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Sisters of the Past

Sister Andrew - Bridget Lysaght

Profiled in June 2004

11 September 1904 - 1 March 1993

 Bridget Lysaght was born on 11 September 1904 in South Canterbury. Her parents were Mary Earl and Christopher Lysaght, who both hailed from Geraldine, about 16 miles from Timaru. She was the third child in a family of seven, of whom both the eldest son and eldest daughter also became religious.
One of her most vivid memories is of her first communion day for which she had had a long preparation. After Mass there was the usual First Communion breakfast for the sixteen boys and girls concerned. Bridget was not interested, and had to be enticed to eat. Neither did she want to speak. A second Mass was being celebrated to which everyone went. She wanted to go to communion again, but her mother intervened just as she was going up!

From the age of six Bridget walked daily three miles back and forth to the local primary school at St Andrews. It was a fair sized school with a staff of four teachers. School was enjoyable, the main difficulty being with spelling. She sat and passed the proficiency examination in 1918. After that she boarded for two years at the Sacred Heart Convent in Timaru, where her younger sisters Mary and Theresa also became boarders. After two years secondary schooling, Bridget developed a goitre, which was successfully operated on. She then spent a few years at home on the farm.

At this time Bridget was led to think of a vocation to religious life after meeting with two Brown Josephite Sisters in the town. She wrote to several congregations - the Sacre Coeur Sisters, the Mission Sisters and the Mercy Sisters. It was the Mercy Sisters who suggested that if she felt drawn to a more country apostolate she should try Wanganui. After a trip to Greenmeadows for Fr Kennedy's ordination she first met the Black Josephite Sisters. She was drawn to them but when she applied she was refused because of the goitre. However she waited a while and re-applied when Sr Gertrude was Reverend Mother. She was finally accepted and was one of six postulants that year. They became Sisters Monica, Anselm, Felicitas, Gonzaga, Malachy, Perpetua, and Bridget took the name of Andrew.

After the novitiate and profession, Sister Andrew was sent to Ohakune where she was given the primer classes to teach. Community life took some adjustment - Andrew spoke of the dressing down she received when, with great joy, she picked the first violet of the season!

Andrew enjoyed her teaching career and taught in many country schools, Ohakune, Waipawa, Manaia, Otaki, Taihape, Waipukurau. She remembered vividly a Maori welcome staged for the Apostolic Delegate when he visited Otaki in 1928. Her hobbies were gardening, and duties connected with the church. For many years she looked after the sacristy at St Mary’s, Wanganui, and had charge of the flowers and altar linen.

In 1990 Sister Andrew moved to live at Nazareth Rest Home. There she settled well and was known for her friendly nature and bright sense of humour. She died on 1st March 1993, and her funeral was held in St Mary’s Parish Church, Wanganui.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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