Sisters of the Past

Sister Cecelia - Agnes (Nessie) Durran

Profiled in March 2007  

6 July 1906 17 January 1978

 Agnes Durran grew up in Whanganui East, the daughter of Thomas Albert Durran and Agnes Shodroski. Her father was a talented juggling artist and his work with travelling shows meant long absences from the family. Her mother was the daughter of a family of Polish settlers of 1876. Agnes had one sister who later married, and two brothers, one of whom died as a young man.

Agnes entered the Sisters of St Joseph 11 April 1923. She took the religious name of Cecelia and was professed in 1925. Sister Cecelia, being quite young, began her training as a primary school teacher, but also with music. She took to the latter avidly and her teacher, Sr Fidelis, was heard to say that she had more music in her little finger than her teacher had in her whole body! Cecelia developed great skill in piano, singing, and elocution. She also learned the violin. As a teacher of these arts she had great success with her pupils, and assisted other music teachers in preparing pupils for examinations.

She also became a competent primary school teacher and was particularly skilled at training and supporting younger Sisters. She often prepared school concerts, and Sisters remember her conducting one in the Hastings Opera House where she ensured that every one of the 500+ pupils took part. Her organisation skills were first rate.

As a person, Cecelia was always gracious and generous, had a great sense of humour, and was devoted to her family. She had a wonderful mind and was described as always being a lady. Mother Xavier called her a brilliant woman.

Cecelia had always suffered from rheumatism and walked daily after time at the piano, but in the 1940’s her health began to fail. She later developed Parkinson’s disease and this added to her pain and incapacity as she aged.

Sister Cecelia died on 17 January 1978. After her Mass of Requiem in Sacred Heart Chapel she was buried in Aramoho Lawn Cemetery, Whanganui.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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