Sisters of the Past

Sister Beverley MacLeod - formerly Sister Lawrence

Profiled in May 2006

19 October 1934 - 24 May 2006

 Beverley Joan MacLeod’s birth place was Otaki. She was the eldest of six children, two girls and four boys. Her primary years were spent at Otaki Convent School, now known as St Peter Chanel School, then staffed by the Sisters of St Joseph. From there she went to St Mary’s College, Wellington, and boarded there for three years.
After college she spent five years going through boy friends, many jobs and places of residence, to prove to herself and some priests and sisters that she didn’t have a religious vocation!

In January 1955 she decided to give religious life ‘a go’ and entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in Whanganui. During novitiate years, now known as Sister Lawrence, she studied for her Teachers’ Certificate, and taught in several Whanganui Catholic Schools. Her first appointment after the novitiate was in Hawera. From there she taught in the following schools – Gonville, Hastings, Waipukurau, Otaki, Waverley, and Sacred Heart College, caring for boarders and teaching groups. She spent many years in Hawera. From there she went to the Sisters of St Joseph Federation Mission in Vanimo, Papua New Guinea.

On returning she went to Fielding, then moved to Taupo. Pastoral work and co-ordinating the Parish School of Religion kept her busy along with retraining to work as a Voluntary Community Worker. The Sisters’ ministry was by now focusing on their corporate mission committed to Women and Family. Beverley was very involved with community groups dedicated to working for justice for those marginalized and on the edge of society. Her specialized areas of ministry were in counselling, advocacy and mediation.

Beverley moved to Otaki in 1995. There her ministry was a continuation of the Taupo ministry, working under the umbrella of Women and Family Support group. A change in her ministry meant much of her time being spent working with children.

Particularly for the last 16 years of Bev’s life, first in Taupo and then back in Otaki from 1995 till her death, compassion and a concern for justice saw her walking with others in their pain, giving her time, energy and commitment to a wide range of groups. Her specialized skills of counselling, advocacy and mediation, her ability for organization and her love for God, the beauty of creation, music and gardening were gifts to be used in every way she could for enhancing life among families, parish, the wider community, local schools, inter- church groups, the sick, those struggling to make ends meet, those without ready access to support services in the areas of health, justice and social needs. In the last few weeks of her illness she commented on how blessed she was to have the constant and loving support of family, friends and the Congregation along with immediate medical care through hospital and hospice, but it made her wonder what happened to people who didn’t have family around them, a community to support them and appropriate medical care right at hand. Sick as she was she wished she could do something about it.

Bev had faced her illness with courage and determination to complete what she could in her remaining time. She died at her home among her family and sisters on 24 May 2006.

Her evening Vigil Service was held in St Peter Chanel Parish Church, Otaki, and her funeral Mass the following morning, Saturday 27 May 2006. The large congregation included her family, Sisters, parishioners, friends and members of the many local community organisations Bev had been involved with. She was carried up to the urupa for burial on Pukekaraka.

In her eulogy for Bev, Sr John Bosco concluded with these words: “Bev, may your life and works speak for you as you pass through the gates of death, and may the fullness of life you have worked for for so many people now be yours in full measure and flowing over. May you live for ever in the eternal love and life of your God.

E te tua hine hoa, Bev, takoto, takoto, takoto, i runga i te Ariki nui”.

Gallery / Whakaahua

Members Login