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Sisters of the Past

Sister Rose - Eileen Monica Keegan

Profiled in June 2005

4 February 1910 6 October 1989

 Eileen Monica Keegan, was one of three daughters in a family of six born to Peter and Mary, nee Roche, Keegan. Eileen was educated at St Joseph’s School, Hawera, and Sacred Heart College, Wanganui.

She entered the Sisters of St Joseph on 19 March 1930, taking the religious name of Rose. She was professed on 23 January 1933. Later, she was joined in community by her two sisters, Mary (Sr Anne) and Maureen (Sr Tarcisius). Two of her brothers became priests, and the remaining brother married and carried on the family farming tradition.

Rose’s teaching ministry began in Hastings, and she then went on to teach in many of the Josephite primary schools of the lower North Island. She was principal of the first Catholic school in Plimmerton, near Wellington, in 1949. There was also a three year period teaching at Sacred Heart College in the 1950’s.
In 1961 Rose led a group of four sisters to begin the first ‘Black Josephite’ school in the Auckland Diocese at Mairangi Bay. Later she spent time at Tenison College Hastings, before beginning her retirement ministry. After a year at Levin, Rose became a parish worker at St Anne’s Wanganui East, and from then on she remained in Wanganui. In 1987 she became part of a community living in the last section of Sacred Heart Convent at Oakland Avenue. She died suddenly there on 6 October 1989.

Rose had considerable ability as a pianist and singer and she was qualified to teach both music and speech, which she did throughout her life. She spent most of her last 10 years actively working in the St Anne’s Parish. She was particularly devoted to visiting the elderly in their homes or at Hikurangi Rest Home. She had the ability to identify the needy in her area and provide help. In her latter months Rose was instrumental in helping form a network of professional and community workers in the area.

Her funeral was held at St Mary’s Church, Wanganui, and attended by a large crowd of relatives, friends and past pupils.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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