Sisters of the Past

Sister Gabriel - Mary Malone

Profiled in October 2006  

11 September 1882 6 September 1964

 Mary Malone was the eldest of a family of seven.   Her parents Thomas and Alice, were Irish immigrants, who were married in Hawera in 1880.   Mary was born in 1882 and they lived in that area for about ten years.

In 1885 the Sisters of St Joseph established a school in Hawera and this would no doubt have been the way the Sisters of St Joseph became known to the Malone family.   Although the family took up farming in Riverlea about 1892 we know that Mary was a senior pupil at Sacred Heart Convent situated in the Avenue, Whanganui in 1897.

In 1899 at the age of nineteen, Mary Malone entered the Sisters of St Joseph to begin her training.   During this year Mary’s father became seriously ill and died.   Circumstances surrounding this event caused a stir when the young postulant was seen running to catch the Taranaki train.   This was interpreted as “running away from the Convent” when in reality a distraught young woman was hastening to be with her bereaved mother!   We know that Mary did return to continue her training with the blessing of her mother, and she was given the name of Sister Gabriel, being professed on 12 July 1900.

Those who experienced living with Sister Gabriel contribute warm, positive memories of a happy, cheerful Sister a peace-maker who  had the ability to “pour oil on troubled waters”.   Many remember Gabriel’s expression “Put your toe in your boot and keep on walking”  - a timely reminder of the need to get going and move on. There is no doubt that the generous, self-effacing attitude of Gabriel Malone was evident to all whose life was touched by this woman of faith.

Some of the areas Sister Gabriel exercised her ministry in were Ohakune, Patea, Manaia, Hawera, Waverley, St Mary’s and Sacred Heart Convents Whanganui.  In these places she taught in the schools, visited the sick in hospital and the needy in their homes, along with often being the Superior of the Convent as well.

Sister Gabriel spent sixty five years as a Sister of St Joseph and died peacefully in Whanganui on 6th September 1964.  She was buried in the Aramoho Cemetery.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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