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Sisters of the Past

Sister Marie Crompton - formerly Sr Benedicta

Profiled in September 2006  

2 February 1923 - 27 May 1987

 Marie Patricia Crompton was the older daughter of James Andrew Crompton and Marie Kathleen, nee Browne.  She was born in New Plymouth, and had an older brother, Kevin, and a younger sister Kathleen.  Her father, who was a carpenter for the NZ Railways, had served in the two World Wars.

During the school holidays, the family, who had moved to Wellington, usually visited their country cousins in and around Patea.   Reduced, or free railway concessions enabled them to travel.  In Patea they enjoyed the open spaces, riding horses, playing in native bush gullies, rounding up sheep, and country dances.

Marie left school when she was fifteen because of the Depression, and worked as a typist in the Herd Street Post Office in Wellington until she was 22.   She was remembered by a work mate as a very happy girl. Later she was ‘presented’ as a debutante to Archbishop O’Shea at a Charity Ball.  She had a sweet, untrained, soprano singing voice. 

 On 14 August 1945, Marie entered the Sisters of St Joseph in Whanganui.  She was professed in 20 January 1948, taking the religious name of Benedicta.  She was very conscientious and took life very seriously.   Despite this, she enjoyed a joke and had an endless supply of ‘shaggy dog’ stories.  At later times in her teaching ministry, she had a tendency to overwork herself.

She gained her Trained Teachers’ Certificate by correspondence as was the custom between 1940- 1960.  Sr Benedicta was principal of several primary schools and proved to be a born teacher.  She was elected by the Sisters to be on their Council for six years.  Her younger sister, Kathleen, entered the Congregation in  1955.  Their aunt Sr Ita Crompton and cousin Sr Margaret (Joanna) Hurley were also members of the Sisters of St Joseph.

 About 1970 she transferred from school to motor mission, where she was attached to Wellington Catholic Education Board as an Area Advisor.  She concentrated on Adult Education in the Faith, and served the Hawkes Bay province.  When Sisters were given the option, she included her Baptismal name and became Marie Benedicta.  She attended a spiritual renewal year at Assumption Institute in Melbourne where living with people of many different nationalities increased her appreciation of other cultures.

A transfer to the Auckland Diocese took her to the Wellsford area, where she and another Sister lived in the old presbytery at Puhoi.  She experienced the challenge of living with holes in the floor and wall, no running water in the kitchen, and other obstacles to normal living.  However Marie loved the people and the challenge, and she laughed her way through.  She enjoyed the rural mission, travelling many miles over winding dusty roads, and visiting families in isolated areas.

On 27th May 1987, Marie died in her sleep while making a retreat at Marcellin Hall Retreat Centre in Auckland.
Her funeral Mass was held in Whanganui and she was buried at Aramoho Cemetery.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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