Sisters of the Past

Sister Michael - Nora McMullen

Profiled in July 2003

22 February 1921 – 26 June 2003

 Sister Michael was born in Masterton in 1921 and baptised Nora Margaret McMullen. She had two brothers, Eric and Michael, and one sister, Molly. Later Elsie her sister-in-law, became loved as a sister also. She attended the Convent School in Masterton until she was fourteen years old, and remembered her Brigidine Sister teachers with love and affection. As a child she contracted polio, and that meant long hours on her own as she recuperated. However she enjoyed playing basketball and tennis.

She worked in the office of J R McKenzie for 7 years before she was directed to Woburn to assist in the war effort. She felt that the war, and the example of her aunt, Mercy Sister Bernadette, had a large influence in her decision to enter religious life. In 1945 she entered the Sisters of St Joseph and took the name of Sister Michael.

In 1949 she was posted to Waipukurau as a house sister. From then on she provided the warmth of the hearth in many of our convents from Wellington to Auckland. The last twenty years of her life were spent in Wanganui.

Michael suffered from chronic health problems all her life, but they did not stop her from living her religious life fully. She was an easy person to live with – apart from her fund of stories, she had an interest in people and a warmth that attracted many. Her many photos, cards, and keepsakes were testament to friendships formed and kept over many years.

Michael had a very supportive family, and was very proud of her nephews and their families. She often spoke of her cousins who kept in touch by visits and phone calls. And she had so many close friends from the ‘threesome’ who had gone to school together in Masterton to those she who had come in contact with her in various ways and formed strong bonds with her.

Sister Michael died peacefully at Nazareth Rest Home on 26 June 2003, where she had been a resident for almost ten years. Her funeral was held at St Mary’s Parish Church, Wanganui on 30 June 2003. At her vigil and funeral Mass, some of the stories of her life were remembered and shared. Honour was given to her child-like wonder of life, and her love of fun and laughter. Memories of her care for those in need, visits to so many people, care of younger sisters in earlier regimented times. Her prayerfulness, her quiet gentleness, her approachability, - all helped us realize her life had been a gift to us all.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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