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Sisters of the Past

Sister Teresa - Marcella Cahill

Profiled in September 2003

16 August 1909 - 10 July 1998

 Sister Teresa's life began when she was born in Auckland in 1909, and baptised Marcella Mary Cahill, the second child of William and Mary Ann, her mother being from the O'Leary clan in Wanganui. Later she and her older sister Bridgie, were joined by Maggie, Pat, their only brother Joe, Mary and Agnes. The family had moved back to Wanganui when Teresa was 4, and she lived for most of her childhood in Campbell St. Teresa attended St Joseph's School, and then went on to Sacred Heart College. She entered the community of the Sisters of St Joseph when she was 18.

Teresa took on the teaching ministry of the Sisters enthusiastically, and spent approximately 47 years teaching - spending some time in almost all the Josephite schools in the North Island.

She was a member of the last community and school in Mangaweka in 1935, was a part of the Motor Mission in Taupo in the 1960's and 70's, and was a principal in many schools. When she moved out of the classroom, she was involved in parish work, remedial teaching at Hato Paora College in Feilding, and in the Bible in Schools scheme. In 1990, she moved into Nazareth Rest Home where she continued to be active and involved until the past year.

Teresa had a great love for her family, both her sisters and brother and her many cousins, and she had much pride in her nieces and nephews. Friends were important to her, and she loved to talk about the special people she had known and worked with in various parishes.

On Teresa's wall was a small plaque which summed up her life. It read: "God never asks about our ability or our inability, but about our availability." Teresa had much ability in her role as a teacher and principal, but she was aware of her inability too - she often joked about the trouble she had passing art for her Teaching Certificate!

But the important thing was, she made herself available to the work of God. By the vows she made at her religious profession in 1932, she accepted this challenge, and with her outgoing nature and love of people, entered wholeheartedly into the demanding and rewarding ministry of education and parish work.

Teresa died at Nazareth Rest Home on 10 July 1998, and her funeral was held at St Mary’s Church.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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