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Sisters of the Past

Sister Josephine - Elma Zelanda Caccioppoli

Profiled in January 2007  

21 August 1920 19 January 2007

 Elma Zelanda Caccioppoli was born to Italian parents, Vincent Lewis Caccioppoli and his wife Mary Angela, nee Cocorulla, on 21 August 1920.  Her parents had come to New Zealand from the Sorrento area in Italy.  Elma’s second name is said to have been chosen as a reminder of NZ, as they thought they might return to their homeland.  The family grew to include two boys and three girls and all grew up on the family apple orchard in Hastings.

Elma attended St Joseph’s School, Hastings, for both her primary and secondary schooling.  She had elocution lessons, and took part in several operettas.

On 8 February 1939, Elma entered the Sisters of St Joseph in Whanganui, and was professed on 16 July 1942, taking the religious name of Josephine.  She had a strong devotion to St Joseph, her namesake.

Sister Josephine was a primary school teacher for some years, and boarders’ mistress at Sacred Heart College, Whanganui.  In her latter years she trained as a teacher for adults with reading difficulties, and her tutoring also included bringing pupils home to a meal with the Sisters.  She moved in to the newly opened Quinlan Court in Whanganui in 1998.

Reading was always a favourite pastime, and Josephine read widely.  She always had good grasp of current affairs, and often surprised others with her sports knowledge.  She was an excellent cook, with hospitality to all who visited.  She is remembered as one who smiled often, laughed readily and heartily, and was good fun.  She had strong opinions, founded as they were on her background knowledge and wide interests.  She always had a great love of flowers, and while not a gardener herself, loved to tend to the minor tasks of the flower gardens.

Josephine’s commitment to the spiritual life made an impression on those who knew her.  Prayer and spiritual reading were an integral part of her day and she loved to speak of her insights.  Her family were greatly loved and she often spoke of them with pride.  It was fitting then that her nephew Fr Damian Caccioppoli SM celebrated her Mass of Requiem at St Mary’s Church, Whanganui, among a strong family contingent, Sisters and friends.  She is buried at Aramoho Cemetery.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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