizabeth - Mary (Jill) Carroll

Profiled in May 2003

18 August 1918 - 18 January 1998

Elizabeth was born in Wanganui on 18 August 1918, and baptised Mary. Despite the fact that her twin brother was baptised William, the nurses called them Jack and Jill, and the names stayed with them. Their parents, Mathew and Catherine Carroll, already had a daughter, Margaret, whom Elizabeth grew to love very dearly. It seems that as Jack and Jill Carroll were growing up so did their yearning for fun and frolic, and they were often participants or leaders of childhood pranks. They attended St Mary's School, formerly Hurworth, until Jack left to go on to the Brothers' School, and Jill finished her education there. She was already showing a great love of life, and loved games, especially basketball.

When she left school, she found employment at the Wanganui Woollen Mills and became an expert machinist. At this time she further developed her love of music, and learned music from Sr Rosalie. A close bond developed between the two.
Jill was active in St Mary's parish life, taking a full part in the Children of Mary sodality, and enjoying the St. Joseph’s Hall dances.

A desire to join the Sisters of St Joseph greatly distressed her mother, but eventually Jill made the break in 1940, and entered the Sisters of St Joseph community to become Sister Elizabeth. Reconciliation with her mother came as her family recognised the happiness that Elizabeth found in her choice, but it was a very difficult time for her.

Her first experience of teaching came when she joined Sr Francesca in the opening year of St Anne's School Wanganui East in 1942. Elizabeth here found an empathy with, and a love of children that grew as the years progressed. She just loved teaching, and threw her whole heart and soul into her work with children. Over the years she taught in Taihape, Levin, Patea, Waipukurau, Hawera, Wanganui, and after finishing teaching in school, her parish visiting and St Vincent de Paul work continued in Mairangi Bay Auckland, and in Hawera.

Liz was very excited in 1998 to move into the newly opened Quinlan Court retirement complex built by the Sisters in Wanganui. However her stay was very short – after four days she passed away peacefully in her sleep on 18 January 1998. A large number of Sisters, family and friends attended her funeral in St Mary’s Parish Church, Wanganui.

The things that we will remember her for particularly were

  • her deep and traditional faith, her love of prayer, Eucharist, and her Rosary,

  • her enthusiasm for life which broke out in her love of music, stories, dance,

  • her deep feeling for her Irish ancestry, and the great joy she experienced when she was able to visit her loved cousin Paddy in Ireland,

  • her loyalty to, and her love of her own family, and the family of the Sisters,

  • her single-mindedness and readiness to work hard on whatever she was called to do. Many will remember her innovative extra-curricular activities to raise money for classroom equipment in the early days.

"Everyone was 'a good soul’ to Liz - she treated every person as a friend'.


Gallery / Whakaahua

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